Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:03 am

Many have contested that Digital Comics is an impossible fad. It will never fly, it's unaccessible to the major public. So far, most comic fans claim that the way to view the comics are clunky, it takes away from the "experience" and "tangibility" of an artists work in your hands, and with the pictures being inflated, forcing you to zoom in and out repeatedly just to move from panel-to-panel with your mouse, it makes reading the Comic Book less fun, more difficult, and far too technical/hands on.

I.E.
There's no imagination just pretty pictures and speech bubbles. Your brain isn't allowed time to be creative.


However... if some people are willing to get over this hump, or find ways around it (as the iPad comic-App has [supposedly--I have not seen it myself]), then maybe the leap is worth taking, financially. ;) If ya catch my drift?

The amount of money one can save from this switch could be incredibly liberating, but at what cost?

Let's knock back some ideas so those at the industry (should they poke their heads in once in awhile) can get an idea of how fans actually feel about this, and not just in their Blogs.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby BAMFCentralII » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:23 pm

Only problems i have with the digital comics.

Incapatiblity, Marvel has done a few test runs at the digital and they aren't compatiblie with new iterations of technology that comes out they just seem to reinvent how they are dissplayed. Bonus of the printed format you can take them anywhere and anyone can read them, provided they can speak the Language it is printed in. Which leads into another question can't they make it where we have them in diff languages in one file??

Storage/Sorting -- Currently doing this off the itunes using an ipad, gotta say easy fun way to read these. Ipad is heavier than a comic but roughly same size shape so it does read well. Issue here for me is that there are a few comic readers for the ipod/pad but unlike digital books you can't store off the individual comics onto another drive, they are loaded internally into the reader program, a few of the programs i looked at don't offer a great way to pull out comics you have read and dont want to keep on your device, and there is no customisable storage option that would allow me to put comics into "bins" of groups i want. You can sort by author and title but haven't seen anything else. Most of the printed ones i did i stored not by title but by character.

Price, yeah this one is confusing to me. They save money on printing and distribution to the brick stores but the price point is still kinda high.

All that said i really do like the format of the new digital comics at least those i've seen on the itunes apps. It's been a bit since i've seen any the digi stuff that was webbased. So i think this is a great idea but not really that fleshed out for the end user.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Freak » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:46 pm

There is no feasible point against going digital with comics, I can't see a single one.

If digital comics were really that horrible, why are there people scanning them in and sending them around, and why are there enough people to read them that Marvel, DC, et al. become nervous? Simply scan the pages at a mid-range quality and then send them out to people to read with a picture program, like Irfan View. You can look at pictures full screen that way, so no need to zoom in and out.

Really, the only problem with implementing digital comics is that the publishers want to eat the cake and still keep it. They are desperate to search for a way to give digital comics to people, but make sure they don't copy them and give them to others for free. Which just won't work. As soon as you put the comics out there digitally, some people will find a way to get around your most secure protections.

I say, go full out. Publish the comics digitally and sell them for one dollar a piece. Make it EASY to pay, so international customers can use your service too. And just give it to them, no copy protection. You think people will commit what simply is a CRIME to save one dollar? Or, hell, fifteen dollar the whole month. They will tell other people to buy a book if they are interested, and they won't GIVE it to them. Why bother? Only so your friend or whoever can save ONE dollar? Or, hell, go crazy. Offer a comic flatrate! 30 dollar per month buys you the whole Marvel catalogue. You think anybody is reading 30 dollar worth of comics per month RIGHT NOW? Even if, this way you will get far more people, for NO extra costs. You don't have to produce extra comics, on extra paper, with extra ink. A digital copy is free. Gratis. Gratuido. The only thing "extra" about the whole thing will be your profit.

Yes, there STILL will be people trading the comics for free. Those aren't lost customers. They weren't interested in the comics if they weren't free. They either get them for free, or they don't get them at all. Screw them. The majority will simply buy the comics and read them, and then delete them, because they just want to keep up with the stories. Maybe they'll save one run they especially like, but you know what THEN comes into play? The hardcovers and the comics themselves.

