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View Full Version : Marvel Infinite Comics = The beginning of the end for printed comics?


kgrogers1979
03-12-12, 01:30 PM
Marvel just announced a new line of comics called Infinite Comics that will be exclusively digital. I have to wonder if this is them testing the waters to see how well an exclusively digital comic sells. If it really takes off, I wonder how long it will be before they stop printing single issues completely and move to a format of digital singles with printed trade paperbacks released later.

fujishig
03-12-12, 01:40 PM
I think, at least currently, that the Infinite comics are free with the purchase of the print or digital comic, not standalone, and they are boasting about techniques that the artists can utilize that are specific to digital.

I'm fully onboard with digital, but I don't think they can easily get away with getting rid of print comics, even just the single issues, without alienating a large portion of their fanbase. Even if tablets become really mainstream, you'll still have people clinging to the comic book experience, and you'll need comic stores to cater to them. This is one of the main reasons they haven't just cut the price of their digital offerings and tick off all the LCBSs.

Personally, I'm fine with comics the way they are, I don't really want to see a lot of extraneous stuff that they'll put in just to use the new techniques; then again, I haven't even seen what they're going to do, so I'll try to keep an open mind.

Other companies have already churned out digital-only comics; I think there's a Batman Beyond and an Arkham City series, and a Transformers one.

madcougar
03-12-12, 03:27 PM
I would certainly consider digital comics as my collectin continues to balloon past 40 long boxes. But there's no way I'm paying more than a dollar for a digital comic. Absolutely no way.

kodave
03-13-12, 01:45 AM
The Infinite comics are going to be a different experience than the usual digital images.

Here is an example:

http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/about-DIGITAL-COMICS-111966969?moodonly=24&offset=20

The beginning of the end of printed comics was already here in the form of a dying business model.

One day we'll definitely see the end of single issue comic books coming out weekly or whatever. Things will move digital in both the traditional format and the Infinity format. Infinity comics may be hard to translate to paper. But traditional digital comics will definitely see collected edition print runs for those willing to pay the price for it - aka collectors, not causal readers. Probably hardbound collections like Omnibuses and Absolute editions. But I'm sure the availability of printed runs is going to depend on the initial digital single issue sales. And eventually the trade collections will be available digitally too, which will definitely kill off printed trades one of these days. It'll be like the individual MP3/Album or Single Episode/Season situation. I think that day is still a long while off even though digital is booming - but a lot of that is thanks to the business models of Amazon and Apple. Digital comics are terribly overpriced at the moment and there is no good unifying store front like Amazon or iTunes, or killer product like a specific tablet or iPod that screams "stop buying books, comic books have to be read on this instead."

kgrogers1979
03-13-12, 03:54 AM
And eventually the trade collections will be available digitally too, which will definitely kill off printed trades one of these days.

Trades are already available on Comixology. I don't think printed trades will ever die though. Single issues will because that is an outdated format, but not trades.

The modern comic industry has been writing with a trade paperback mentality for the better part of a decade now. Everything is written as a 4-6 issue arc and collected soon afterward. The days of a story being done in a single issue are gone.

So for that reason, I believe singles will eventually move to an exclusively digital format, but there will always be some people who want a printed product and trades will be available for them.

DonnachaOne
03-13-12, 04:32 AM
"Beginning" of the end :lol:

kgrogers1979
03-13-12, 04:51 AM
Not sure what is so funny.

Sure there are already plenty of digital comics. Comixology and iPad are popular, but not so popular as to spell the doom of print as something like an exclusively digital comic like Infinite Comics has to potential to do. I would say that makes it more a beginning of the end than anything else before.

ytrez
03-13-12, 08:56 AM
The Infinite comics are going to be a different experience than the usual digital images.

Here is an example:

http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/about-DIGITAL-COMICS-111966969?moodonly=24&offset=20

That was pretty cool. I can get behind that.

madcougar
03-13-12, 12:07 PM
Not sure what is so funny.

Sure there are already plenty of digital comics. Comixology and iPad are popular, but not so popular as to spell the doom of print as something like an exclusively digital comic like Infinite Comics has to potential to do. I would say that makes it more a beginning of the end than anything else before.

At this point I think that the audience for digital comics is much different than the audience for real comics. Comic book collectors have a certain mentality and need that digital comics can't and won't satiate. I was reading the interview with the DC sales people and according to them they've been surprised at how underwelming the digital sales of the New 52 have been.

