The Way of the Dinosaur (I Hope Not)
When I graduated college, I was excited. I wanted to write movie reviews, and my degree in critical film analysis made me a shoe-in for that job. I spent hours looking online for jobs at different local papers only to find not only were most newspapers not hiring, but many were going out of business. Many local newspapers had completely gone to the online world. What a shame. I noticed over the next two years that it wasn’t just newspapers. Everything was slowly going online classes, shopping, and television. It’s weird to me. I didn’t have the internet growing up. I had Oregon Trail and a NES, and I couldn’t play the NES whenever I wanted. I had to ask my parents, since we all used the same television. So everything becoming digitized is a little scary for me. Now things have gotten weirder/worse in my humble opinion. Comic books are starting to go online. Not web-comics though, the mainstream ones. For $5 a month, I can peruse over 5,000 issues at Marvel.com alone. DC doesn’t seem to be on top of this verging technology yet, but maybe it’s a good thing?
At some point in the near future, you’ll be able to read all of your comics online, this will happen without a doubt. Hopefully, at the same time, you’ll still be able to buy actual copies of them. The number one reason this will happen, cost cutting. You cut out the printers, then you cut out the vast majority of the cost to publish the comic. The publishers will save money, but the printers will go out of business. Also, you’ll never have to worry about your comics getting ruined. You’ll always have pristine conditions saved to your personal computer. On top of that, you’ll have a whole lot more room around the house. No more long boxes taking up space. No more comics sitting on top of the toilet, and no more scattered on the floor. However, by putting everything online, what do we lose?
Anyone else go to their comic book store, pick up the new releases off of the shelf, buy the books, and then put them all in order… You know… the order you’re going to read them? Or how about that feeling of holding way too many books in your hand, knowing it’s going to cost a pretty penny, even with your frequent customer discount? With comics online that is gone. What about collectors? Those who collect books thinking in the future they’ll be worth some money. A whole sub-culture of people will be endangered. Let us not forget the most important part of comics going online… Comic book stores. When everything goes online, comic book stores will become endangered too. I’m sure a few will stick around due to the few collectors still around. That, in turn, will make comic conventions a lot smaller. Wizard World Chicago is made up of quite a few retailers; many of them will be gone. What then? A bigger Artist Alley? The biggest problem I have, and this relates entirely to my generation and prior, where do you go to talk about comics? Sure, there are some great places like comicvine.com (PLUG!) and others I won’t mention, but when I was growing up, if you wanted to talk about comic books, you went to the comic book store. Everything you see happening in the forums, happened in that store, the same store I actually work at today. I can’t tell you how many times the rumor mill got turning when I walked in. Which movie is coming out? Who is drawing the new book? Who’d win in a fight, Han Solo or Indiana Jones? (By the way, the answer is Indy) These conversations were all happening in the store, and while I can have these conversations all online, I still spend three hours on a Wednesday or Saturday in the shop, when I’m not working there, coming up with theories of who the next Black Lantern is or why One More Day really “grinds my gears”.
All-in-all, times are changing, moving forward. And although everything may eventually move online, I really don’t think actual copies of comics will stop being printed. I love the feeling of a comic book in my hand. Reading something online is too cold and distant to me. It may be something I’ll never understand, why you would spend money on something you don’t technically own, but it’s just a generational gap some of us can’t understand.
I’ve been great,
Judas AKA InferiorEgo