Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Digital, web, ebook, whatever

The dude at Amazon covers some of the points I've made in the past (although I'm usually not so nice about it). However, Kindle is way overpriced - you can buy subnotebooks for close to that price.

Comic fanboys need to get over their inane fascination with the physical book and redirect that attraction to the narrative and art. The digital book robs the poor collectors of the life-wasting pursuit of treating the physical object as an investment, and that's why there's such resistance to going digital. "I want to hold it in my hands when I read it" is not an argument. Just grip the sides of your computer monitor the next time you read Ralph Snart. Or better yet, use one hand to hold the monitor and the other to firmly grasp your beer. And then shut up and read.

Collecting comic books (or anything) is a mental disorder. Seek help!


Blogger FJ said...

You're definitely more harsh than this guy :) But not necessarily in a bad way. Still, just think of it: it's tough to change habits. Coming from the artist's perspective, why would you need the book; you DREW the damn thing. Your creation is all in your mind and in the fact that people read it, not in the book. As readers, many of us only had the book growing up and that grew into collecting comics: it wasn't work for us like it was you, it was a product that we bought and that was ours. So it's tough for a lot of people to let go as collecting became a part of readership; buying the physical book, touching it, flipping through it wasn't JUST about the content (I know, I know - that's not a good thing - but it doesn't change the fact).

Now that my comics are all stored in the attic of my parent's house and being married I can't exactly have boxes of comics next to the couch, it's a lot easier for me to agree with you - but I understand people who have boxes of comics that they love and collect, having a tough time transitioning to all digital.

3/10/2009 10:22 AM  
Blogger FJ said...

To add, you're often times very critical of the industry (Caputo, NOW, politics of comic books as a business)...these are the people who printed comics and marketed the idea that we needed to collect them to begin with. Mental disorder is a bit strong: I think it's a habit that wasn't helped by publishers.

I actually agree that collecting comics for its own good doesn't add any value nor does it make sense, but I stand by my comments in the previous post: you're the artist, the people consuming your product have a different view of it so I can't fault them for wanting a paper version (I don't, but some do apparently).

Plus, come on - you've gone from print to digital to publishing ALL your works for free online to then taking them down because of an agreement with a publisher, to publshing bakc issues in a collection, starting a new volume in print ONLY, and now are going back to digital only...I'm getting dizzy here :)

3/10/2009 10:26 AM  
Blogger Marc Hansen said...

Chill. Oft times I say something to provoke (and it worked again, hee!).

My main argument has always been one of Collectors vs. Readers. Whether you agree or not, I see collectors as hoarders merely fufilling an always empty and depraved need (hence mental disorder). Readers on the other hand are in it merely for the narrative and visual experience (a more loftier and worthy goal in my opinion).

I guess it could come down to what kind of person you are; I'm more of a "can't take it with you" type person (I'm definitely a minimalist). Life is too short to waste it by forming bounds of affection with inanimate objects.

Through the years I've done whatever/however to gain an audience not that I necessarily agreed with it (or thought it was the best way). If it made sense to publish in print and/or digital, that's what I did. So sue me.

I've been in this business a long time and have seen a lot through the years. Without a doubt, it's the collectors and speculators who have ruined the modern comic book industry and turned it into such a joke.

3/10/2009 4:29 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I don't mind digital. The pro-sides are that it will never get old, deteriorated, lost in a move/attic/box, your drunk friend can't spill beer on it....gotta move forward with technology, or you'll end up like the Rocky Mountain News

3/11/2009 2:06 AM  
Blogger Marc Hansen said...

Exactly right...

PDF is also an Open Standard format that's been around for 16 years. There are Readers for every platform and OS. BTW, when you download the Ralph Snart pdfs, they are created dynamically using PHP source I wrote myself. The only thing stopping digital comics is the death of the computer or Armageddon.

Readers say, "Wow, that was a good story." Collectors say, "Wow, this issue is gonna be worth a bundle. I better double bag and board it, and buy 20 extra copies!"

3/11/2009 7:17 AM  
Blogger FJ said...

I'm chill, just using what you've said in the past as a basis for the argument. Again, I agree with you in principle,and you can approach it any way you want - but Readers vs. Collectors? I think the lines get blurred a bit sometimes. I loved having a hard copy. I can do without it, too.

I guess I never knew too many collectors. I never cared what the book was worth, I cared about the contact. Guess that makes me a "reader" :)

3/11/2009 3:51 PM  
Blogger Marc Hansen said...

RE: Readers vs. Collectors
I'm sure you are a reader. I'm referring to first-issue fever, embossed, hologram, multi-versioned covers, buying multiple copies, buying for "investment", etc. All of that gimmicky crap that distorted the market and reduced comics to a collecting hobby like stamps or baseball cards instead of what it should be; purely entertainment.

3/11/2009 7:00 PM  

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