It’s said that variety is the spice of life. While there’s undeniable truth in that cliche, its underlying implications are left open for individual interpretation. For example, if you like variety in your life, you probably take the meaning of spice in the cliche as a positive thing; conversely, if you don’t like variety, you probably take its meaning as a negative thing.
The birth, maturation, and continuing evolution of digital comics might have some traditional, pulp-and-ink comic book purists bemoaning what they see as the inevitable demise of their favorite comics delivery system. It is an understandable concern given the obsessive passion many of us have for comics; however, I submit to you that it is an anxiety bred mainly from paranoia and fear.
Now, before you take offense at those terms, I will admit to feeling paranoid and fearful about our world turning into a book-burning, Fahrenheit 451-type dystopia, with a robots-take-over-the-world subplot thrown in to add fuel to the fire. Upon further review and observation, I no longer foresee this happening. Paper-based books and comics will be around until there’s no longer a demand for them, just like newspapers, photocopiers, and DVD players. Heck, even vinyl record albums are readily available in today’s world of CDs and MP3s.
Digital comics, in my opinion, are not a replacement for hardcover and paperback comic books and graphic novels any more than Amazon’s Kindle is a replacement for hardcover and paperback books. They’re simply a new way to enjoy something you already enjoy. If you give digital comics an honest try and don’t like it, you still have pulp comics, web comics, comic strips, manga, CD-Rom, magazines, e-zines, and so forth.
It’s all about choices. You don’t have to limit yourself to one or the other. It’s OK to like both. Your paper comics will not get jealous of your digital comics or vice versa. Trust me on this one.
Kevin P. Hanson