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Perry White 0001
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As a kid, I can remember going to the local drugstore every week in eager anticipation of picking up the latest issue of my favorite comics. My father—who was a postman at the time—encouraged me to subscribe to my favorite comics however, I would not be deterred. I had developed a regular routine and would hear nothing of changing it.

In my teens I discovered something which changed my outlook completely, my local comic store. I was awestruck by the idea of being in a store which sold nothing but comics and comic book themed paraphernalia. It was almost too much for this fanboy to take. The high school I attended was located on the north side in a local village, and tucked away along a side street three blocks from the school was the store which would change the way in which I’d buy my comics!

I continued for years to be enamored with the feeling of being in a comic store, the sight of boxes upon boxes of comics, the smell of the paper and the chance to talk to others who shared my passion was intoxicating to me. As I got caught up in the ecstasy of my inner geekdom, A few years after graduating, I discovered something called the internet. This was another way for me to be immersed in the world of comic books. I found sites dedicated to delivering the latest news on upcoming series and the people behind the scenes.

Today, I am faced with yet another stage in the evolution of how I get my comics with the emergence of digital comics. While the creation of digital comics is nothing new—the first examples date back to the mid 80’s—the fact that you now have the two major forces in comics—DC and Marvel—along with a growing number of independents who are vigorously marketing the digital form of their publications, has given this fanboy something to think about.

I got my first e-reader about two years ago at the behest of my wife, who often complained about the number of books and magazines—including comics—that I’d collected over the years. Getting an e-reader seemed like a logical choice for me to keep the peace and economize space. At first, I was only able to download, read and store novels and certain magazines on the e-reader, but as newer models became available I was able to access websites—such as www.comixology.com--which allowed me to read digital comics on my PC. I found myself spending less time at my beloved comic store, and more time pouring over the digital comics I could download to my PC.

I was eventually weaned off of e-readers and introduced to the wonderful world of tablets! A tablet allowed me to have the capabilities of a laptop in a very convenient and portable size. With the comixology app available on my android tablet, I was able to take my comic book collection with me anywhere and download new comics in seconds! I got that same giddy feeling I had when I walked into a comic store for the first time many years ago. I had embarked on a new frontier in how I purchased and how I read my comics.

I find the idea of digital comics to be very appealing for many reasons. I find the lack of physical space digital comics take up to be a definite advantage since I have finite space to store the physical versions. There is also the fact that I can read digital comics from my PC and also from my laptop, tablet or phone from virtually anywhere.

The Comixology app for android is the best innovation for digital comics that I’ve found out there and works really well. You can access the site from your desktop PC or download the free app to your IPhone, IPad, android phone or android tablet. The app is even available on the Kindle Fire tablet.

Along with the advances in technology which paved the way for digital comics, the price of print comics has risen to be comparable to those of more mainstream magazines on the market. I’m old enough to remember when comics were a quarter a piece---boy, the good ole days! However, comics at today’s prices can add up rather quickly when you collect multiple titles.

Digital comics have the potential to save the fanboy money by being priced less than their paper counterparts however, unlike purchasing ebooks in lieu of the print form, they are generally priced the same. Some older issues on comixology.com are priced at $1.99 as opposed to the cover price of $2.99 to $3.99 for most comics. To me this practice is where the digital market is lacking and does the consumer a great disservice. Who wants to pay the same price for an e-edition of a comic as they would for the print version, especially when there are no printing or shipping expenses involved in the delivery of digital comics? One might think that digital marketing would take a page out of the book that mainstream ebooks are reading from. Doing so would definitely make the consideration of digital comics more enticing to the consumer in my opinion.

Another drawback—especially for the comic stores—is the fact that digital comics as of late, are being released the same day as the print versions. In the past, the digital versions didn’t hit the internet until six months to a year after the print versions were released. Why the change? I haven’t quite figured this one out yet although I do know that this practice has caught the justified ire of comic store owners. By releasing the digital comics the same day as their print versions, the comic companies are screwing over the very people who helped to keep the medium going and remain relevant over the past thirty to forty years.

Fanboys who are anti-digital comics often cite the fact that reading comics from a monitor, cell phone or tablet screen lacks the personal tactile experience that comes from reading the print version. I can understand where they’re coming from because it took a while for me to get used to the idea of using an e-reader.

While I definitely sing the praises of digital comics as an alternative to the print version in that they don’t take up physical space, are conveniently portable and accessible on multiple devices, their pricing structure and lack of consideration for the comic stores who have supported them leaves an undesirable taste in my mouth. Ultimately, I’ve decided to make most of my monthly comic purchases in the digital comic format, I’m going to continue to do my part to support my local comic store by visiting them at least twice a month and purchasing graphic novels and comic paraphernalia