See, there is no need to go full-digital. Keep on publishing comic books, just in smaller amounts. Keep them out there as a luxury, for people who want to collect them, or who liked a story so much that they want to have something lasting (because we know that hard disks break at some point and they ALWAYS will). That way you keep the comic book shops alive too. Well, not all of them. But honestly, if nowadays your whole business-model is selling comic books, then you are doomed from the start. And there is nothing sad or tragic about it. No one cried when the bowling-ball polishers got replaced by machines. Some jobs simply become obsolete over time, it is how things go.

And finally, you know what going digitally also means? Less risk. Almost no production cost for the publisher. You know what that means? They are going to take far more risks. That book about the early life of Toad you always wanted? They might risk it, because if it sells like crap they won't lose that much. Even better, there might finally be an influx of new and exciting talent. They can give a completely newbie an own book and let them go crazy. No fear that they might damage their trademark product. Put a whole what-if line out there and incorporate the stories that people love into the normal universe. The possibilities are endless.

In my opinion, all that stands in the way of digital publishing of comics are some old men that only ever knew paper and are too afraid to lose what they have worked for, instead of going bold new ways.

And that, is very, very sad.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:51 pm

But isn't there something to be said for nostalgia, Freak? Can't you always make the argument that it is in fact what makes comics so much fun and such a great thing to read? Because they have that anchor into your past? Some would argue that putting it on a computer takes it away. Granted, those raised on reading them on computers would say different, but if those who have to create the fad, refuse to pick it up, it will never run long enough to see that day.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Freak » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:56 pm

That's why I said keep the normal comics around. If those people want normal comics, they may buy them. But make it a luxury item. Make people feel that they buy something special with their 4 dollar that some comics cost by now. Give them the nostalgie, or the "better fan than you" feeling, or whatever they want. It's a basic principle of economy: decrease the supply, and the price can go up. And for all the people who just want to be entertained for about half an hour or simply want to keep up with a book, despite a bad writer, give them a lesser quality product they still can enjoy.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Dedicatedfollower467 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:00 am

Frankly, I say "yes" to digital comics.

Why? Because it's verrrrry hard for me to get to the comic book store, when I do get to go there they're usually at least a week behind the first sale dates, and while I'd love to support them and would probably buy the comics AFTER I'd read them online, it's just too far behind to keep up with what's HAPPENING in comics!

Plus, they're cheap and relatively easy to get. I'm probably going to go all-digital with my comics pretty soon. (Plus, I'm probably going to read webcomics as well!)
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Crawler » Mon Jun 13, 2011 4:54 pm

With the HUGE DC relaunch coming in September (52 new #1's!) they're also beginning Day-and-date digital distribution, which I think is definitely a step in the right direction. All titles will be released through comixology the same day as they are released through comic shops...and at the same price. After a month, the price will drop on the digital editions.


[quote]
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Bamfette » Mon Jun 13, 2011 5:50 pm

OP: who is saying it's a 'fad' anyone saying that is grossly misinformed. Digital is the way of the future, people need to adapt. The reason digital distribution was not adopted sooner is nothing to do with readers, and everything to do with retailers. Retailers are scared to death of this move, and the publishers have to walk on eggshells around them, because, since comics are such a niche industry, the publishers are seen as having an *obligation* to support the stores. This is the whole reason we've seen delays of months between the paper release and the digital version, and no price drop until well after release. It was the same thing with music, games, books. There was great fear among the publishers, initially, that it would lead to piracy, that it would harm their sales in brick and mortar stores, etc. but the first to really dive into that market in a big way, came out hugely successful. Amazon, iTunes, Steam. Did it hurt retailers? yeah, probably. But honestly? If the publishers do not do something drastic to increase readership, they're going down the tubes anyway, DC (and Marvel, but it's DC that's making the first move) need to look out for themselves, there is no place for comic shops if they fail, period. But if a retailer is smart, and offers things besides just the comics, (t-shirts, statues, toys, etc) and adapts, they should be fine.

