Comics Today

31 Dec

The year in comics is over again.  I must confess, my opinions of the (no longer) “New 52” haven’t changed much.  Some books have been great (Batman and Green Lantern).  Some I wouldn’t read for free (see: Lobdell).  But I do have a couple of points I want to raise about the state of the industry to me (read: DC). 

1)      The biggest surprise to me has been in digital graphic novel format.  This year there were several sales on digital graphic novels.  I tried five titles I had never really read: Sandman, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, All-Star Western, and Fables.  I liked all five but I must say I LOVED the Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Fables. I quickly purchased the other two entries in Animal Man and Swamp Thing. The Rot World was a compelling arc and seeing the end results of the two books were saddening but leave me wanting more.  Fables was vastly entertaining and I plan on trying to purchase the series on issue by issue basis.  The best part though about them was that by buying them digitally I saved 5-10 dollars on each volume. 

2)      Along the same lines, I find my reading habits fairly evenly split between digital and print books.  The convenience of carrying around a collection of books in the palm of my hand is hard to beat, but I have read print comics for twenty years.  The allure of opening the pages physically is unmistaken.  The pricing of digital is nice.  I know that books are typically going to be 99 cents to $4.99.  If I can buy Action Comics 1 (first run) for 99 cents I will gladly take it.  The backlog is growing for digital collections, too, though print definitely takes the cake in sheer volumes of books. 

3)      At the same time, digital offers three formats that vie for my dollars.  Comixology is easily my favorite format for digital comics.  I enjoy being able to read regular pages like a book and being able to rotate my devices for two page spreads.  Guided view is also a handy feature sometimes.  iBooks offers a similar experience and has the lovely, lavish “page turn” feature, so I can see my page turn.  Completely pointless but nice to see.  Finally, there is Kindle.  I like it the least due to features.  The lack of a decent zoom function drives me insane, especially on two page spreads (which were plentiful in Swamp Thing).  But the pricing for Kindle comic graphic novels is usually 2 to 3$ cheaper than either other format, so it wins out in the end. 

4)      Finally, the most fun in comic books today is still the convention circuit.  Small and large conventions offer fun aplenty.  Cosplay has gotten quite impressive and at times obnoxious.  Creators come out to all sizes of conventions which is nice.  But my personal favorite aspect of the convention is the discount bins.  The single best value in comics can be found (apparently now) only at the convention.  When I first began reading, new issues cost about $1.50 but quarter bins were plentiful.  Today, in stores, I can usually only find the occasional dollar bins, which are usually filled with recent “art.”  But at the convention, quarter and fifty cent bins return.  I love it! 

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