Comixology: comics digital style

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 30th July 2013.

I’ve always loved comics. As a kid, I’d arrive at the bus stop early and browse the comic racks at the newsagency. Each week I’d receive my allowance and put aside just enough money to purchase a comic, which I would read on my way to school and reread on the return journey. I would then file the comic safely away in a shoebox where I presumed it would stay for years under my bed until it became valuable. What I didn’t know at the time was that the price the newsagent scribbled on the front cover in black marker rendered the comic worthless then and forever.

A couple of years ago, I found myself in a financial position (pre-mortgage, of course) that allowed me to have the latest comics delivered weekly from a specialist store in Sydney. Every Friday, I’d receive a package of crisp, mint condition books. I’d carefully read them before they were sealed inside acid free bags and then transferred to a comic storage box where I presumed they would stay for years in my spare room until they became valuable. What I didn’t know at the time was that there are thousands and thousands of nerds around the world doing exactly the same thing and that the vast majority of comics decrease in value over time. Only limited condition covers and pristine first editions are worth collecting.

Several thousands of dollars later, I realised that what I actually enjoyed was following the adventures of Batman, Superman and other superheroes with their underwear on the outside, not the actual physical act of collecting comics. And that’s why I’m now hooked on the Comics iPad app by Comixology.

Comixology is a platform for purchasing, reading and collecting digital comics. Both DC and Marvel sell digital editions of their printed products, as well as digital exclusive titles, through Comixology. Many major independent publishers also participate. Once you buy a comic, it stays in your virtual collection forever and is accessible via multiple devices (smartphone, tablet and PC). Actually, similar to music collections on iTunes, you are only licensing the comics for your own personal use until you die. You can’t bequeath your comic collection to anyone else.

One of the great features of the Comixology platform is the patent pending “guided view” technology, which allows the reader to follow the action panel by panel, replicating the normal action of the eye when reading a printed comic page. Both golden age and brand new comics look great in HD.

At the moment I am thoroughly enjoying The X-Files Season 10, which sees Mulder and Scully continuing to search for the truth following the events of the final episode of the TV series. I’m also keen on the ongoing adventures of the new movie universe USS Enterprise crew in Star Trek. The Walking Dead remains a perennial favourite. I’ve also just discovered Batman ’66 which continues the campy trials and tribulations of the Adam West caped crusader universe. Holy priceless collection of Etruscan snoods!

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Published in: on September 11, 2013 at 00:15  Leave a Comment  
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Blu-ray Combo Packs: would you like fries with that?

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 10th July 2012.

There’s a trend now to release films in combo packs. That’s a blu-ray disc, DVD and digital copy of the same movie in the same package. Why would I want three copies of a film in three different formats? If I own a blu-ray player and have the capability to enjoy a film at home in glorious high definition, why would I want to watch it on my phone or in inferior DVD?

Blu-ray owners seem to be the hardest hit by these packages, which are more expensive than a standard edition. It is worse for 3D blu-ray owners who have to pay even more for a four disc combo. I understand that this may be appropriate for kiddie films so you can have a copy for the kids or the car but the majority of these combos are for adult oriented flicks. My suggestion to thrifty blu-ray owners is to find a friend who owns a DVD player only and someone who likes to watch movies on their iPad and split the cost of the combo three ways.

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 10:35  Leave a Comment  
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