Speaking of comic books…
How has digitization changed the world of paper comic books?
For aspiring comic book artists and writers, the digital age has broadened the field. As Stan Lee noted in a 2012 interview, opportunities abound in the cyber world and now include self-publishing as well as video, video games, and the possibility of film and television programs.
But what of paper comic books? Has the digital age changed how true comic fans feel about their beloved books? For the comic purist, apparently not, at least according to those in the above documentary. It’s just one more way to access their favorite genre. But. . . paper still rules in so many ways.
Think about it. . .
A digital comic is one thing—a collection is quite another. For some, a comic book’s intrinsic value is in the tangible–the ink on one’s fingers, the stack on a shelf or on the floor next to the bed, the ability to share and exchange with a fellow lover of comic books. What of resale value, an important aspect of comic culture? What is a Superman No. 1 worth in digital form? (Obviously not much since I got a free download from Starbucks a couple of weeks ago. Note, the paper version is worth six or seven figures.) Most comic books cost the same, digital or print. However, one does not actually own a digital comic book, and in most cases, it can only be traded back to the comic book publisher. They do have their advantages, with portability high on the list.
Whatever the form, comic books will always have appeal and a new audience. They will continue to bring us the heroes we need and hope to be, the monsters that terrify us, and the quirky characters that we recognize from real life.