Friday, November 11, 2011
I've bought a couple of digital comics to read on my ipod. Yes, my ipod, that is right, I don't have a tablet so I bought them on the something that I could read. I can also read those episodes on my desktop. The experience was something less than wonderful, but kinda interesting. Y'see I downloaded the comics onto my ipod from home. That is right, my ass stayed in my seat in front of my computer and downloaded a couple of the new 52 (alright I admit it, DC got me to buy some of their new comics after I said I wouldn't) so that I could peruse them. This is the new big thing in the industry, this is what everyone is talking about, and with guided views and whatever else, you don't need to know how to read comics to read comics anymore. This is the perfect thing to expand the market. I have said it before and I will say it again, Diamond is a beast that eats its young when it comes to an expanding market, and that beast is a dinosaur. Or, the comics market will not expand as long as Diamond is the only way to get comics. It won't. I was in a grocery store yesterday and it had Archie comics. I bet if you were to poll young kids about comics Archie would be the number one brand that they knew. I'm not talking about cartoons with comic characters, just comics in general. Comics are no longer accessible to the common man, because DC and Marvel are not willing to get into bed with newsstand distributors when they have a direct through-line to an audience with money with Diamond.
I don't know the specifics, but newsstands were a major player in comics selling at one point. I guess they just became archaic. I hope Diamond and comic shops are paying attention. Digital distribution may just be a small market share at the moment, but it is growing. So, what does that mean to the LCS. A drop off in some customers for sure, initially. I am of the era that I still like to hold the solid comic in my hand, so I will still be going to my LCS, and probably most of the audience my age and older (and slightly younger) will be dumping our dollars there as well. But for the new kids, let us hope that someone downloads an app for them and buys them a bunch of comics on it. So that we have an audience in ten to fifteen years that wants to read comics books.
I know kids still read comics, but most of the comics that they read are the ones available in book stores. Bone, Amulet, Mister Underpants (or whatever that is) and the rest of a rather small, but growing bunch of books that are selling like mad to kids that actually want them. Kids still like comics guys!!! They just cannot get them unless their family members are some of the small minority that haunts the comics shops.
This brings me to day and date and digital codes being packaged with print comics. This is fucking great. This is a gift from the comic industry to us and to the people that we know. You probably know one person in this world that might like a comic book. Maybe you should take that digital code and email it to them, or give it to them in person and help them read it on their computer, ipad, or whatever other electronic device that they may have. Do you think that the new 52 advertising in one subway stop in New York is going to get new readers into comics? No. Fuck no. You know what is? You are with your fancy digital codes. Keep the comic. Give your friend a gift of something that you love, a digital comic for them to read. Hell yeah.
Maybe one day you can bring that friend into your local and get them to buy a real comic, or a wicked graphic novel. That would be cool. And maybe that person will be a little person, so that our industry and its archaic distribution model doesn't bottom out in ten years.
That would be cool.