BTW, BC, the reason Marvel is on a limited number of platforms is because they CHOOSE TO BE. ComiXology is available on pretty much every platform you can imagine. Marvel, and ONLY Marvel, chooses to restrict their comics to iOS platforms for some unfathomable reason. My only problem with ComiXology is that you have to read online for their PC version of the comic. But I suspect a downloadable version and standalone reader can't be too far off for PC's. And on the plus side, if you buy one version of the comic, you have access to all of them. So if i buy and can only read on PC right now, I can download it for iPad or Android later if i get one of those platforms.

Another great thing about digital is the benefits to international readers. As it stands now, international fans have to wait a long time for comics from American publishers. Like, an absurdly long time. with digital, they can get the comics the same day as in the US/Canada (provided they can read English. translations will still take time). That alone should lead to big profits for DC.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:12 pm

I like a lot of what each of you are saying, but I think digital comics is being forced down our throats by the companies rather than adapting slowly over time as the rest of technology does. That's my biggest gripe with Digital Comics. I don't like putting down my issues for something I can lose on my computer. Something I can't touch. I know it enhances the art, but it takes away from the natural feel.

I'm not sure I'm totally convinced. When the companies act as if it's sink or swim, and if they don't go digital soon they'll crumble, I get suspicious. They could be doing a lot of things to improve the sales in comic-book form, but they're so afraid of that age being dead they're trying to force the techno-revolution on us. I don't see it yet, I don't see it for a long time. Too many fans who still read who learned how to read without computers and only had 8 bit games. These geeks are not going to be turning down their issues for digital e-mails of comics.

And more importantly, they could always do more than promote their comics with film adaptations. Marvel does a pretty decent job of having press conferences and such and I still keep waiting for DC to learn to bite back.
Corporation competitiveness is fine, but smack-talking one another is completely opposite of what should be happening. Once-upping each other at Conventions with announcements, releasing new events with quality writers, or incorporating the audience/readers into decisions (as DC once did with the death of Jason Todd) is really the only way (for now) to get the transition going.

I often feel overwhelmed as if I am having these online/digital comics stuffed in my direction rather than promoted. Maybe I'm wrong, but this is how it feels to me.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Bamfette » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:58 pm

They are not forcing anything. The paper versions will still exist. You want paper, go nuts, get down to your LCS and buy them.

Have you seen the sales numbers of comics over the past few years? They are declining at a rapid pace. But it's not an issue with comics, in general. There are webcomics out there with readerships that positively dwarf Marvel or DC's highest selling titles. MS Paint Adventures gets nearly 2.5 MILLION hits a DAY, Penny Arcade probably gets more than that, while the current top selling comic book gets 100k(ish) in the direct market. So people clearly have no issue with comics as a format. It's not the subject matter, people go see comic book based movies, be it something with superheroes, or something like 300. And subject matter is a bit irrelevant anyway since comics can be of any subject matter. So what is it that's creating this divide? Accessibility. No matter how inviting they make the stories, no matter how cheaply they're priced, no matter how well they advertise, if it's inconvenient for people to get them, they wont. The simple fact is there are too few comic shops for them to be convenient to pick up for most people, they have to go out of their way to get to the shop and pick stuff up. And often they don't want to enter some dingy hole in the all shop filled with cat piss men. Not all comic shops are like this, but a depressingly large number are. This digital publication thing isn't aimed at people who already go to a comic shop, it's aimed at those who, for whatever reason, can't or wont enter the shops, or simply want to make things more convenient. Add a series to your pull list on ComiXology, boom, there it is, without fail, every time a new issue is released, just a click away. DC is not abandoning print, but they are growing beyond comic shops and the direct market. They've created a deal with Borders to get their comics more prominently displayed in their stores, for instance. And that will probably help too, manga sells like crazy in bookstores, way better than American comics. (price is an issue there, but unless we want to give up colour comics, there's not a lot we can do about that)

And even if no collapse is in their future, it's still ridiculous to expect them to not look out for themselves as a publisher before looking out for comic shops. (which, as mentioned, if they adapt, will be ok. It's only the shops that refuse to adapt that will fall because of this, and that's their own fault, not DC's)

[Edited on 13/6/11 by Bamfette]
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:02 pm

I dunno, seems like an awful lot of hype. The waters are still testing uneasy with all of this, or at least that's how I've felt in my discussions with my comic-lovin' peers.

