24 July 2014

Getting into Image comics digitally

Digital has gradually become my preferred method of reading and buying comics, and this is one of the main reasons that I bought my iPad with Retina display a couple of years ago.

The change has also allowed me to try new comics out, which I had been meaning to do for years.

This is much easier to do digitally as all issues are always available and teaser sales are quite common. I got in to comics like Umbral and Saga because the first issues are free.

The change in the type of comic that I read has, unintentionally, changed the publishers that I read. DC Comics have all but gone (because their digital strategy is all but missing) and Image comics now features prominently.

Despite being an American publisher Image has some high-profile titles by established British writers and my library has Trees and Supreme Blue Rose by Warren Ellis and Umbral and The Fuse by Antony Johnston. These are also the first comics that I read when they come in.

Marvel retains a sizable footprint on my iPad thanks to its enlightened digital strategy which means that on almost all of their titles buying the paper copy also gets you the digital version.

This costs slightly more than the digital only version would cost, but not any more than the paper only copies were so it is a good deal. I read the digital copies and file the paper ones away.

By "file away" I obviously mean leave in tall piles in my study but I have now bought boxes and individual plastic bags to store a thousand of them and five hundred have been bagged and boxed already. I'm going to need more bags and boxes.

Finding time to read comics is a perennial problem and I have severely curtailed the number that I buy and that means that the core of my Marvel purchasing is Avengers and X-Men titles, spiced with a couple of oddities like Daredevil and Moon Knight (by that man Warren Ellis again).

The future of comics is decidedly digital and I see that as more of an opportunity than a threat, though I do worry about the impact on the specialist shops that help new people get in to comics in the first place.

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