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Think digital! Comics are facing interesting times. For years the tone of comics was in a transitional period in terms of maturity. The prices began to go up and collecting comics became a bit of an expensive hobby. With $3.99 for each issue, this meant that for some people some titles needed to be sacrificed. Also, slowly the comic shops began to shrink in numbers, some fans began to buy their stuff over the Internet or they started taking a long commute to a comic store far, far away. Due to the increasing technological advantages, comics got digital but at first it wasn't that attractive to fans. Maybe because you didn't get a sense of ownership or a way to read comics in a traditional way. Then the tablets invaded the market and a new way to read comics was born.
Digital comics are more accessible to fans, there's no need for trips, it's cheaper, no paper means we are saving trees and of course we get to enjoy the art the way we are supposed to. Finally we get to see a splash page in full view. Now DC announces that they will do printed and digital the same day. Truly, the digital age is upon us. But what does this mean? Are comics going to change? Could this mean the end of printed comics? What will happen to the value of my old comics?
It's possible the future of comics could change, not right away but maybe in the future. With the digital market growing every day, there would be no reason for comic shops. That is unless the shops offer some sort of incentive to their clients and of course comic related products. It's sort of like buying movies as downloads; it's safe space and we don't have to deal with rude employees or creepy people. The sad part is that sometimes, and very rarely, there could be real cool people working there. The human factor of talking face to face to people is gone. Not that some people give that much importance to that, but unlike Mogo, some people do want to socialize.
Comics won't change. The format might change and the prices too, but comics will be comics. The digital era will bring new readers, those that didn't care to enter a comic shop, cyber freaks, gamers and perhaps even movie fans. But one thing is clear: no long commutes. The digital age brings comics to the palm of our hands and this is not figuratively speaking; phones, tablets and handheld gaming devices give us this advantage. This is great for the comic book industry because this means that potential buyers are everywhere.
With technology giving us more advantages every day, it is possible that the printed comic could disappear. This is bad news for the people working in the printing business, but not for us. After all, paper is so overrated. For example, you don't need to mail a letter when you can e-mail said letter. In the comic world this means hard to find titles no longer are hard to find. The future is paperless – deal with it. But until then, it is your choice to continue to support this. So think paper or paperless, trees or no trees.
With digital comics rising, the printed runs could lower. This is great because the value of the comic will increase right away. Collectibles will be a bigger market as the value on rare comics will increase almost immediately. The comics without any digital counterpart will be sought after by collectors. So the indie books will probably be the market to watch for. Also, old comics will become more rare and valuable since it's possible that eventually there could be no printed comics.
Now don't think that thinking digital is a bad thing. The possibilities are just starting to emerge as this is only the golden age or maybe silver age of digital comics. There's a lot of room for improvement. After all, nothing is perfect and some glitches in the system do exist. But we can talk about that later. This is only a prediction of possibilities. Next time we can wonder about what's missing or how we think the digital comics could improve their readers' experience. Until then, think digital!