Friday, March 30, 2007


This posting is in response to Doug Wolk's excellent essay in his column on this week's issue of 52 (#47).

One aspect of digital comics downloading that Doug neglects to consider is the fact that it may actually lead to the reader grabbing a physical copy of said book, if ever they come across it in the back issue boxes (for a reasonable price). The same can be said for trade paperbacks or hardcover collections of previously published material. For instance, I just recently picked up a copy of DC Comics Presents #85 featuring Superman (duh) and Swamp Thing as written by Alan Moore. It was in a 50 cent box, and slightly cover damaged, but after reading that story in one of the Swamp Thing trades, I sure as hell wasn't going to let it slip through my fingers.

Often, it even goes the other way...since, as Doug mentioned, comics are collectible artifacts, with extremely old issues becoming more and more rare, and thus more and more costly after-market, some people will go to great lengths in order to not further damage the old copies of books that they own.
Recently, I came into posession of a well-preserved copy of Flash vol.1 #151 from March 1965, which features the third DCU appearance of The Shade, as well as a crossover between the Jay Garrick and Barry Allen Flashes. I cherish this book. I always will. But there's no way in hell that I'll ever touch it with my grubby little hands. And that's where digital comics preservation comes in. It enables me to read and enjoy this issue (even the ads!) without damaging the value, collectibility, or durability of the book in my posession. If I ever find a copy in a bargain bin, you can be sure that I'll grab it as a reading copy, but for now, DCP will have to suffice.

As an interesting aside, this issue hasn't yet been collected in DC Archives format. However, it's very difficult to determine exactly which issues have been collected in the DC Archives, as even the solicitations on the DC homepage don't tell you what issues are contained within (with a few exceptions).

If the comics giants are actually concerned as to the proliferation of internet comics sharing (they aren't - at least not to any great extent - as far as I'm aware), getting the Archive editions into print as quickly as possible would be a very good way to combat it. Also, it wouldn't be too hard for them to actually let us know exactly which issues have already been collected.

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