DC Comics Goes Digital

Big news: DC Comics has launched a digital comics program, starting with the iPad/iPhone and the Playstation network.

And by launched, I mean launched. As in, you can download the app and buy comics right now.

I’m really looking forward to the day when they expand this to more platforms (desktop PCs, Android and Windows–based tablets, etc) and start reaching into their back catalog. I’ve griped about the lack of Golden Age Flash reprints before, and the Bronze Age is also virtually invisible in reprints (though at least with comics from the 1970s and 1980s, you can usually find the back-issues at a reasonable price).

I haven’t had time to read all the interviews, but I’ll definitely be reading them tonight:

With Jim Lee so heavily involved in this project, I can’t help but think of a moment at WonderCon this year. Saturday was the day of the iPad launch, and the Apple Store in San Francisco is just a few blocks from the convention center. Jim Lee was conspicuously missing from the DC Editorial panel. He showed up partway through the panel and stood in the Q&A line, where he planted a few questions…and then pulled out the brand-new iPad that he had stood in line for that morning!

Sadly, judging by ComiXology’s new releases, DC hasn’t brought Flash to the iPad just yet. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Update: Comics Alliance has another article I won’t have time to read just yet, on why this is a big deal.

Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings


11 thoughts on “DC Comics Goes Digital

  1. Michael

    is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    for me, for the OLD stuff, its good… but the new stuff, i’m not so sure. print is definitely in trouble…. i may end up out of comics altogether at this rate…

    i like holding and turning the pages of my comics… not the same as reading it on a battery powered screen…

  2. Kyer

    So this is why they…
    Okay, this is likely going to be the death knell for a lot of small business who are already struggling. Plus, not all of us own those machines, can afford to pay hundreds for one, or pay for the high-speed internet that will be necessary to download anything anyway. Times are tough right now. People are downsizing.

    Then there is the matter of having to remember to backup your copy. If this is like Amazon, there is no guarantee that they won’t enter your system the next time you log on and delete prior purchases because someone decided they shouldn’t sell that after all. Yeah, you should get your money back.

    Somehow, paying 3.99 for a comic seems a lot cheaper than purchasing and *maintaining* an electronic device and subscriptions.

    Plus…how the heck would you view a splash page? In sections?

  3. Kelson Post author

    I suspect print will survive or die on its own merits, whether digital catches on or not. For that matter, if monthly print comics do die, digital distribution will probably be the main way comics survive.

    In the bigger picture view, it’s about more than just the iPad and who has one today. There are tablets based on Windows and Android, and there will be more. 5 years ago, hardly anyone had a smartphone. Now, iPhones and Android phones are all over the place. Plus there are dedicated eBook readers, desktop and notebook computers, etc.

    I agree that there are problems to be addressed. Who effectively owns that digital copy is the big one.

    But the cost of the device isn’t a major issue, IMO, because people aren’t buying iPads in order to read comics. They’re buying iPads so they can have a spiffy handheld computer. Basically, DC and ComiXology are targeting this program to people who already have the devices, and if it works out, they’d be fools not to expand it.

    1. Kyer

      Uh huh. Maybe the cost isn’t a major issue for many. I’m more interested in a roof over my head as the first priority than having the latest cool toys. -_-;;

      Of course, if Geoff makes this new Flash series as gory as his other modern day works…it’s moot for me anyway.

  4. West3man

    As I said in my email, telling our RideTheLightning buds about this, an iPad is not necessary AT all to read the DC content. A pc or Mac browser works just fine.

    So you could probably use the same device you typed your post on to view those comics.

    And the savings from buying digital versus print comics could help pay for that iPad, anyway, depending on how many comics you buy per year while keeping that roof over your head.

    1. Kyer

      Now I’m really confused.
      I went to Apple/iTunes and clicked on the iBooks link. There it states it is for iPhones and iPad. No mention of Mac and no download link that I could find. The three reviews were also not encouraging. Will have to wait and see where this ends up.
      Even with the money, I have no use for an iPad as I don’t travel anywhere save for work and they don’t allow electronics in there save for keeping your cell phone in shared lockers that don’t have the best of ‘locks’.

      If this was available to download on Mac AND the size of a download was under 5MB for a comic AND I can download a couple of preview pages first to find out what the violence content is like… I’ll think of trying it for those stories I know will feature the Scarlet Speedster.

      *sigh* We’ll see. Maybe prices will go down and my workplace won’t go under. Being able to enlarge font size would be a definite plus on days when my eyes are bad.

      1. Kelson Post author

        It takes some searching, but there’s a web-based viewer at comics.comixology.com. I’m told it’s in beta, which is why it’s not easy to find, but it’s mentioned on the page for the iPhone/iPad app, and apparently they’ve been promoting it on Twitter. There are a few free comics, like the extended Superman #700 preview and the Batman: Black and White books. I tried it out, and while it’s not perfect (and it is a web app, so probably not great for slow or intermittent connections), it’s certainly better than the overblown “watch as we turn the pages just like it was a real magazine” viewer that Comic-Con Magazine is set up with.

        1. Kyer

          lol, thanks.
          And for sharing that, I let you in on a scoop: Was in the local Target today and they are selling Flash men’s briefs in stunning red and yellow. Now aren’t those better than a silly electonic book? Don’t everybody rush out at once. ;P

  5. Mr Maczaps

    right now is a prime example to have a paper comic… its pouring rain and my internet has been off & on… when that happens, i put down the computer and read comics… but i got an alert to say i was connected and came back to post this. heh.


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