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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane…It’s Superman Trapped in Your Computer Screen.

As I stated in my last post, CD’s are becoming a thing of the past. iTunes and other music downloading applications are allowing people to download (legally or illegally) music that they love, from all of their favorite artists. This allows people to still have collections of all of their favorite music, without having the dust-building clutter of owning hundreds of CD’s.

 A recent podcast on SXSW made me think, is the same thing happening with comic books?

 The panel discussion was titled “Online Comic Books: The Future of Graphic Novels?” which talked about the increasing popularity of online comic books. Even avid comic book fans are catching on to the craze. They’re probably running out of room to put their massive amount of boxes filled with comic books.

 One of the panel speakers worked for DC comics, and announced that they are in the process of starting an online comic. The first issue is free, but of course they need to make money somehow so to get the rest of the collection you have to pay. This is the case with the majority of online comic books.

A question that was raised had to do with motion comics (which play as a Quicktime movie, complete with voiceovers). Is a motion comic truly giving you the comic book experience? I would have to say no.  To me, they would seem more of a cartoon than anything else. What are your thoughts?

 A site like http://balanceandgraceonred.com/still keeps the feel of the graphic novel alive. One of the panel speakers actually started up this online comic. But is it the same as having something tangible that you can hold, take on a trip with you or fold down the page to save your spot? (or bookmark for those of you who like your comics in mint condition).

 This leads me to the question; if comic books become obsolete, will comic book collections also become a thing of the past? You can keep an archive online, but can you sell that archive? Can you put it on display, or pass it on to your kids? If it’s available to everyone, where’s the fun in collecting issues?  

 What do you think about online comics replacing comic books? Or even the replacement of CD’s and DVD’s?  Is it just another step in the direction of technology taking over?  

 To infinity and beyond,

Hilary

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May 26, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Print is an inordinately inefficient way of delivering and distributing stories. It’s only natural they would move to the web.

    Like you, I agree that an animated comic is more of a stilted animation than a comic. Its still very early days for webcomics. Most are either latching on to the newspaper strip format as a convenient fit on the screen or as a good model for fitting a daily schedule. But you will find that once you move past DC and Marvel most comics are provided free – either ad supported or done simply for the love of the craft and story.

    I’m a fan of the longform comic, and moreso the infinite canvas approach. Pup and the Heat Death of the Universe is a great early experiment into this approach http://www.drewweing.com/pup/13pup.html

    Screen resolution is the major technical hurdle comics still need to overcome. 72dpi is at best half, but more often a quarter or an eighth the resolution of print. Once we get better resolution screens (preferably 300dpi e-ink) expect to see a renaissance of comics.

    I highly recommend Scott McCloud’s writings on the subject http://scottmccloud.com/ but there are some good podcasts on comics worth listening to http://webcomics.com/ and http://seqalab.com/

    Comment by Rob Clark | May 26, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi Hil,

    You’ve raised a point I had never even thought to consider until reading your post.

    Comic books are certainly an artifact that would be effected by the rapidly growing shift from print to online. Having only read Archie comics growing up (sad to say the last one I read was probably a decade ago), I never thought about how this shift will effect the world of comic books.

    Comics have such a huge following in their niche market, so it will definitely be interesting to see if those who are hardcore about it will want to keep the tradition and fight for comic books to stay in print. On the other hand, I’m sure there are lots of tech savvy comic fans that would enjoy an online format.

    Think about it: online comics open more doors than print when it comes to the reader’s experience.

    Imagine wiki-comics (where fans are able to co-create story lines for their favourite comics), or other interactive comics that allow the reader to participate in one way or another. Imagine the features that an online comic could contain – like sounds (instead of the written “POW!”),or voice overs (to make them accessible to say, for example, the blind).

    Comment by Laura | May 27, 2009 | Reply


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