Digital content versus Tangible products or Digital Comics vs Paper Comics

Digital is here, I utilize it; but it is, I believe, a shorter attention span model.

And I know it is a controlled model. It requires power. It can be designed to stop working after so many views, or to delete, or to only work on certain platforms.

So in many ways Digital is a very transitory model, and as someone who is very cognizant of Film being a medium where thousands upon thousands of films were destroyed by shortsighted producers, or the fleeting manias of political tyrannies, I’m really concerned about the… centralization of knowledge or art. Digital is great as a storage medium, but that greatness becomes a liability when the argument becomes centralized or one point access to content.

I don’t trust producers, studios of any medium. Because they will burn their history if they think it no longer makes them money. They’ve done it.

So with digital, the only way it effectively works with me, is in a diversified platform. But more and more companies are trying to push a centralized model, where you own physically nothing. Where everything must be pulled, your movies, your books, your music, your comics from one central location.

And ultimately what amounts to the culture of a world under the lock and key dominion of a few, could potentially be a dangerous thing.

I think we’re years away from such a dystopian model, but we are on the road to it if not watched and acted upon, by people of conscience… and vision.

So digital is a wonderful storage/backup medium, but I don’t see it as a control model or as a replacement for the concept of private ownership.

I still believe in 35 and 70mm film(see my review on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm, HDTV can’t touch it), in old albums, and dusty books, and art books with pages that smell of better worlds. I believe in DVD commentaries, and the art on great laserdisc jacket, or album cover.

And I believe in these pieces of paper we call comic books.

Sitting back with a comic or a book, is about a languid Sunday afternoon, about relaxation or rainy evenings. I get the sense the digital model, curled around your ipod or ipad or Android or laptop, is more an on the go, just give it to me real quick so i can say I’ve seen it, experience. I like the easy languid, no AC required ease, of a comic on a lazy afternoon. And just visiting a good book, and reading the letter pages, looking at the cover or certain panels, enjoying the backmatter, I really don’t see digital lending itself to that tactile, casual browsing. It’s the difference between how you relate to Albums/CDs and how you relate to Itunes.

When my generation was coming up, we knew the album cover, the liner notes, the lyrics, looking over that tactile packaging while listening and to some extent ingraining a great song into you, is a type of attention and devotion that I don’t think you’re going to get in the mix and mingle, new, new, new, just give me the song, itunes experience. You lose this shared conversation and discussion. The cultural conversation that my generation shares, throughout most of the English speaking world, we all grew up with certain constants, certain touchstones, that are lost in a 500 channel, on demand, view it when you like, society, People can be on the same block, and never watch, or be aware of the same show. And I see digital comics being part of that disassociation from that larger conversation.

So embrace digital, but don’t lose sight of the difference between renting and owning, and rights once relinquished being a hard thing to regain. I see digital being for things you want to view, and tangible being for things you want to keep and own and enjoy, and the pricing structure should reflect this, with digital being substantially less than a physical product.

Something to think on.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: On DC Comics New york Comic Con 2010 News! Zuda Comics and Milestone comics! Price changes and more! Pt 1 of 2! « Heroic Times

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