I would hope abandoning print would never happen, or at least happen so far down the line it's the only conceivable way to keep the company/industry afloat. And I think Comic Store owners have it hard enough trying to make ends meet selling comic books and toys and collectibles. Asking them to get prepared for the digital age (which will include many investments on their part I'm sure) will be asking them to commit financial suicide -- as it the economy is right now.

I stand by what a good friend said to me on the topic: "don't believe the hype".
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Crawler » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:14 pm

So your big problem with the existence of digital comics is that people think it's a good idea? Print comics are not going away, and digital comics will no more replace or "kill" print comics than Netflix has eliminated movie theaters. Print and digital comics are not the same thing, as many have pointed out. So long as there is demand for both, there will be both.

Also, the comic book companies do not have any obligation to the comic book shops. It is not their responsibility to keep the shops afloat, especially at the detriment of themselves. On top of that, I DO NOT believe that digital comics are not going to cut into the comic shop market much, if at all. Comic fans, in general, are traditionalist, are collectors, or just want comics. Where digital comics beat print comics hand down is the "casual" market and bringing people into comics. You can buy a comic online on impulse. Most people do not have a comic shop within a half hour of their house, so there is no impulse there. PLUS, this means that people who do not like Cat Piss Shops no longer have to go to them for their comics.

The biggest thing that causes me to take exception to your "don't believe the hype" idea is, one, there's been very little hype, historically, and, two, doing digital comics costs the companies nearly nothing. The comics are already written, already drawn, and already exist in digital format for the print versions. The conversion is minimal, so the investment in doing digital comics in addition to print comics is extremely small.

[Edited on 6-13-2011 by Crash Tofu]
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:36 pm

If (that's a big if), and when the stores fail me I'll always have http://www.dcbservice.com/ .


And I like your Netflix comparison. However; I worked in a video rental store for a long, long time, and was supremely anti Netflix for that entirety. When they chased out every good rental store (including mine) in town, and when the wait had been long enough, I took the time to look into Netflix. It had been long enough that the entire Netflix movement had been revamped and I felt safer. Enough time had passed.

I'm not going to be moving into these digital comics and will probably fight them and the mentality of these "Cat Piss Shops". Midtown Comics, The Time Capsule, West Coast Comic Company, these are all great places and I'll never trade them for something stored on my computer with the same images I can get on that collectible print.

"It is not their responsibility to keep the shops afloat, especially at the detriment of themselves" and I bet they (the comic shop owners) would take great offense to that. I'm not saying they are against the digital comics (and I'm not even meaning to speak for them) but I can assure you they'll know the market will want to move that way but at the cost of losing the shops that produce the comic books we love.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Crawler » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:00 pm

Well, a rented movie on Netflix is the same experience as a rented movie from a store...except cheaper and you didn't have to leave the house. However, just like reading and e-book on a Kindle or iPad is a different experience than having the physical book, reading a digital comic is a different experience from reading it on paper. E-books have not killed bookshops. Digital comics will not kill comic shops...except possibly those that are so reviling that people will sacrifice their paper comics in order to not have to go to that shop.

The point is that digital comics WILL NOT replace print comics. People who buy print comics will continue to do so, for the most part. But there's a huge opportunity with digital comics that print comics do not have. Digital comics are for people without local shops, people in other countries, casual readers, people wanting to catch up FOR the print comic, people waiting for the trade but wanting to stay current, etc. None of those people are abandoning print comics unless they already have.

As I was typing this, for example, my cousin posted this to Facebook:
"Went a little crazy on impulse downloads from iTunes."


THOSE are the people that will buy digital comics, provided that they are cheap enough and available enough. Those people also probably rarely, if ever, set foot in a comic shop. Impulse buys are not available with solely print comics, except to the people already buying print comics.

