Digital Delivery – Thoughts on Downloading DC

So in case you hadn’t heard DC comics have decided they were going to reboot their entire universe. What’s that, you hadn’t heard? How? It’s been frickin’ everywhere. I even read a bit about it in the most recent issue of Take a Break for goodness sake!  As part of this DC also said they were going to start doing dual digital & paper release. Now I’ll admit I’m an old fashioned sort of guy & I like my comics to be old fashioned too, i.e. printed on paper. I also have a chronic phobia of Ents, so I like to think that comics help me conquer this fear by being made of the buggers in a roundabout way. You may think I’m just reading the latest adventures of Archie & Jughead, but no, secretly I’m laughing at the demise of more & more of those slow talking Godless mahogany bastards…

(OK, I’ll admit, it was a particularly heavy weekend, most of which I spent trying to figure out how to work my new phone – which is the height of technology & the rest of it sleeping on hay bales, which is the complete opposite. So I’m a little out of sorts. Bear with me people, I’m getting there.)

Anyway as part of my counselling to get over my fear of Tree Beard my therapist thinks it would be a good step for me to move away from buying so many paper comics & start buying digital ones instead. After much arguing last week we came to the conclusion that I should start this new stage in my counselling by buying 1 title & working my way up.

“Well that’s a huge coincidence!” I said.

“Why?” responded my Therapist with a quizzical look.

“Because DC are releasing their new 52 book reboot with Justice League #1 this very week & its being put out on dual delivery!”

“DC has a new reboot coming out?” My Therapist said looking shocked, “I hadn’t heard!”

“How could you not have known?” I said. Are you some sort of epic loser? There was even a bit in the most recent copy of Take a Break!

“But we only get Woman’s Own” said my Therapist tearfully, hurt by my words “All that’s full of is people complaining that DC comics don’t hire enough women writers & artists & that their credibility is suffering as a result.”

“But they don’t” I said, “And it is, & I’m sorry I called you an epic loser. You’re not real & I only made you up so this blog could have some context.”

“That’s alright” said my Therapist, “It was nice to exist, even if it was only to validate the ramblings of your idiotic mind.” & then she promptly disappeared in a puff of logic.

An Ent - Quite possibly on his way to tread on my house.

But anyway I digress (Quite unusual that. I never write blogs that go off on a tangent, not ever!). The end result of all this is that I reactivated my old Comixology account so that I could purchase comics & read them on my PC, something that I had never actually done before. Given that Comixology are an American site & I’m based in rainy old England I expected the process of setting up card details & purchasing comics to be a little more stressful than it actually was. As it turns out setting up the account & getting the comic was dangerously easy. In fact the process that I expected to take some time actually took a little over half a minute. With my new account set up I clicked on Justice League 1, paid my money (DC Comics – Rebooting the line at $3.99!) & waited for it to download. Well silly me. I didn’t have to “download” it. It was there already – On the screen in front of me like sequential porn but without the buffering!

While my musings on the issue itself are something for another time I found the viewer itself to be incredibly simple to use & it reproduced the images wonderfully. However for all its ease of use I still wasn’t overly impressed. I mean, buying a comic & then having to go to a particular website to read it never really made all that much sense to me. Surely that’s like buying a book but leaving it at the Library, & a library to which only you have the keys?!? Also, Sitting in my chair at my desk in front of my computer is nice, but it isn’t as comfortable as it is sitting in my bed reading my comics before I go to sleep. Also (& this is the major point for me) I don’t feel like I own this comic, at least not in a physical sense. I know it’s there for whenever I want to read it, but that means I have to go on to a computer & log in. With a physical comic I can put it in my bag or my pocket, neither of which necessitate the use of log ins or passwords.

Don’t get me wrong. I still like the idea of digital comics. There’s an entire back catalogue of books that I now have access too which I didn’t before & I can still read a title even if it’s sold out in the shops. Both of those are big pluses for me. But even the fact that I won’t get the print all over my fingers can’t sway me from my beloved floppies. I’ll be honest I wasn’t particularly enamoured & didn’t really see myself using digital delivery at this point.

“But what about the fact that Comixology have an app for the Android & IPhone?” said my Therapist.

“Oh you’ve popped back into existence have you?” I said.

“Of course I have” she said “How else did you expect to segue into the next paragraph without it sounding like a poorly constructed advert”

“Well” I said, “I thought I’d just get a poorly constructed character to do it for me instead.”

this isn't my phone, mine's better, but i needed a picture for context

So I logged onto my phone & after realising I didn’t have a clue how to actually buy apps yet I called my girlfriend into the room (She is real, promise) & asked her to help. A little while later I’d downloaded the Comixology app & was reading my newly purchased issue of Justice League 1 on my phone!!! Now comics on computer I can take or leave, but comics on my phone are a different matter. All my previous criticisms of logins & passwords are suddenly moot. & that library that only I have the keys too now suddenly fits in my pocket like a digital Tardis. To me this offers the promise of something way more interesting & given that the reader configured into the app is also ridiculously easy to use (as well as making the Dynamic Duo look pretty damn dynamic!) I have a horrible feeling that Comixology may manage to eke more cash out of me yet.

To the people in my local comic book shop though, don’t worry. I won’t be deserting you any time soon, promise.  :-)