Comic book purists who like their comics bagged, boarded, and boxed may disapprove, but there's no doubt that digital comics have revitalized the comic book industry these last few years as more and more people embrace the platform on their tablets. Below are just a few of the ways and reasons to go digital this year.
Where better to begin than with the biggest comic book store on iOS: Comixology. Featuring titles from DC and Marvel (sharing content from their respective apps), Valiant, Image, and a plethora of indie publishers - their thoughtful collections, frequent discounts, and generous giveaways are a great avenue for discovering new series and lesser-known works. Digital format is also often the only way to read out-of-print comic books or issues that would cost a fortune to purchase from online merchants.
Comics have often been thought of as a perfect medium between literature and cinema, and Comixology's Guided View technology only strengthens that idea. Delivering the content in a frame-by-frame format not only makes reading possible on smaller devices, but really builds suspense unlike anything comic readers will have previously experienced. Especially since there is no opportunity to have a cheeky peek at those bottom-of-the-page spoil-the-surprise panels.
Digital Exclusives and Innovation
Comixology showcases lots of digital exclusives each week, and the most successful of these has been Injustice; the weekly comic book version of the hit video game, at the low price of only $0.99 per issue. Being directly suited to the iPad screen ratio and featuring some truly memorable moments, Injustice has topped the charts each and every week, and will undoubtedly continue to do so when it returns in 2014. Furthermore, Marvel released Infinite Comics while DC released DC2; taking digital comics into another realm on the platform by literally blending the frames into one another and bringing a new sense of motion to the artwork. It really needs to be seen to be appreciated. A few titles that take advantage of this technique include Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted, Batman 66', Moth City, and The Bunker.
The next stage in the evolution of the comic book industry is now set, as DC and Marvel will soon release a series of digital comics that come complete with soundtracks that adapt to reading speed and serve to enhance the atmosphere during certain segments. The newly announced Arkham Origins comic will even feature multiple-choice story lines. With innovations like these, the way in which we read and experience comics will become even more immersive and personal.
Marvel launched their Unlimited service earlier this year, effectively introducing the Netflix of digital comics. By signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription, users gain access to over 50 years of back-catalogues - right up until the newest volumes of Marvel NOW!, as well as a host of collectibles, goodies, and exclusive deals. For anyone wanting to look into the history of their favorite Marvel character, the Unlimited service is the absolute best place to start.
2013 was a great year for comic book fans, and it was in no small part thanks to the success of digital comics. With printed comics now coming with digital redemption codes, it looks like they are here to stay. The original iPod revolutionized the way we listened to and carried our music, the iPhone revolutionized the way in which we used our phones, and now the iPad has done the same for how we read, collect, and organize our comic books. For anyone on the fence about starting their comic collection, there's no better time than now.