Monday, February 8, 2010

Can Digital Comics Finally Go Mainstream?

As a big fan of comic books and graphic novels, I have been patiently waiting for the medium to finally expand beyond print and into electronic distribution.  I'm not just talking about Webcomics (although their growing popularity was made clear to me when a blog entry I wrote about the best Webcomics generated the most hits my blog has ever seen). I'm talking about comic books that are printed on paper and distributed through traditional publishers.  Some efforts have been made to enter the digital comic book realm (I've supported MAD Magazine and Marvel Comics when they released many of their back-issues in DVD-ROM format), but so far it has only been experimentation with various levels of limited success.  Now there is hope that the digital comic book revolution may finally be here.

The blog Axiom's Edge drew my attention to the story with an article mentioning Panelfly's development of an application that will be part of Apple's iPad.  The popular blog Gizmodo also wrote about it.  I previously wrote that the tablet computer's biggest selling point, in my opinion, was its value as a next generation color, touchscreen electronic reader.  Imagine being able to purchase through iBooks (and other e-book vendors) beautiful, full-color, full-size digital versions of your favorite comic books, from the biggies developed by DC and Marvel to the broad range of independent comics and graphic novels.

The iPad won't be the only full-size e-reader on the market.  Amazon's recent purchase of a company that develops touchscreen technology indicates that it will likely evolve its successful Kindle e-reader into a touch-screen (and possibly color) version. 

All this bodes well for fans of comic book content.  Even though distribution methods might be on the verge of changing, comic book artists and writers will have more opportunity to reach bigger audiences for the amazing stories they have to tell.

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