People like yourself will not move away from print to digital. Physical comics are king to people already buying physical comics. People like yourself are not who digital comics are for.

Digital comics do not hurt print comics. In fact, by bringing in new readers or simply by being more profitable than print comics, they're likely to HELP the comics companies and therefore help print comics.

And yes, many people have great comic shops that I hope they support. But in many, many places the options are a Cat Piss Shop, waiting for mail-order, or not getting comics. If none of those are your cup of tea, digital comics might fill that gap...and for virtually no further investment from the comics companies.

I don't see a losing situation. I see win-win all around.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:25 am

"I think that yes, over time, digital is the future, but that the comic shops are the infrastructure that allows us to reach our current audience and brings in the money. So it's hardly sink-or-swim time for them at this point--the more different ways we have of getting our stories to the masses, the better."


From Tom Brevoort himself.

I think access to digital comics for those who want 'em is great, but when I feel the squeeze that they want this transition to happen. And they want it like, now? I get resentful and it will become even harder to convert me at that point. DC (and even Marvel) need to ease off their campaign for digital comics and let the transition happen naturally.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Wahnsinn » Wed Jun 15, 2011 3:29 pm

As it stands now, international fans have to wait a long time for comics from American publishers.

This is not always true. I live in Germany, and the comics reach our shop of choice on the afternoon of the US release date. I'm not sure if they're ready for sale before the end of business Wednesday, but they're definitely ready Thursday. One day isn't a long time.

IIRC, the comics arrive in Britain on Wednesday or Thursday as well. I can't speak for other countries, but the only thing that forces anyone to wait long here is if one waits for the translated versions. Those come out in a multi-issue format at about a 6-month delay.


On the subject of digital comics, I don't think trying to compare standard comic books in digital format to web comics really works. Web comics are short and free. Their print equivalent would be comics found in newspapers or magazines. A person looking for the quick fix of a short comic isn't necessarily going to be attracted to a 20-page comic book, print or digital.

The challenge of both print and digital is making the comics new-reader friendly. I have a hard time believing the modern sprawling events are all attractive to the uninitiated, and that's coming from somebody who started reading comics with AoA. Elongated story arcs can't be more inviting when the middle parts aren't self-contained enough to function as stand-alone issues. It's fine if additional issues flesh out a story, but they shouldn't be required just to understand the basic plot.

As for comic shops, the two I frequented in the US did not rely on the sale of new issues for their income. IIRC, they took a loss on new comics to sell them at a discount that kept the regular customers returning. The difference was made up in back-issue sales. With a fairly static customer base--let's not kid ourselves by pretending kids are flocking to comic shops, shall we?--the sale of older comics will not hold forever. Eventually, the regulars will complete their collections. If those people start turning to digital? Ouch. Now is not an easy time to own a comic shop. :(
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Bamfette » Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:59 pm

I got that information from someone living in Sweden. I am sure some countries get them faster than others, but not all of them.

I don't think you've got a full picture of what webcomics are doing these days. Many of them have very involved, ongoing storylines. Take Freakangels by Warren Ellis, for example, or Lackadaisy or Sarah Ellerton's comics, or The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kershl which is told in strips, but is a long ongoing story... I could go on. They aren't all gag a day strips, they often take as much reader investment in the story as any comic book, (including MSPA, it looks simple on the surface, but it is an ongoing story, which takes a LONG time to get caught up on, and you have to check back daily or you get lost very quickly) they're just easier to access, all you have to do is bookmark them. The fact that they are free (though many of them do sell trade collections) is different and will skew the numbers, but still, it does show that it's not the FORMAT that's offputting to people, people are perfectly fine reading pages of panels with dialogue in speech bubbles.

anyway. CBR did an interview with Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza.

relevant to this discussion:

Turning back towards the practical elements of this as a publishing initiative, you're doing day-and-date digital releases across the line. People have tried that strategy here and there – you did it yourselves this year with "Batman Beyond" – but doing it with every book is a big move. That theoretically opens up the books to folks who don't have a comic shop near them, but what have you guys been discussing in terms of how this affects retailers? Do you feel as though that could cannibalize some of the print readership?

