Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Becoming Digital

I collected comic books as a kid. I have a soft spot in my heart for pulpy paper comic books that were printed on newsprint in four-colors and sold from the magazine racks of my local grocery store. Those days are long gone.

I was a pretty reckless youth. I tended to travel light and comics or really books of any kind just aren't that. I long ago abandoned the comics that I had as a kid. Much later as a much more "grown-up" person, I was given some comics as a gift, and I began collecting comics again for the first time.  

When Julie and I moved to Michigan, I had been building a physical comic collection for 5 or 6 years. A substantial portion of that collection was "lost" in the move. I haven't bought a comic book for that collection since. The loss was a set back that I just can't recover from. 

Now, Julie and I are buying a little house. It's a really nice little house. We are very excited about it. Rather than move what remains of my comic book collection, I am selling it. Keeping the books just isn't practical, especially if I'm no longer interested in, or able to cultivate the collection as I once did. I don't look at them anymore. 

But, I do still love comics. Contrary to that statement, I hadn't read a "new" comic since ... the 90's? But the other day, I got the strong urge to change that. I signed up for both the Marvel and DC digital comic book services.

I began reading with, "The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) #1"

I chose this issue because it appears to be the latest print run for the Spider-Man that most closely resembles the one that I grew up reading. I say, "appears to be" because honestly, I find all these titles really difficult to navigate. I have gobbled up 27 issues so far and am getting ready to read issue #24. See anything wrong with that math? There were 4 special issues as part of a specific story line that were numbered the same as the previous issue followed by the letter "u". See what I mean about, "difficult to navigate"?

That aside, these comics are amazing!! The author of the entire run so far has been one, Nick Spencer. Not someone I am familiar with. I'm pretty sure that he hadn't been born yet back when I was reading comic books and familiarizing myself with names of writers like, Marv Wolfman, Bill Mantlo, Mike W Barr, and Chris Claremont.

But, wow! These comics have been fun, and I have read them all digitally on my tablet. "Sigh." I guess, "This is the way." While my classic comics have to be bleached and scanned and recolored in a process that essentially leaves their digital versions looking like pale ghostly spirits of their former selves. Here, the modern production process lends itself to the digital format. So, at least these comic "books" (if you can call them that) look great! And that has a huge impact on me. I read comic books rather that book books, because I like the visual storytelling medium. I want to look at the pretty pictures.

And these digital issues are as incredible to look at as the words that the artwork supports have been to read. It's all just really been great. If I had gone to my local comic shop and purchased these comics they would have cost about $4 each. That's over $100 for the 27 issues. The subscription service to Marvel is $10. That's a pretty incredible savings. The monthly subscription to DC is even cheaper. So, I'm saving trees, I'm saving storage space in my new little house, and I'm saving money.

I guess I'm a digital comics guy now. 

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