Digital vs Physical: Comic Books

This is going to be a reoccurring subject; reviewing my opinion on the benefits and dis-advantages of digital vs physical media types.

My first comic book that I received was an issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I had picked it from the shelves of an Albertson’s [grocery store] while my mother shopped for weekly needs. The anthropomorphic reptiles were not new to me, as I had seen the movies, cartoon, video games, and numerous action figure cars.

When I flipped through the pages these were not quite the same characters that I had previously known. My eyes darted around the pages and seeing a level of violence, as a sai pierced a foot solider, that I had not previously associated with these half shell heroes. I quickly flipped through, as I experienced an unforgettable feeling of each turned page between my fingers.

Before I knew it, I was done. Sitting, crossed legged on the floor, clutching the comic in my hand. I knew that I wanted to take this home. I thumbed through a few other comics, and found that no that grabbed me the way this single issue had. It had been a random issue not a first in the series, I had no context for the underlying story arc but I still was pulled into it. My mother finally came to collect me before she checked out and she placed the comic in the cart.

Years later, I had more than a handful of comics. I was hooked and it started my enthusiastic relationship with all masked super powered heroes. The biggest issue [pun intended] that I faced with comics is that I found it too easy to miss that MOST important comic needed to complete a story arc. Leaving you with questions and being forced to draw your own conclusions to fill in the blanks.

Today, you have an alternative, read comic books online or digitally. Never miss out on an issue, find back dated comics to complete a collection. You do not have to track down and locate your nearest nerdom sanctuary/comic shop. Just click the next issue (purchase it or have a subscription) and continue reading. This is solely how I accomplished catching up and staying current on The Walking Dead comics when I became hooked. I also went back and ready so many stories that I had missed so many issues that I could not longer follow along (House of M, Marvel Zombies, One Day More).

So I have a great appreciation for digital comics for this reason, being so readily available. While at the same time I struggled getting as engulfed into a reading session without the reward of feeling the page as you turned it, seeing how many pages you were into the story, feeling the dread of only having 10 pages left. All these were amplified when reading them physically.

A time came when I found that there was almost something that completely bridged the gap for me. It was the paper back collections of story arcs compiled into graphic novels. While this hobby of collecting them can get expensive, I felt confident that I was getting the complete story that I was looking for; while getting the reward having the physicality of the book itself. This was the pinnacle of comics stories for me.

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