Americans have always been obsessed with speed. We just can’t seem to do anything fast enough, because we’re constantly coming up with ways to make our machines, vehicles, and computers faster. Even right now, as you read this column, countless nerdy brain wizards are waving their magic wands at their smartphones, laptops, and tablets, whilst wracking their brains trying to figure out how to make internet connections faster.
The comic book publishing industry is not immune to the attractive enticement of speed. One of the clear manifestations to come out of this infatuation is the rise of digital comics. The internet is a lot of things, but it is primarily a visual communication tool and digital information storage vault. Comics fit this medium as naturally and as snugly as one Lego piece fits into another.
There are some knee-jerk purists out there who feel threatened by the increasing popularity of digital comics, and thereby are already bemoaning the death of the ink-stained pulp comic. It is a valid concern, however, it is also important to remember that comic books are, like all of the other commodities in the consumer market, driven by two complimentary forces: supply and demand. As long as there are enough people who demand ink-stained pulp comics, there will be a supply to fill it. And if the demand ever runs dry, there will be a thriving collectors’ market just waiting to swoop in and take over.
Digital Comic Book Stores
There are a number of different ways for you to find and read comics online, including the websites for most, if not all, major comic book publishing companies, such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Dark Horse, IDW, Oni Press, Viz Media, and many, many more. Many of these publishers will also provide you with free previews of several of their titles, as well as some free whole issues.
Good old fashioned American capitalism is becoming more and more a part of the digital comic universe, with the relatively recent emergence of websites whose sole function is to sell digitized comic books. These sites, such as comiXology, Graphically, and MyDigitalComics, also offer a wide variety of freebies in just about every genre in the comic book world that you can imagine. ComiXology, for example, features all of the big name publishers and the big name titles that go with them, such as 100 Bullets, 30 Days of Night, Batman, GI Joe, Superman, and some old school issues from Adventure Comics to Archie Comics.
Here’s where the speed factor comes into play. When you acquire a digital comic book, regardless of whether it’s a collection, single issue, or freebie, it is immediately available to you for your reading enjoyment. You might never have to leave your home again to get your Batman or Spider-Man or Wonder Woman fix.
Another cool factor inherent to digital comics is that it is in its infancy right now. So, when you take our obsession with speed and combine it with the innovations that are sure to come as the internet continues to evolve over the years, you can only imagine what digital comics will be like in even the not-too-distant future.
Kevin P. Hanson