Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's NOT the same!

Wednesday is new comic book day. Way back when I was in college, it used to be Thursday but it's been Wednesday for a while now. Anyway, New Comic Day is great. Like any comic book fan, I love seeing the new books on the racks. I love gathering them into a stack and then taking them home. It's just nerdy bliss. So this last Wednesday, I was talking to the owner of my local comic store. He's not anything close to the chubby weird dude from The Simpsons. He's actually got more of a "cranky old neighbor" vibe going on. Instead of screaming for me to get off of his lawn, he hands me stuff from my reserve list. Big difference. We talk about a great many things. This week, it was digital comics.

Now, I'm the last person to speak against digital publishing. It took me a while to wrap my head around ebooks, but once I got a Kindle and started diving in to all the great stuff out there I was hooked. Sure I miss the actual books sometimes, but there are plenty of offerings in the digital arena that simply can't be found on shelves. And with publishers floundering along with every other industry lately, ebooks make plenty of sense. You see quirky titles that would never get a shot otherwise and in the end, the written word still shines through. So...I get digital publishing. For COMIC BOOKS??? Nuh-uh.

I have a Kindle Fire and I do purchase some digital comics. Yes, they look sharp and clear. Yes it is pretty cool to have them electronically delivered. But my insider source (comic book store owner dude) pointed out that the big companies are aching to go digital all the way. That's easy to see with their apps and their general push in that direction. The way things are headed, comic stores will start drying up completely in less than a decade. Is this just speculation? I hope so. Unfortunately, I could easily see this happening.

I still read plenty of comics and the experience is significantly better (and different) between digital versus print. With regular books, that difference boils down to a format thing. The words are still there and I still enjoy reading them. For comics, the difference is in art. There's something vastly different in seeing the picture on the screen as opposed to having it there in your hands. There's also the ads. What's that, you say? Ads?? Yes. When I dig deep into my collection and read an issue from the early 1980's, I see ads for Atari 2600 games and candy that doesn't exist anymore. I see membership forms for dopey fan clubs whose  cards used to take up space in my cheap little plastic wallets when I was nine and DON'T exist now. That stuff really takes you back and it has nothing to do with a story that could be reprinted in digital format. Even ads now are specifically targeted to a comic book audience and are stuff I really want to see. Well...mostly. This is a general thing. I'm not in love with ads. You get where I'm going with this.

The thought of comics being exclusively makes me sad. It will probably take a long time for print comics to be phased out all the way, but they WILL become harder to find. There simply aren't as many comic stores now as there were years ago. I've seen entire chains in cities where I've lived dry up and blow away. Could it just be a dip because of the recession? Is it a shift in times and people like me will just have to deal with it? Probably some from both columns.

Right now, I read some comics on my Kindle. I even tried reading some on an app for my phone (which wasn't bad during prolonged bathroom visits). Those are ok. When it comes to my favorite books, though, I want the print version. I've come to terms with ebooks. If comics start going purely digital, I can honestly say I'd rather trim down my purchases to a fraction of what they are now and get my fix with back issues.

Bah! Freaking technology. GET OFF MY LAWN!!!!!!

This is what happens without editors

I'm Marcus Pelegrimas, author of the SKINNERS series. Here you'll find various ramblings about movies, video games, TV, and...oh yeah...those books I write. If there's anything you'd like to discuss, just let me know. I try to update whenever the mood strikes me, so feel free to leave comments. There may be some occasional foul language, but anyone who's too easily offended probably doesn't read my stuff anyway.

Free Stuff

Here's how it goes. As usual, I've got my truckload of promo covers from EOS Books. I'll be going to some conventions, so I hope to see you there and I'll gladly sign your books. If you can't make it to a con, just email me your name, address and any inscription so I can send you a signed cover.

BONUS ---> If you would be so kind as to write up a review for any or all Skinners books and publish it on a site like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, or any other major review site, I can send you something extra. I made up some bookmarks (which I'll sign) and I've even put together some Shimmy's VIP passes (which I'll also sign). Can't guarantee the passes will get you into a real strip club, but I think they look pretty cool. Send me a link to your review along with your name, address and inscription, and I'll get these out to you as well.