Nothing Funny About High Tech Comic Books

Santafe.com - October 3, 2011

"It’s serious business now!"

For most people, there is no difference between nerd and geek. I prefer nerd myself because geek has other negative connotations that arise from its dubious carnie origins. I don’t eat live animals.

That aside I do have my nerd vices, as I like to call them. I like Star Wars and Star Trek, sci-fi in general and I surround myself with their various collectibles. I am a fan but not a fan boy, even I won’t cross THAT line. But I come close to it with my love of comics and the information age was custom built for that particular nerd vice.

I have always been a fan of Spider-Man and the X-men. Now I do prefer to read and collect paper comics, but they can be fragile and I like to read them and then bag them. That being said, when I find a favorite I will read it to death. Literally. I have to have a special box for those that are in decent shape but not mint enough to warrant special care. Comixology, http://www.comixology.com, has helped me to save my collection by allowing me to read comics digitally.

Comixology has been around since 2007, but has really come onto the scene with a vengeance these last couple of years. I have to admit I am a gadget guy but I don’t have a lot of money to grab gadgets like iPads and that is what is so great about Comixology. There's actually an interface that allows you to read comics you buy over the web. If that were not awesome by itself you can also download and read purchased comics on mobile apps for iPad, iPhone and Android. So you never have to be without reading material of some kind.

Also having very little disposable income, these comics are for the most part very affordable. Anywhere from free to $20 dollars. The free comics are usually the first issue to get you started on a series or small stories to introduce you to characters while the $20 ones are usually full-blown graphic novels. Now for that price you have a lot of choice.

Marvel and DC both have their own apps but they use the Comixology engine and you can only access your comics on the web through the Comixology site. Also I don’t think there is a publisher out there that doesn’t have some offering from their catalog. IDW, Dark Horse, Devil’s Due, Image and Dynamite are some of the big names they offer as well as family-friendly imprints like Archie.

Now there are some drawbacks. For me I like paper. I like the feel of the book in my hands and the smell of a freshly minted issue. Still there are times when a cover catches my eye and I would like to check it out and the digital download allows me to do that without too much hassle and cost. So if it turns out to be a stinker I’m not out too much. However if it turns out great I can always go buy a copy and it can go straight into my collection, mint as the day I bought it. And who knows one day when it’s raining and the power goes out, I can drag it out of my boxes and have a good read.

Now one other thing to point out -- while they seem to constantly put out bygone collections of issues to give the readers a taste of the great history of their favorite comic book characters, their old collections are woefully incomplete. I have eclectic tastes in comic books and I can guarantee you that there will probably never be digital versions of Power Pack(which I loved as a kid and are cherished and well taken care of) or little known titles like ‘The Nam’ or Nth Man. If I were a real fan boy, I wouldn’t have a problem since fan boy favorites tend to be the go to titles for the big boys. So check it out and who knows? If you are an enterprising young comic book artist or writer, I may be downloading your comics in the future.