View2View: Will Digital Kill Printed Comics?


(Not So Silent) Mike’s View

Hey folks welcome back to another View2View where Comic Canuck and I discuss some of the more hot button issues in comics, and today’s is “Will printed comics be around much longer or will digital take over?” And here is my view:

While digital comics are growing and allowing for some easier access to comics I don’t think that the printed version of comics will ever truly fade off into the sunset. With things like Free Comic Book Day, comic signings, and rare issues happening every year the hault of the printed comic would not only hurt the industry, but take away from things that a lot of fans like myself look forward to. For something that is so devalued in society at times the printed comic has not only been around generations longer then anything digital, it has inspired artists to write, sing, draw, and make shows about a great deal of subjects that without them would probably not be around.

Another facet of comics that very few people give credit to is their ability to change, shift, and persevere throughout the roughest of times, and still come out on top as one of the worlds biggest sources of entertainment. Marvel Comics alone not only faced bankruptcy, they came out the better for it. They are now one of the biggest promotions in comics books, and that whole merger with Disney did not hurt at all. While DC Comics has also changed, shifted, and stayed on top of its game spawning hit movies, cartoons, and video games staying right on track with Marvel. Without the printed books would these things have been plausible? Probably, but I don’t think they would have been inspired. Digital is nice, but the real solid copy of something in your hand just has a feel to it that an iPad or anything of the like just can’t carry, You also have to look at the expenses, not every can afford a pricey digital device, but most can afford a four or five bucks for a good comic book that can take you away for a little while.

In this writers, readers, and all around fanboy of comics eyes I think that the hard copy of a comic book is far more valuable than anything digital. Without the hard copies, comics just wouldn’t be the same. That’s just my view though, what’s yours?

Comic Canuck’s View

The printed form comic book is not indestructible.

I’m sure all of us recall that earlier this year Wizard Magazine, much to the chagrin of fan boys and girls, announced it was ending its printed publication and taking the “magazine” online. It was an abrupt and quite frankly, sad end to a publication that meant so much to so many. I know I went out and bought two copies of the last issue. I wanted the final issue in printed form so I could one day tell my daughter that “I remember when” printed magazines started dying off and show her proof of such a relic.

Sadly, the writing is on the wall for the printed comic. Other publications have already given up printing on dead trees, as newspaper and magazine subscriptions wane. The Rocky Mountain news in Denver folded, so did the Chicago Times as well as the print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In addition to Wizard pulling the plug, so did dozens of other, mostly niche, magazines. I think (and hope) it’s still 10 years away from the day when the only comic we can pick up is online. The upside: also gone will be the 20 long boxes of comics sitting in the basement (but maybe that’s just me).

Here’s where I see a shift. Marvel offers up digital comics, but if you’d like a paper version of an issue then you can order it online and it will be printed and shipped to you. Now that’s what I call a rare edition. Unlike, the ton of variant covers that come out these days, you’ll actually have copies of issues that your comic buddy down the street will not have. That makes your comic even more of a collectable.

The death of widely available printed comics could be a boon for publishers. It would make comic conventions more exciting because it might be the only place to get your hands on printed material. You see, comic publishers like Marvel, DC, Image and Red 5 Comics could sell comics in printed form that, to that point, had only been seen online and this would make them even more rare and “collectable” again.

What would happen to the local comic shop? Unlike the death of the video store they too would have a role in all of this. I predict that they will not die off. They would become conduits of a “long forgotten era” offering up back issues, trade paperbacks and even become licensed printers of “online only” comics. The stores could in turn sell those issues at premium prices to the true die-hard comics fan.

That’s the way I see it. Have fun and keep reading!

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