iPad, Comic Saviour or Destroyer?

Posted on 28 July 2010

As a huge fan of comics and an obsessive collector of several different book lines I’m excited and yet horrified by the possibilities for comics now that the Apple tablet has launched.  I really like the feeling of getting a new comic book in hand and paging through, looking at the sheen on the pages and the smell of the ink and paper mash wafting up takes me back. Am I ready to abandon comics now that a “revolutionary” new medium for delivering them has arrived? Am I to accept the digital versions saved to my hard drive as a collection worthy of the pride I have for my bagged, sealed, and graded copies of relatively rare books?

When I’m buying a line of books I always get 2 copies, one to read and one to bag immediately. Following a particular artist you like can provide hours of discovering new and interesting lines, or a great style or formatting choice.  John Romita Sr. was my first real obsession The Amazing Spiderman series in particular.  One of my two very favorite is his son John Romita Jr. and his work on Peter Parker: Spiderman and most recently Kick Ass which was made into a movie.  J. Scott Campbell is the other.  This guy can flat out draw. He started on Gen13 was great and followed that up with my favorite series Dangergirl.

Great stuff, but could this medium be replaced by the iPad?  My guess is no, but it’s a direction that the publishers are already heading.  Apple has indie comics available for download on the AppStore, and both Marvel and DC have their own apps so it’s clear that industry is banking on micro-transactions and ease of access that the iPad delivers.

In fact, in a recent article I read, former DC executive Charles Kochman says, “As publishers, I don’t think we have to worry about e-readers replacing books or comics.  There are still always going to be readers and collectors who want the real thing. I just gave a friend of mine a handful of graphic novels for his birthday. I can’t imagine gifting him with e-versions. It would have seemed chintzy and cheap.”  It’s good to know that the people who make comics appreciate the form factor as much as I do.

But, can you imagine the multi-media possibilities available when one of the major publishers completely adopts the digitization of comics?

The iPhone took me a step closer to that complete integration but this device, well, it might change how all content is delivered.

Are you a comic fan or an avid reader?  Do you prefer one form factor over another?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


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