The latest instalment in our series ‘why I love digital comics’ comes from Australian comics blogger Joe Malloy who is wrestling with his love of digital and his desire to read a great comic book letters page at the same time!
So what is it that I love about digital comics. Well, this might sound strange from a guy who is writing on a website about the subject, but I actually hate comics. Or rather, I hate what most people regard as comic books.
I hate those thin, spineless floppy pamphlets that are commonly referred to as comics. I hate that they cost too damn much and that after paying through the nose for them they are stuffed with ads. Ads that drive me wild as they ruin the flow of the story and disrupt the art. Ads that aren’t even for X-ray specs and Charles Atlas catalogues any more.
And what am I supposed to do once I’ve read them? Bag and board and bung them in the garage to gather dust?
So I read trade paper backs and graphic novels, and I have a blog where I write about them. Because I am, at least in theory, a comic fan. But there are times when I feel as though I am missing out on the raw essence of comic books, that I have wandered too far from their pulpy news-stand roots and managed to avoid the point of them in the first place. Weren’t comics supposed to be accessible and quick and cheap and almost but not quite disposable?
And though I am loath to admit this publicly, there are times when I feel like reading a letters page.
“If only there was a way I could buy and read comics quickly and cheaply without resorting to the dreaded floppy?”
Digital comics have been around for a while now but I’d tried to read a few on my computer screen and failed to enjoy the process. As I didn’t have any other need for a tablet, it felt like an expensive experiment for my already expensive habit. But I could feel the lure of digital comics, lurking somewhere out of reach of my tablet-less hands. I heard people rave about reading on their iPads, how easy ComiXology was and how good the books coming out through MonkeyBrain were. But none of it was quite enough.
What it took was for a powerful creative team to combine their forces for a utopian vision of where digital comics could take us. The creators of course were Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin and their comic is The Private Eye. A glorious look at a future without the Internet which is delivered to the reader via the web.
Martin and BKV own and publish everything themselves, and you pay what you think an issue is worth, (and whatever that is, double it. This comic is astounding) and God bless them they have a letters page.
This might be the digital comics future. Or at least one of them. Where creators can create art and I can pay them and I don’t have to read bloody ads for things I won’t buy.
So maybe I do love comics after all.
Joe Molloy lives in Melbourne, Australia by way of New Zealand. There he roasts coffee, writes about comics at www.joeblogscomics.com and struggles to learn Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. He tweets @josephjmolloy and has been known to combine reading comics with drinking beer.