Berganza: I think you said it yourself. There are some people who just can't get to the shop. I think a fan is going to reach out and get a comic. I mean, I still go out and buy CDs. I'm old fashioned that way. [Harras Laughs] I still pick up magazines. I don't think most people are going to abandon their habits because there's a new platform. I think a new platform brings a whole new readership.

Harras: It's a way of looking to the future and getting as many people as possible excited and involved in our characters. It's really additive to what we've got going. Again, we're embracing the world as it's developing in a real way.

Which is pretty much what C and I were saying. Also, to argue against a new way of doing things just because it could hurt the old way is ridiculous. If we kept doing that, we'd never make any progress.

[Edited on 15/6/11 by Bamfette]
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Wahnsinn » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:39 pm

It's not the plot structure of web comics I was addressing. Regardless of the type of story involved, it usually takes a different mood to want to sit and read a standard comic book versus a shorter web comic. The same would apply to novels and short stories. Is a person going to sit down with a 200-page novel when they're in the mood for a 10-page short story, even if the latter is actually part of a series? Probably not. They fulfill different desires.

The cost is another thing unto itself. A person who doesn't want to spend money on printed comics probably isn't all that likely to spend money on digital comics. Only those who already have some level of interest in comic books are potentially going to buy any form of comic book. Some of those will be the types of people who prefer to have those floppy pages in their hands to flip upside down and sideways, or maybe they just don't like the idea of a technological malfunction wiping out their collection. Others may have a limited amount of storage space or no particular attachment to the idea of having a physical collection, which will make them more interested in digital comics.

I don't think they shouldn't do digital. They should go for it while keeping the print editions running for as long as they're sustainable. I just think they need to also pay attention to the bigger picture of making comic books, regardless of format, more appealing to bring in new readers. I really don't think they're doing a great job of that at the moment.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 2:00 am

^^ What Wahnsinn said (for the most part).
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Bamfette » Tue Jun 28, 2011 5:23 am

I don't think they shouldn't do digital. They should go for it while keeping the print editions running for as long as they're sustainable. I just think they need to also pay attention to the bigger picture of making comic books, regardless of format, more appealing to bring in new readers. I really don't think they're doing a great job of that at the moment.


Arguing in favor of digital distribution is not arguing against good, accessible stories. DC is relaunching their ENTIRE LINE with brand new #1's aimed at letting people in on the ground floor, in an effort to make them more accessible to new readers. They are also expanding beyond just superheroes within the DCU (not just Vertigo). they have vampires, fantasy, war comics, horror, westerns... all this to coincide with this digital distribution initiative, what more do you want?

I also don't understand why it's so hard to grasp that some people do not have access to a comic shop, or do not want to go into the one they do have access to (because it's a pit, or too far away, or whatever)
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Wahnsinn » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:54 am

Bamfette wrote:Arguing in favor of digital distribution is not arguing against good, accessible stories.

I never said it was. I'm arguing in favor of both, but I think the latter is far more important than the former. No form of distribution will survive if not enough people want to read the material released.

DC is relaunching their ENTIRE LINE with brand new #1's aimed at letting people in on the ground floor, in an effort to make them more accessible to new readers. They are also expanding beyond just superheroes within the DCU (not just Vertigo). they have vampires, fantasy, war comics, horror, westerns... all this to coincide with this digital distribution initiative, what more do you want?

I want them to use their heads instead of sticking them in dark orifices. They're rushing into the relaunch, and it remains to be seen whether that will bring in more readers than it chases away. My hubby is using it as a jumping-off point for certain titles, with a select few getting extensions for their creative teams. Heck, his initial reaction to hearing about the relaunch was saying he should just drop everything, DC and Marvel, because he's sick of the renumberings and relaunches coming from both. Persuading me to drop everything I read might've been impossible, but even that would leave us with less than half of what we currently buy monthly from Marvel alone. Both of us are getting sick of sprawling events, which is why we've passed on several Flashpoint and Fear Itself tie-in issues and minis. I rather doubt we're the only longtime customers who feel this way.

