Over the past decade, the print media and publishing market have changed in vast and numerous ways. With the introduction of the internet and e-book readers and the coinciding failure of the newspaper and magazine industry, the concept for indigestion of print media is evolving at a rapid speed. But while thousands flock to their Kindles, iPads and Android tablets to read the latest New York Times, Vanity Fair or Twilight novel, the comic book industry has been slightly slower in adopting its new digital face. Only in the last 4 years, we saw a significant change. Nonetheless, comic book collectors are faced with a quandary unlike many collectors before them – to continue collecting the graphic novel in its traditional form, or embrace the new digital comic.
On one hand, there is the hipster-purist, the comic-collector who finds it incomprehensible to think that a digital version of a comic even sniffs the tangible, artistic quality and glossy pages of a real comic book. To this crowd, part of the comic book experience is riding your mountain bike down to the local corner or comic book store and purchasing the latest edition of Detective Comis. Of course, with the allowance left over from that can of Sunkist from the vending machine. However, the purist comic book collector will also appreciate that the value of the print comic book, when kept in mint condition, can increase over time. The collection will be filled with tangible, physical items, that can be perused, admired and traded.
But, then again, there is the non-purist who is looking to enter into a wonderful world of over-the-top superheroes who defend the just against villains in a black-and-white world of good and evil. For the comic newbie (do not be ashamed – everyone was at one point), the digital version of the comic may be your best bet. It’s cheaper, more accessible, and easily stored. Also, you do not need to drive to your parent’s house and drag your old 10 speed out of the garage only to realize that the tires need to be pumped up. Downloading a comic book requires extreme minimal movement.
Digital comic books allow you to leisurely read over a bowl of cereal, without the worry that a drop of milk or a crinkle of the page will accidentally ruin your prized possession. However, as the item can be massed produced by manufacturers, and is stored as part of the memory on your computer or iPad, there is also no appreciable value to owning the comic book. Your collection will simply be a mass of files on a hard drive instead of something that can be admired like the physical comic collection.
If you are a comic collector, there is no question: print versions of comics are more valuable than the digital. Ultimately, comic book makers and sellers should not view digital comics as the newest super-villain, but rather, they should view the digital market as a brand new avenue for entrepreneurship. If you are looking for a true collection, look no further than the print media. But if you are simply looking to enjoy a good graphic story; the digital versions of comics can provide you with the best accessibility and greatest monetary value.