Author Topic: Online comics - the way of the future?  (Read 11288 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

dmglampers

  • Sidekick
  • ***
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Online comics - the way of the future?
« on: April 28, 2006, 07:35:11 PM »
Just a quickie -

Online comics are becoming more and more commonplace.  Do you guys think that subscription based online comics are going to take over as the mainstream distribution for the medium?  Or do you just love bits of paper smelling of printer's ink? Will the arse fall out of the back-issue market?

Personally I love books.  The change to downloadable digital content for film and music is not a big deal, as for the most part it's digital already.  Maybe for "comic samplers" it might not be a bad thing but I would hate not to be able to hold a good comic in my hands and read it while sitting on the loo!

Elliot
n't do it with an axe.  Get a chain saw.

Al Nickerson

  • Administrator
  • Avenger
  • *****
  • Posts: 280
    • View Profile
    • http://anactoffaithcomic.com/
    • Email
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2006, 06:17:29 AM »
I enjoy webcomics. I don't think we're quite ready to pay for them since we can get so much free stuff from the Internet.

With that said, webcomics do offer creators the opportunity to showcase their work without having to worry about heavy printing costs or editors.

I also donít think that print comics are close to extinction.

dmglampers

  • Sidekick
  • ***
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2006, 05:44:29 PM »
It is interesting that the web can enable an individual to produce a comic, distribute it and build a fan base for "free" (excluding the cost of the artwork/writing of the thing!) using open-source software and free hosting.

Admittedly this does enable a lot of people to produce a lot of rubbish, but personally I believe the few gems the slip out will take the world by storm.

What is the general consensus on the likes of what marvel are doing (http://www.marvel.com/digitalcomics)?  Do people actually use this service to browse titles, or is thumbing through the racks still the preferred way to check out what's new?  The fact that you need to ďsign inĒ to read part of a comic off your monitor turned me away!
n't do it with an axe.  Get a chain saw.

RAB

  • Fan-Boy
  • **
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
    • http://estoreal.blogspot.com
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2006, 12:40:18 PM »
I keep going back and forth on this topic.  Obviously the costs of producing and distributing printed comics have gone insane, and the mainstream publishers responding by making the packaging more elite and focusing on an ever-narrowing audience is only making things worse.  Between rising cover prices and the stranglehold of Diamond, the retail channel is becoming untenable...so thank heaven for indie publishers and print on demand and free online comics.

But at the same time, online comics just aren't as viscerally satisfying as reading print on paper.  The delivery mechanisms are clunky.  I don't like any of the applications I've seen for reading cbr files.  We really need an industry-standard program that does for comics what iTunes did for mp3s; it needs to be free and it needs to be embraced by Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image.  I'm not that big a fan of reading strips or comic pages on someone's website either, with the speed and bandwidth problems that entails.  

(Since my fellow Vonnegut fan asked...I can't speak to any general consensus, but personally I find Marvel's approach the most intrusive.  Apart from this nonsense of having to sign in, once you get there it's like having to ask someone else to turn the pages for you!)

I don't think that the ratio of crap to good material is going to be a major problem in the long run.  Every other creative medium that can be distributed online faces this same dilemma: videos, music, short stories, blogs, and podcasts.  The solution seems to be the "trusted advisor" who tips people off to good stuff.  Even now I get all my advice on which comics to look for from a dozen or so comics blogs to which I subscribe...and I find those blogs through other blogs I already know and trust.

The thing that bothers me most is...I don't think that any art form, including comics, should solely be the preserve of those who happen to be prosperous enough or have enough spare time to do it on the side.  There needs to be some kind of revenue stream even if the comics themselves are free to readers, or else the only people in a position to actually make them will be hobbyists.  (And I'm not disparaging hobbyists there; I'm just saying the entire medium shouldn't be restricted to them.)  For some, the revenue could be in the form of selling t-shirts and merchandise.  Or some might have paid advertising pages inside the free downloaded comic.  

Another thing that might be really cool would be to have that hypothetical "iTunes Music Store" for comics, where you could download a 22 page story for, say, a dollar or a pound, and then the creator gets the majority of that money.  I could envision DC and Marvel comics (all of them, reaching back to the 1930s!) alongside the latest self-published indie titles on a much more equal footing...

Ray Earles

  • Mutie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2006, 02:29:33 PM »
I have gotten really comfortable with reading comics on my PSP (PlayStation Portable). I would be satisfied with replacing many of the hardcopy purchases I currently make with downloadable content. There are many books I would like to read that I don't necessarily want cluttering up my house.

I know this sounds crazy!

I have a much wider reading interest than collecting interest. There are only a few titles I actually want to collect.

Unwanted comics are hard to get rid of.

- R.

Al Nickerson

  • Administrator
  • Avenger
  • *****
  • Posts: 280
    • View Profile
    • http://anactoffaithcomic.com/
    • Email
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2006, 04:12:18 PM »
Quote from: "RAB"
I keep going back and forth on this topic.  Obviously the costs of producing and distributing printed comics have gone insane, and the mainstream publishers responding by making the packaging more elite and focusing on an ever-narrowing audience is only making things worse.  Between rising cover prices and the stranglehold of Diamond, the retail channel is becoming untenable...so thank heaven for indie publishers and print on demand and free online comics.


You are so right!

It would be nice if Diamond wasn't the only distributor in town. It would also be nice if there were more creator-owned comics being purchased and read.

Marvel doing webcomics gets me thinking about my talk with Scott McCloud...

McCloud: Online Comics is in its infancy, but lets just not underestimate the size of the baby.

Nickerson: Yeah. However, Marvel and DC Comics, and other print publishers are not really concerned about Online Comics. Or they certainly donít think itís a threat or even an avenue to making any sort of money.
 
McCloud: No, they donít know what to do with it yet.

RAB

  • Fan-Boy
  • **
  • Posts: 9
    • View Profile
    • http://estoreal.blogspot.com
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2006, 11:06:26 AM »
A new online comics venture called  Flashback Universe just launched -- the content is a deliberately-retro planned superhero continuity along the lines of Astro City or Big Bang Comics, but the format is free downloadable .cbr files available on their website or via Bit Torrent.  I've just posted some initial thoughts over on my blog and think this may be a harbinger of things to come.  

I've been getting more accustomed to the .cbr format.  It may have some psychological advantage over webcomics, in that people may prefer to read digital comics without going through the mediation of a website's navigation links and their own web browsers.  I have three or four .cbr-capable comics reading apps on my Mac (they're just .rar archives, so the files can be unpacked and the contents read in any image browser) and I definitely prefer it to having to be online.

When a replacement for the .cbr format comes along, it'll need metadata capabilities -- like the tags in .mp3 files that allow you to assign artist and album and genre to individual tracks -- and a commercially acceptable version would need (sigh) DRM and anti-copying mechanisms to encourage big publishers to sign on.  From what I hear lately, Paul Levitz and Dan DiDio are okay with the prospect of downloadable comics, if not enthusiastic, but Joe Quesada is admantly opposed to the idea.

It'll be interesting to see how this progresses...

EABardawill

  • Mutie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Online comics - the way of the future?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2006, 01:56:35 PM »
No.

Staring at a screen will never have the same attraction as holding the collected strips in your hand while you're curled up on the sofa.

Case in point - Least I Could Do by Ryan Sohmer and Lar De Souza. My boys love it, so I'm buying all three books of the collected strips for  Christmas gifts.

I just can't keep up checking even my fav web comics every single day...