Digital comics

Everything you need to know about digital comics

Comics. If you are of a certain age, you might remember their ubiquity, as they were sold in supermarkets, bodegas and newsstands. If you’re a little younger you might remember comics like those periodicals that exist in dedicated stores or as paperbacks in Barnes & Noble. Sadly, neither comic book stores nor Barnes & Noble are as mainstream as they were just a few years ago; instead, we suggest you turn on a PC, smartphone or tablet and dive into the exciting and practical world of digital comics.

What are digital comics?

Digital comics are, well, electronic comics. The term digital comic is a surprisingly broad umbrella that covers digital versions of print titles and original digital titles, such as Immortal hulk and Batman ’66, respectively. If you’re looking for web comics (comics posted to websites, often for free), check out our Best Web Comics feature. Although these are also digital comics!

The new digital comics go on sale on the same date as their print counterparts. Going digital means never having to walk into a store to find that a highly anticipated book is out of print. In this sense, digital comics are more reliable than printed books. Plus, a digital title like Dynamite’s Tree even includes bonus material not found in the print version.

Still, that doesn’t mean digital is the perfect way to shop. For example, you won’t find highly sought after cover variations that are exclusive to comic book stores. Also, you can’t ask a favorite creator to sign your digital comic at San Diego Comic-Con or New York Comic Con.

Which publishers offer digital comics?

DC, Dark Horse, Dynamite, IDW, Image, Lion Forge, Marvel, Valiant and many other publishers large and small offer digital comics, either through their own services or through a global platform like Comixology.

How does the selection of digital comics go?

If you’re looking to jump into a comic book, graphic novel, paperback, or series that has been published within the last decade or so, there’s a good chance you’ll find what you’re looking for in the digital space. In fact, publishers have made great strides in filling in the gaps in the catalog. Marvel, for example, now has the famous (or is it infamous?) Secret Wars II limited series, a title that represented a notable catalog hole for some time. If superheroes aren’t your thing, or if your love of comics extends beyond capes and tights, you can also find sci-fi, relationship, horror, and comics. of comedy.

One of the most underrated aspects of a digital comic book store like Comixology is the opportunity it gives readers to explore the history of the medium. You can find Action comics # 1 (the beginnings of Superman), Amazing fantasy # 15 (Spider-Man’s first appearance) and other superhero titles for less than a cup of Starbucks Joe. With that said, Comixology and other digital comic book stores only offer comic book splashes from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, such as Two-armed child, American comics, and Young Romance. This, however, may be due to the challenge of obtaining the source files.

digital comics

How to read digital comics?

Tablets are the best way to read your favorite titles because of their comic book-like dimensions, but smartphones and web browsers can do the job, too. Fortunately, there are plenty of free and paid desktop, Android, and iPad digital comic readers out there. Most are stand-alone apps that let you flip through the pages of your favorite DRM-free titles (often with panel-by-panel playback modes designed for mobile devices), but a few like Comixology, Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel have built-in stores that allow you to buy digital comics anywhere your device can pick up a wireless signal. Don’t do this in a comic book store with a manager nearby. Believe me on that one. Believe me.

Please note that Comixology’s iOS app, known simply as Comics, no longer allows you to purchase digital comics in the app in order to avoid reducing Apple’s profits. If you are using an iPhone or iPad, you must make a purchase through the Comixology online store. There is no such problem with the Android Comixology app.

In 2014, many prominent comic book publishers switched to DRM-free digital comics – DC and Marvel are the two big exceptions. As a result, you can read Return to Brooklyn or almost any other digital comic in your player of choice; you are not locked into any particular application.

You can even find digital comics in unlikely places, one of the most impressive being Spotify. Yes, this Spotify. The popular streaming music service has struck a deal with Madefire to offer Archie animated comics. Fully dubbed comics are available for both free and paid Spotify members.

digital comics

How much do digital comics cost?

Digital comics, for the most part, cost the same as physical numbers, at least for new ones. Most books from the big houses fall in the price range of $ 1.99 to $ 3.99, which is comparable to the prices of printed comics. For example, Comixology sells the Death blow series for $ 3.99, the same price as the paper version. Graphic novels and digitized paperbacks will, of course, command more loot.

That said, digital collections sometimes cost less than their paper counterparts. Top Shelf publisher sells digital versions of its graphic novels for a few dollars less than their print counterparts. For example, Chester 5000 costs $ 7.99 as a digital file, but $ 14.95 as a physical book.

Marvel also offers an unlimited read model: Marvel Unlimited. The $ 9.99 per month service lets you read as much Marvel as your eyes can take. The only catch is that Marvel Unlimited’s library is months behind what you’ll find in Comixology or a comic book store. So if you want the newest Captain America problem, you will have to buy it elsewhere. Still, Marvel Unlimited is a great way to deal with over half a century of old issues!

Likewise, Comixology offers a digital comic book subscription service. Comixology Unlimited lets you read over 10,000 comics from various publishers, including DC and Marvel. Comixology Unlimited is invaluable to US readers (it should be rolled out to other regions in the future), as the service allows you to explore new titles with little financial risk. Unfortunately, Comixology Unlimited primarily lets you delve into select titles, usually ones that are good starting points for new readers.

Why do digital comics cost the same as printed comics?

You’re probably wondering why (aside from Marvel Unlimited and the freebies) digital comics cost the same as printed comics, given the lack of paper and ink. This is an excellent question.

Publishers often have staff dedicated solely to converting comics from print to digital. In the case of Image Comics in particular, books must support a variety of formats including PDF, ePub, CBR / CBZ, and the Comixology format, which requires maintenance, tracking, and uploading of files to various tape markets. digitally drawn.

There’s another reason digital comics cost the same as print: Publishers don’t want to underestimate themselves or the comic book stores they rely on for real-world distribution. . On the bright side, digital comics lack advertisements.

The last word (balloon) on digital comics

And that, true believers, is all you need to know about digital comics. Be sure to check out The Technology Behind Your Favorite Comics.