It’s never been a better time to read comics. And if you don’t think that, then you can’t argue it’s never been easier to get access to them. Let me tell you something I love; digital reading. I know that a lot of people want what they call “the real book,” as I hear so often working in the library (we have a digital service.) I know that it’s hard for a lot of people not to have the physical copy in their hands, to feel the pages turning. But you know what my philosophy has become? I don’t care how I get the story, as long as I get it.
There was a time I wouldn’t have been so pro digital comics. Not that I would be against them, I just wouldn’t care. And, diving into that world probably would have been a little scary for me. But you know what makes it oh so worth it to dive into? The fact that you can pretty much find anything. Sure, I might have been able to read Lucky Luke for example, after lots of looking and waiting, but it was right at my finger tips when I was looking for it. This is the magic of a little thing app/website calledComixology. If you read comics, you probably already know about Comixology. And boy is it great. There are just so many books available. I mean, so many books. It’s a little overwhelming and a whole lot exciting.
The greatest thing about Comixology is that, through this service, I can find comics that I wouldn’t find anywhere else, new and old. A comic book store can’t hold every title on Earth, that would be impossible. So pretty frequently I find comics through Comixology that I’ve never heard of, and are somewhat obscure. And you know how much I love obscurity. But this also works for those small press people out there self publishing. You, yes YOU can get your comic on this site one day. And then everyone in the world (that uses it) can read it! Isn’t that exciting? It opens up new doors for every single creator with the drive to pursue this option. There are a lot of titles I find on Comixology that are published by indie companies and cartoonists that I literally never would have found without the Internet. The only problem is, if I follow through with all of the books that interest me, I’ll be broke!
But hey, here’s something neat on Comixology that is a bit cheaper: Comixology Unlimited. Pay six bucks a month (I believe) and you have access to a bunch of titles that you can check out, read, and turn back in at your convenience. This has already paid for itself as I borrowed quite a lot of material by Peter Bagge. I mean, it’s pretty incredible. Not everything is on Unlimited. But, you might just find something that interests you and turns out to be your new jam! And what’s the risk? You don’t like it, you can stop, and then read a bunch of other things that come to way more than six dollars! Isn’t this just wonderful?
And if you don’t feel like spending any money at all, why should you? I can’t speak for every library out there, but a lot of us are connected to digital libraries. The one I use is called Hoopla. Connect with a library card, and you get access to all sorts of free digital material! I’m not sure how many books I’ve read using Hoopla, but I’ll put it somewhere around the “HOT DAMN!” mark. It’s through this service that I’m hip deep in the Mignolaverse. I had read some Hellboy in my time, but was always nervous to dive in. Plus, with all those books, it would be soooo expensive. Then I found all of it on Hoopla, and am about 30 books in. I mean that alone has saved me how much money? Those are totally worth buying someday, but for now, I gotta scrimp!
Without this service, I would miss out on the chance to dive into a lot of great titles. Because of the convenience of being on a computer, tablet, or even a phone when I’m in the passenger seat with nothing to do, I’ve delved into things I’ve meant to for a long time. Hellboy, the Goon, Southern Bastards to name a few and I started my Spawn voyage this week. All because they are available to me easier than ever, for free, and because I’m carrying hundreds of pages around on one device.
Look, I still love physical books. There’s nothing like holding your own printed comic in your hand. But in terms of depth and width, my reading has only gotten bigger. There are titles available to me now that help me see the scope of what comics are capable of, while teaching me how to make them better on my own. You may not like it at first, but it is the way of the future, and it is, more than anything, convenient.
I mean, 2017 has been a pretty rough year. But, when I got the itch to read Simpsons comics (can you tell I’m a fan?) in the middle of the night a week or so ago, and pulled out my phone, found the app, and started reading within minutes, well I suppose it’s not all so bad, is it?
If you love comics, want to find more, or want to get them easier, have a look at the digital world. It’s never been a better time for us nerds.