Why Infinite Comics Are Good
There is an article on ROBOT 6 by Carla Hoffman that I think brilliantly and succinctly sums up the feelings about digital comics expressed my many die-hard print comic fans.
“I considered you gimmicky and fake.”
The word “fake” jumped out at me. As if comics that exist in any format, from any source, other than a Direct Market, print, periodical are somehow invalid.
It doesn’t seem to matter to many mainstream comic fans that popular webcomics have been running for over a decade or that that they’ve topped the New York Times bestsellers list. It isn’t relevant that well-known, print comic writers and artists have been successfully pushing the digital storytelling envelope for years or even that mainstream print publishers themselves sponsored digital publishing initiatives.
It didn’t matter.
For many Direct Market comic fans, digital comics only existed as a mirror to print. In fact, the overwhelmingly vast majority of “digital comics” available by many comic publishers are print comics reformatted for digital distribution. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing! Digital distribution makes a rich library of comics immediately available to everyone, everywhere. Always open. Never sold out. However, digital distribution isn’t digital publishing.
This is exactly why Marvel’s latest push toward original, digital publishing is important for the larger comics industry. It’s not because Marvel is the first to make digital comics or because they’ve pioneered some new form of digital storytelling. It’s because Marvel is acknowledging in a very big, public way that making a digital comic is distinctly different from distributing a print comic digitally. For many fans, including Hoffman, this is a revelation.
“from a singular reader’s view, someone who was admittedly afraid of the future and who had dug in her heels at every opportunity, I can tell you that the new Infinite Comic is pretty much the future of digital comics,”
Perhaps a bit overly enthusiastic. Time will tell. The point remains that Infinite Comics will be exposing Marvel’s considerable fan base to the idea that comics can be more than the Direct Market and digital distribution.
It’s a message that’s been a long time coming. Now that it’s here it has a chance to resonate with a lot of comic fans, exposing them to a wider world of comics beyond the printed page.