It seems they've forgotten that much of their current customer base probably picked up a title in the middle of a long-running title, given that the most popular characters have been around for decades. For those interested in taking up the hobby, continuity is not a scary thing. In fact, the history can be a draw to some. If the presentation is clear enough, it's as easy to jump in at #475 as it is at #1. If it's engaging enough, it'll bring new readers back for more. All it takes is one solid comic, and they should be focusing on putting out comics like that all the time. Instead, they're focusing on short-term gains through tricks (relaunches, high-profile deaths, variant covers, etc.) and events. Have they so soon forgotten what speculators chasing #1 issues and variant covers did to the industry in the '90s? Those people generally don't stick around, and such tricks run the risk of driving away those who otherwise would.

I also don't understand why it's so hard to grasp that some people do not have access to a comic shop, or do not want to go into the one they do have access to (because it's a pit, or too far away, or whatever)

Is this directed at me? Only in my first post did I say anything about shops, and it had nothing to do with their accessibility and appeal. Did a post by somebody else get deleted or something? :?
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:12 pm

I find that using number systems as an excuse to drop comics though is sort of petty, but that's jsut myself. Numbers are numbers, if they change that much that's where I'd start buying the trades.


Notice I didn't say "that's where I start downloading the issues". It's not even an option in my head.

This is going to be a very ballsy move on DC and I think relaunching so many titles and starting over seems sorta ... insane. Sure, they could pull in new readers, but how do they expect to retain so many of the ones so reading? I would have to say that DC is tossing their line out pretty far and expecting to reel in some really big fish that are not in the pond they're looking at. Not yet at least.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Wahnsinn » Wed Jun 29, 2011 11:52 am

If it were renumbering alone, it'd be an easily surmounted annoyance. The hard relaunch--or reboot, whatever your preferred term in this instance--is what really bugs him. We've kept on with several renumbered and/or renamed titles as well as some comics that start up a new volume every 10 issues or so (e.g., Soulfire), regardless of how annoying it is to sort them. The story goes on, so it's not that big of a deal. If a title is hanging by a thread, the end of a volume provides a convenient place to stop. He'd be happy to drop Uncanny with this volume's end if I'd go along with it. :smirk

Frankly, I think DC should have done something akin to Marvel's Ultimate line if they wanted a new ground floor. That would provide a choice for new readers and allow current readers to go with whichever versions of characters they prefer. If they like Stephanie Brown as Batgirl, they can stick to the DCU. If they like Barbara Gordon as Batgirl, they can hop to the DCnU. If they're curious about both, they can pick up both.

Speaking as a relatively new DC reader (under a year on all but a few titles), I seriously question why I'm bothering with reading any of their stuff out right now when I know that what I'm reading largely doesn't matter. I was just starting to like some of it, and that'll be slammed right back to square one in a few months. That idea does not excite me, but I'll give whatever we buy (or most of it, depending on content) a shot.
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Ult_Sm86 » Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:13 pm

So, I asked on Formspring to all of the people (who naturally are comic readers) who I follow and who, likewise, follow me, and one of the best responses was this one:

(note, most of the responses were in this theme. Only 2 seemed FOR digital comics)

Question:
Can comics make the digital leap, in full, within the next 3 years? Why or why not? Who will suffer most from it? Who will gain most from it? Readers? Shop owners? Publishers?


Answer:
No. The publishers are wary of hurting the direct market. At this point, publishers need to figure up a better way of delivering digital comics. The current half-baked method of Comixology powered apps is just not going to work. Prices for digital comics must come down and readers must be able to download a .cbr of a comic that they dan then view on any of their devices.

At this point, the publishers are making a half- hearted effort in the arena of digital comics. Perhaps they will get more serious about it if they continue to hemorrhage readers over the next few years.

Shop owners clearly will suffer from a thriving digital market. The readers will be the ones to most benefit from a thriving digital market.



