June 26, 2010

DC Comics, iPad Apps, and Why I'm Stoked

Admittedly, this news really shouldn't affect me - after all, I own neither an iPad or an iPhone, being madly in love with Android.

However, in the recent coverage of DC Comics partnering with Comixology on a new digital comics application, it would be easy to get lost in the brouhaha. Let's put it this way...I normally don't expect Chris Sims to be the voice of sanity or objectivity.

(That's meant as a compliment, by the way. I have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Sims).

But I have to admit - other versions of online and electronic comics have left me cold. During my lean, unemployed times I attempted to torrent...and CBR files were just hard to navigate. Marvel's online archive also leaves me a little cold - when I asked at a comic convention (with the words "Wizard" and "World" in the title) whether I could find back issues of the Invaders online, we searched....and nothing. 

But DC's application has two key things going for it - admittedly, one is making some content free, and making other content lower priced. As I'm learning the hard way via Amazon and music, making things cheaper (read: $5 music albums) means that I'm more likely to make an impulse purchase. (Such as, say, Dean Martin
collections, or the soundtrack to the movie Once or even the debut of Blitzen Trapper. But I draw the line at Duran Duran. Are you reading this, Mr. Lefty Brown?). DC is reaching out to both techies and gamers (part of the deal involves making DC comics available on Playstation) with comics in a readable, accessible format.

(And to respond to those cynics who say, "Why does each company need its own app?" Hmm...maybe because each company has different royalty rates? Not wanting to share the same app, which might make Comixology's job much easier. But hey, snark is easy behind a keyboard.)

But the second - and cooler - thing is that DC seems to have a stronger, more creator-friendly royalty program in place than Marvel. Creators have worked long and hard to provide this content, and it is great that DC seems to have some current forward thinking when it comes to compensating creators for their work (here's a quote that illustrates that point). And for those who wish to snark about the whole Siegel/Superman lawsuit...go read Men of Tomorrow by Gerard Jones. You'll get a much larger context...and at least see that despite current legal efforts, DC is trying to move forward)

But ultimately, this means that comics are becoming more widely available - nothing is ever going to take the place of the storefront comics shop (hence the photos for Third Coast Comics (Hi, Terry!) and Challengers Comics. But in a way, this news has me wanting to do something I normally wouldn't do - spend money for an iPad, or even an iPod touch.

I think we've just seen the beginning of the future of comics.


Unknown said...

You don't need multiple apps. All the comics/publishers that Comixology offers can be accessed from their own app: DC, Marvel, Boom, etc are all available from that one app. The reason why publishers have their own apps is for branding, basically.

Marvel's app uses its own login system, so it's not likely that comics you buy in that app are transferable (I haven't bought any Marvel comics online, though, so don't know for sure).

The problem is that the prices are still to high, and the comics are offered individually, not as storylines/trades. While I understand the reluctance to undercut comic stores on price, it seems like the digital version should be a lot cheaper.

Gordon D said...

Thanks for clarifying...and for helping me see that some assorted rants in the Twitterverse have little merit. :)