Are Print Comics On The Way Out?

ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
edited August 2009 in Graphic Violence
So I've been listening to the Webcomics Weekly Podcast for the last couple of weeks, and the guys on there have been non-stop in there ominous portents for the death of print comics to come in the next few years. I'm curious about your thoughts on this, because I think it's safe to assume that print will not completely die, but odds are the frequency in which it's used will probably change in the next couple of years.

Do you think the monthly periodical comic will be affected?

And what of Marvel/DC if they eventually jump online, how do you think this will affect the greater community of webcomics?

Personally, I see some small amount of danger when big money like that enters a scene that's (with few exceptions, such as this site) been mostly threadbare in terms of the overall money poured into creating content. We could see a time coming where all the issues of print comics (poor contracts, monopolies, and editorial humbuggery) find their way into the very open world of the internet. That's a bit sensationalist, but I'm curious about how you guys might respond this.

ScoobaShag on


  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    You might want to post your thoughts in this thread:

    Which is exactly about this topic: digital distribution of comics.

    Lucascraft on
  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    People have been saying print comics are dying for the past few decades. While the internet has changed the game a bit, I think it'll only be for the better.

    If I had to make a prediction, I'd say that within ten years monthly print comics will become a thing of the past, and they'll be available strictly through paid downloads. Maybe Marvel and DC will continue to offer subscriptions for their big titles. Trade paperback sales will continue to flourish and grow in major bookstore chains and Amazon, but the vast majority of direct market retailers who aren't supported by trading card games, toys, or some other merchandise will be forced to close.

    Munch on
  • DMACDMAC Moderator mod
    edited August 2009
    Ten years? I think it'll take longer than that to phase out print comics if it happens. For a lot of comic fans, it's as much about collecting the physical object as it is about art/story. That collectible element completely disappears once you switch to digital format.

    DMAC on
  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Maybe I underestimate the collector market.

    I know some people go for the variants and all that jazz, or buy multiple copies of a book to get the different covers, but I've always believed that portion of the comic buying populace wasn't representative of the whole, but rather a small, hardcore group.

    Munch on
  • ServoServo Registered User, ClubPA
    edited August 2009
    i think this is a bit like claiming the kindle is going to put print books out of business. it's possible over the long term, but i don't think it's very likely any time soon. print is such an entrenched media that it would take years for digital distribution to overcome the lead.

    not to mention i think print still has particular advantages that digital can't yet match. in particular, print is a physical guarantee of ownership- i bought comic x,y, or z and there's the proof right in my hand. it feels less ephemeral, not subject to loss from circumstances beyond my control, like server crashes or viruses or simply accidentally sending my reader through the washing machine. i think digital is going to need to overcome that feeling (for me, anyway) before i'd fully trust it.

    i think we can look to newspapers as an example of what might happen. people have long predicted the death of newspapers but it never quite manages to happen. certainly many papers have been hit exceedingly hard, but the way forward has been adaptation and integration of digital media, not elimination of print.

    Servo on
  • ScoobaShagScoobaShag Registered User
    edited August 2009
    Yeah, right now it seems impossible for digital distribution to match the fact that books are just more comfortable to read. The Kindle certainly provides an opportunity to come close to that, but it also has it's limitations considering that you would be forcing art shown on it (completely hypothetical now, I don't know if it can display pictures yet) to comply with the limitations of a single size screen. There's certainly a reason why many webcomics make print editions and forthmost is because people want them, either out of a collector's urge or because they'd just like to read it as a book instead.

    Personally, there's a web-comic called Rice-boy that I was reading but I'm not going to finish reading it online because I want to buy the book. The book's just going to be a more enjoyable experience.

    But i think before print dies, it might be more likely that the nature of print changes to better accustom itself with the digital age. Sounds strange, but we might see more things in line with "LED Paper" or a kindle that better emulates a book than what we have right now. Because eventually, print companies will change themselves to better adapt with the changing times, now which ones will do it, only time can tell.

    ScoobaShag on
  • Robos A Go GoRobos A Go Go Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    I think the point where print books are phased out in favor of digital books is much further than the point where print comics are phased out, given how much smaller and younger (re:tech savvy) the audience for comics is. Same with newspapers.

    Robos A Go Go on
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