For a better idea of what I'm talking about here's a response (that seems to be less informed, being ROKK, the writer of the response I just showed you, seems to know how digital filing works and how to make it convenient for mass-consumption).

Prescribed Drone responded with:

Yes they can. It's a convenient and cheap way of distributing comics to people. It will save a lot of space that comics hog up. I say readers and the publishers may gain the most since it's basically a direct buy and more people would be tempted to get them than some 32 page stapled floppy.


Wookie71 said:

They can, but the distribution model has to be a good one. It's already being done on an independent level and the more it reflects things going on there, the more non-comic readers would be willing to give new books a try. Stores will suffer from it, but there are dyed in the wool print readers (myself included) who will still hit stores looking for print books and what back issues we can find as available by the stores. Small publishers and readers will benefit most. The big companies are going into it, but they are really showing that they're doing it kicking and screaming.


JLAvenger seemed very vocal:

They CAN, I just don't think they will. Too many people, myself included, are still married to the printed form. And I think it would hurt shop owners the most if/when it does happen.


SpiderMan1991 says,
The only way comics can make the digital leap is if the price on a digital comic is less than a print copy and if you can download the comic and put it on an external hard drive.

The publishers have the most to gain and the retailers will suffer the most.


And finally,
BreakABone:
I don't think comics will make the complete leap to digital, for the same reason music hasn't nor movies. The industries as a whole still want to protect retail/physical media, and there are still fans who prefer it.


From what I can tell, the comic readers who DC claims to be making comics for are almost entirely against this maneuver, for the moment. They're not against it down the road, but for now it seems pointless.

They also spoke LOUDLY against the paradigm/reality shift occurring in August within DC.

To quote ROKK again:

Absolutely no chance in hell. ;) I expect DC to continue to plummet in the sales charts with the obvious exception of any comic starring Batman. This is a temporary media bump. By November DC will go back to being the clueless loser that we all know and love.


CBL1978 said very firmly:

You don't make a longtime customer uncomfortable. Bad business


Spiderman1991 Again:
The relaunch is just a giant marketing scheme in an attempt to bring in new readers and promote same day releases for digital comics.



And the best response was from DrNvrMore
Bad for lots of long time fans of existing storylines.
Good for new fans, like myself, looking to jump on and read some of these great character that previously seemed to have too complicated of stories to interest me in jumping on.
Bad for local comic shops with the introduction of same day digital comics releases? maybe?
Good in the short-term for DC comics' bottom line sales (no doubt).
Over all, the long-term success of sales, will be rooted in the story-telling.

Fans were dead-against (and pissed as hell at) Spider-man's OMD story but now I am hard pressed to say it wasn't a good move by MARVEL. The direction taken has lead to a lot of success, and while I'm sure there are still some anti-OMD hold outs (still not reading the title), I think a lot of fans have been won back. In no small part by Dan Slott's excellent story telling.

So will OMD success (which is relatively small scale, but was just as controversial at the time) equal DC reboot success? Only time and good storytelling will tell that tale.



And I have to agree. The more of this I hear about, the less excited I am. The only two DC titles I cared about ( Batman & Robin, and Flash) are being revamped and booted over, and with different characters to boot.

Why am I buying the comics then if the only reason I liked those two comics is because of the writers/characters that were involved? Screwy business method, DC. Screwy.




[Edited on 7/7/11 by Ult_Sm86]
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Digital Comics -- Can They Make The Leap?

Postby Crawler » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:49 pm

Bamfette and I have been reading What do you REALLY know about comics?, a blog wherein the author interviews random non-comic-people about what they know about comics, what kind of stories they like to watch/read, and then gives them suggestions on comics to check out. Almost every single one that has an iPad or other tablet preferred that to single issues or even trades. Just from messing around with a friend's iPad, I know that if I owned one, I would never buy a paper single issue again but would probably buy more comics over all. Not having to wait weeks or months or years after paper release for an issue to hit my tablet would be HUGE. Hopefully, it plays out that way for others, as well.
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