Picked up Chunky Comic Reader the other day. Had been using Comic Zeal for a while, but I’m finding Chunky Comic Reader to be a little simpler and more to my liking, especially if you don’t intend on maintaining a CBR collection on your iPad. It also lets you make clippings like this and share them via the standard iOS share services.
This is from Saga, which everybody appears to like.
It made shopping easier and helps regulars avoid comic book nnnnnerds.
I’m going to say something that I hope you won’t misinterpret (oh, who am I kidding, this is the internet, of course it’ll be misinterpreted): comics have been struggling in a ghetto for thirty years. That ghetto is called the comic book store. Please don’t hate me, comic book store owners — I love you, I love your dedication to the form, I fully support you, and never want to see you replaced. Yet the fact remains that for someone to discover a comic book today for the first time, he or she pretty much has to be a comic book reader already, or know someone who’s a reader, and he or she has to be comfortable immersing themselves immediately in a very specific sub-cultural experience by stepping through the doors of a comic book specialty shop.
I haven’t made my mind up on this. I don’t see think it’s a huge deal to buy from a website vs. an app (sure, I prefer buying through the app*) – but I buy stuff in Comixology only occasionally and never single issues.
Although, when I do buy Kindle books I usually buy directly from the Kindle after finishing a book sample.
Amazon owns Comixology and the prices are still more expensive on Comixology than they are on Kindle. I’ve read the first two volumes of Fatale. Amazon sells volumes for $9.99 on Kindle. On Comixology the same volume is $14.99.
If I were Amazon I would allow Comixology users to sync their Comixology purchases to their Amazon accounts and allow those coming from Comixology to download the copies of their comics from the cloud to their Kindle devices and apps.
But what if they don’t have Amazon accounts? Come on – everyone writing about this tries to work in how Amazon is a big bad evil horrible company, but they still buy from them.
Yeah. It’s pretty rough.
From Comixology CEO David Streinberger:
As a partner of Apple, we have an obligation to respect its policies for apps and the books offered in apps. Based on our understanding of those policies, we believed that Saga #12 could not be made available in our app, and so we did not release it today.
We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.
Given this, it should be clear that Apple did not reject Saga #12.
After hearing from Apple this morning, we can say that our interpretation of its policies was mistaken. You’ll be glad to know that Saga #12 will be available on our App Store app soon.
So wait – Image got it wrong. Brian Vaughan got it wrong. The fans got it wrong. How did a miscommunication this big happen?
I don’t watch superhero movies much, but I watched that X-Men: First Class movie, which tells the origin story behind Professor X and Magneto. Really nerdy stuff. Then I started looking around for X-Men comics and recommendations.
Did you know that there are nearly 5 billion X-Men comics? It’s a fact.
So if you wanted to read those where do you start? The beginning from the 1960s? It might not be so practical to do that and read all 5 billion comics.
X-Men: First Class reminded me of how much I loved the saturday morning X-Men cartoons from the 90s that aired on Fox. When I was a kid this was about super-mutants with their mutant super powers and the battle between good and evil. But watching the origin stories made me think of the obvious: this isn’t really about mutants, it’s about being an outcast. X-Men is about not being accepted into general society and having to create your own community in which you are accepted.
I guess that’s why nerds love X-Men.
Also, lasers and costumes.
Bors was the cartoonist who did that Steve Jobs strip.
There’s a delicate balance between digital comic sales and keeping the retail model alive. The idea is that the comic book industry can find a new audience through digital sales and convert them to print readers. I don’t know so much about that.
Why are so many of these about super powers?
That’s what I keep asking myself as I browse through the Comixology and Marvel apps.
I know I’m starting out. I’m just scratching the surface, but I know some of the standards: Batman, Captain America, Spiderman, Superman. Then there are also a whole lot of things I never heard of before like Chew, about a detective who gets psychic visions when he eats, and Irredeemable, which is about a super villain.
I’ve become interested in comics lately because of The Walking Dead, but I’m wondering why the entire medium appears to be focused on super powers. Nobody in The Walking Dead has super powers. The closest you get is an ex-lawyer with fencing experience and a sword.
Ok, I’m obviously overlooking the zombies. They have the super power of not dying until they suffer brain trauma.
But take something like Maus, an award-winning graphic novel about a survivor of Nazi concentration camps. Persepolis tells the story of a woman’s youth and her life surrounded by Islamic revolution. Both of these are extraordinary stories, but also consider the critically acclaimed American Splendor and its description of everyday life in Cleveland.
Comics have a bad reputation. They’re known as childish, for those who refuse to enter the real world and grow up. But when reading these stories it becomes very clear that comics are capable of telling gripping stories and narratives, in some cases superior to what the written word could achieve on its own.
So why is it that so much of the medium is about super powers and other fantasies, some that have been around since the early 1900s?
Stephen Schleicher writes about switching to digital comics on his iPad:
Knowing that I have a digital day and date release at my fingertips, means I don’t have to worry about getting my Previews order in three months ahead of time. I won’t have to worry about a storyline suddenly losing my interest, yet I still committed to buying three more months of issues. If I do drift away, I also know I won’t be caught empty handed when the series rebounds and I discover the store is sold out.
Having never ever ever ever read comics before (besides Calvin and Hobbes and Maus) I’m finding it interesting how digital comics have become a doorway for people like me who’d never go to a comic book store.
That’s what my attitude has been.1 I’ve fast-forwarded through parts of Macbreak Weekly where it sounded like Andy Ihnatko was going to go on a comic book/iPad love letter for 10 minutes. But having recently finished The Walking Dead Compendium I just need to know what’s going to happen next, and digital versions have been the quickest way to catch up.
AMC’s The Walking Dead has introduced more people to the comic book series, so having a digital version ready to grab immediately means good news for everyone involved. Seems like The Walking Dead is to comics as Harry Potter is to books.2
But, let me get this straight–and you Ihnatkos can email me if I’m wrong. Comic book
nerds fans must buy all their print copies from a retailer?
The Comixology app has some kind of pull list that I haven’t made sense of yet. I see that Walking Dead volumes and collections are on sale at Amazon, and I can even get printed collections through my library’s loan system. I wish I could subscribe to The Walking Dead like a magazine and get a print copy in the mail each month, but it appears that this distribution model, with the pulling, and the pre-orders, and other hipping, bipping and bopping, is in place so that comic book retailers stay in business and support the most voracious comic book readers.
Ok, that’s fine. So if you still don’t want to set foot into a comic book store then digital is the next best thing.
EDIT: Jen wrote in about comic book subscriptions:
Lots of stores have programs where you can get them in the mail! Here’s one of the more famous ones in NYC:
If you want to be nice to your local store (not sure what that is), you can call them up and ask if they do mail order, but they might not do it if you only get one book a month.
Also, I don’t blame you for never wanting to go to a comic book store – but if you want the safest day, do it on a Tuesday. No one ever goes in comic book stores on Tuesday because all new issues are released on Wednesday.