The Future of Comics?

If anyone’s interested, I just posted a (rather long) piece about the future of comics, and why I believe the “physical edition” will evolve into a niche product:

“Future Deluxe”, from my work journal.

Interesting piece, antony. And an interesting discussion on your journal, too. But DRM…? Hmm. :confused:

I’m no fan of DRM at all, I’m just being realistic. No way you’re going to convince Marvel and DC to go DRM-free, and certainly not at launch.

No, I wasn’t clear. I was taking a different point of view. I’m not confident that in the long run DRM will offer much protection. Without a significant alternative revenue stream, such as music can enjoy in performance, or TV with product placement, how will comics continue to hold their own?

One of the reasons I’m no fan of DRM is that it essentially offers no protection at all :wink: I mentioned this in the older article I linked to - DRM will always be cracked, and vendors will always patch it, and around and around we go. I think it’s pointless, and all DRM actually does is inconvenience legitimate consumers, but unfortunately attempting to convince most vendors of this is fruitless.

As for how comics will “hold their own”, well, as I said in the article, iTunes is now the biggest retailer of all music in America. All music. That’s huge. It proves, beyond any anomaly, that people will pay for what they want, if you price it right and make purchasing convenient for them. And this in probably the world’s most intensely pirated medium.

So there’s that, and there’s the deluxe physical versions that are the main subject of the article. Those two combined should (hopefully!) provide enough of a revenue stream to keep the industry going.

What’s with the new avatar? The previous version seemed to reinforce an image that I believe you referred to as

This new one is more…

On to DRM comments…

DRM is both needed and evil. If you are in any type of IT IP you need DRM to eat. If you are a consumer DRM is often an infringement on consumer rights. I am very on the fence with DRM these days, but on the whole I think that there is a place for it in a business model that depends on electronic mediums for distribution and use (iTunes).

I just wish there was a better way to manage my personal rights when DRm is involved.

The avatar is taken from my new website header, which was photographed by a friend at San Diego con this year :slight_smile:

You really don’t, though. There isn’t an application, media file or document that you can’t find in five minutes of scanning around filesharing sites. Anyone who wants to circumvent DRM can (and likely is) already do so, and relatively easily.

The problem there is that when it comes to consumer rights, if DRM actually allowed what you have the right to do, it wouldn’t be DRM anymore.

Except at the super-expensive-end like my company produces, where you must have a USB Security Dongle to be able to run the software (and those dongles cost $50 each alone).

Heh. Fair enough, but that’s way beyond what we commonly mean when we talk about DRM :slight_smile:

And even then, I have seen dongle cracks (that just sounds horrible) all over the 'net. It’s really only a step more sophisticated than games which require the CD to be in the tray whilst starting the game up. You see cracks for that all of the time, too.

While it isn’t really DRM in the media protection sense, it does still illustrate that even a hardware based security system will never be immune to the dedicated circumventers out there. In fact, some of the most notorious circumventions out there are getting around hardware blocks.

I deliberately didn’t make a big thing of DRM in the piece because I knew people would inevitably start arguing about it instead of the actual premise… :wink:

Apologies, antony, for tilting the thread in the DRM direction. But I only did so because I found the arguments in your piece entirely persuasive…

Dongle cracks? Now there’s a phrase I really wish I hadn’t read… :laughing:

Agreed, nice article. I love hearing people’s views on where media is headed due to piracy/anti-piracy actions, and I hadn’t heard much about where comics are headed.
A couple of things that I - an ex comic fan - have immediately come to mind. I stopped buying comics when the super-duper, glow-in-the-dark chrome cover comic costs more than a dinner. That’s really the only reason. When I make it to comic-cons I like to support smaller artists, so I’ll buy one or two and probably never follow up on the series. However, were the series digital, and they offered it as such for a smaller price, would I be interested: very likely.
Too, I and many others are all about aesthetics and practicality in one package. What matters almost as much as how available e-comics would be is how well it could be displayed in a customized reader - something that would beat the pants off of scrolling through a PDF when many of the comics you see in such a format weren’t even meant to be sized as such.
Keep it up.

Jeezzz!!! that`s worse than dongle cracks!! :open_mouth:

Really enjoyed your article. It also reminded me to this TED talk which i blogged a few weeks ago here. … ion-to-new

I think that while if comics get to evolve on the screen rather than having the screen try to represent paper there will be a future for both types of comics. As for the state of comics I dont know where it lies at the moment. Are they more popular now? In the 40s? 70s? 90s?