Friday, December 19, 2014

Why I prefer to collect comic books rather than download digitally

Why I prefer to collect comic books rather than download digitally
by rick olivares

Paper or digital?

That discussion or even debate frequently crops up in comic shops or fora talk these days and that concern is also relatable to many print publications today.

It is entirely possible that digital will eventually take over x number of years from now depending on the availability of paper but for now let’s dissect to the heart of the matter.

I prefer to collect print comics because…

I like to physically have them in my collection.
I like to be able to hold what I buy. I like having the feel of a page underneath my fingertips. I like having things in my collection. Reading a print comic book is like going to the museum; you get to admire everything about the book. Plus, there’s something about the smell of newly printed books.

I like getting the full experience.
Let me get this out of the way. I have purchased a few comics online just to check it out for myself. I will have to admit that the colors are more vibrant and they make for cool wallpapers for my laptop. Storing it is easy and you can pull it out anywhere handily. However, there’s something incomplete about reading a comic digitally. I feel like you don’t get the full experience.

In the 32-pages of a comic book (including all the other pages), aside from the story, there is a sense of community from the comic book ads to related paraphernalia such as comic book themed shirts to the letters section where fans got to interact with the creators or the editorial staff. Conversely, there isn’t anything fun or intelligent discussing matters with fans in various fora where they hide behind alternicks and can wreak havoc with malicious and senseless diatribes.

I like buying a comic book in a shop where I get to interact with the proprietors and other patrons. I love the exchange of ideas and opinions. And that rush of excitement! Remember when X-Men #1, Crisis On Infinite Earths, or Kingdom Come was first released? There’s that sense of anticipation. A wave of excitement that engulfs you as you and everyone else waits outside. Then when you hold the book in your hands, the wonder you feel is beyond words.

It’s like going to a live sporting match where you see everything and feel the atmosphere around you. You get no such feeling watching it digitally. Being physically present at the Great Lawn on September 24, 2003 for the live recording of the Dave Matthews Bands' The Central Park Concert was an exhilarating feeling. I was able to interact with many of the fans who sang along, clapped, and roared with every song. On the way home, it was like we were all a part of something historic. We lived that moment.

I love the thrill of the hunt.
I always thought that hunting down back issues or titles that ran out (before it was okay to reserve comics) was a sign of getting one’s hands dirty for grunt work. When you finally laid hands on that issue that you missed there was this sense of relief where I'd go: “Aha! I got it. Finally!” And you treasured it and still do (unless you’ve changed your habits).

I equate that to journalistic practices where I physically go out and hunt for a story as opposed to stealing other people’s works online (and there are many). Maybe it’s because I am from an older generation that was taught to research and use my brain to think on how best to get answers to questions.

I would like to be very clear. I am not saying that everyone stop downloading now and go rush to the shop. No. It’s really up to you.

However there are also questions that beg to be answered.

Are digital devices really environmentally safe as opposed to comic books that further cut down on our trees?

In an article by Simon Hill in, He wrote: “The vast majority of our smartphones and tablets are manufactured from parts made in the Far East. Mining the raw materials and the manufacturing process use up a great deal of energy, and most of it is produced by burning fossil fuels.”

Furthermore, these gadgets actually require a lot more power to maintain.

Hill ended by saying that “If you’re really concerned about staying green when it comes to your mobile tech then the most effective action you can take is to avoid upgrading when you don’t need to. If you do upgrade, then you could choose a more eco-friendly smartphone, and you should always at least make sure that you recycle your old phone. Don’t just throw it in the bin. You can re-sell it, hand it down to a friend or relative, or send it to a recycling facility.”

“To be honest the mobile industry is far from green right now. The only thing that’s really likely to encourage it in the right direction is buying decisions from consumers, but are you willing to trade a big touchscreen and the latest zippy specs for something that’s more ethically sound?”

Lastly, I want to the creators and the companies to earn their monies. Downloads, illegal ones do not help the industry one bit and only put creators and companies out of work.

Do I think the paper comic book go away?

Nope. Everyone thought the vinyl record and compact disc will have gone the way of the dinosaur but they remain and are still a strong industry (just not what it once was). So I figure comic books and its paperback and magazine siblings will still be around. And that suits me just fine.

In a few years’ time, I’d probably not have a collection but a library.

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