If the big publishers were smart, they would give away FREE digital copies of their comics to get readers used to reading them that way.

Two things that need to happen in general for paper comics to go the way of the dinosaur. First EVERYONE needs to have a tablet device to look at comics that way. Second, people like me who prefer paper comics have to die off and be replaced by people who grew up on digitial comics and like to read them and NOT collect them. Big difference.

fujishig
03-13-12, 12:40 PM
At this point I think that the audience for digital comics is much different than the audience for real comics. Comic book collectors have a certain mentality and need that digital comics can't and won't satiate. I was reading the interview with the DC sales people and according to them they've been surprised at how underwelming the digital sales of the New 52 have been.

If the big publishers were smart, they would give away FREE digital copies of their comics to get readers used to reading them that way.

Two things that need to happen in general for paper comics to go the way of the dinosaur. First EVERYONE needs to have a tablet device to look at comics that way. Second, people like me who prefer paper comics have to die off and be replaced by people who grew up on digitial comics and like to read them and NOT collect them. Big difference.

They are. The other part of Marvel's announcement was that all 3.99 books would have the digital copy bundled in for "free." I put that in quotes because they are still a dollar more than their "normal" 2.99 comics and the page count has been dropping, so you're really paying something for it.

Marvel treats their tpb collections a bit like their monthly pamphlets... they never really have everything in stock and ready to ship. If you want to start collecting something in trade only, you'll have problems filling the gaps in their ordering system, since they don't keep tpbs in print with any kind of regularity. This is where I think digital can make a dent, since they seem to want to collect everything but then to keep things profitable, they keep even the reprints on a tight production run; with digital, you can have things available in perpetuity with less overhead.

I don't think the monthly is going away, though. Those single issue sales subsidize some of the cost of the tpbs, since the tpbs are basically reprinted material; what's going to replace that revenue stream, especially if the digital consumers are conditioned to wait for sales. Why do people pay 2.99 to 3.99 for single issues? I think a large part of it is that they are available for a limited time; there's no guarantee that they will hit the .99 bin or even be available a month from now, because if there were a lot of people would just wait. The only guarantee is that for 99.9% of all comics you buy, you will not be able to get what you paid for it if you wanted to sell it, and they will take up space in your house.

With digital, you take away that impulse buy. It's going to be available later. Heck, with DC, it'll be available cheaper in a month. This is similar to the wait-for-the-trade mentality. And you know what happens with that? People wait for the trade, and when the trade comes out, they realize that they didn't really want to read that story anyway, or something else has come up, or maybe I waited this long, and if it's good enough, it'll be an omnibus soon anyway. You take away that impulse buy and you may not get a buy at all. Heck, you take away that impulse guy and you may wean some of the addicts off altogether.

Me, I'm a strictly wait-for-the-trade and/or cheap digital guy anyway, but I do know that the industry cannot easily lose the monthly printed comic fan base, at least not at this point.

Digital comic sales are rising very quickly, though:
http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/22104.html

fujishig
04-09-12, 01:30 PM
So anyone pick up AvX #1 and try this out yet?

Hokeyboy
04-09-12, 01:42 PM
I long for the day the Direct Market crashes and burns. :up:

madcougar
04-09-12, 02:15 PM
They are. The other part of Marvel's announcement was that all 3.99 books would have the digital copy bundled in for "free." I put that in quotes because they are still a dollar more than their "normal" 2.99 comics and the page count has been dropping, so you're really paying something for it.

Not only that, but there's also the small point that you're getting a digital copy of a comic you already own!

I'm not against digital comics. Far from it. But again, I don't own a tablet so they're pointless to me, even if you give me a free one.

kgrogers1979
04-09-12, 03:44 PM
I long for the day the Direct Market crashes and burns. :up:

Is digital really that much better than Diamond though. Comixology pretty much has a monopoly on the digital market, so you are pretty much replacing one with the other. And the biggest problem (i.e. the lack of availability of comics to kids) would still exist. Parents typically don't allow their kids to buy stuff online. Comics need to be available in grocery stores and convenience stores again, where kids can actually find them. So I really don't think digital is going to solve the big problems.

fujishig
04-09-12, 04:39 PM
I tend to agree that digital won't introduce kids to comics. Heck, on a tablet, there are so many more things to compete against, and in addition to that comics, even at 99c, are a terrible value compared to most of them.

Looked up some reviews, it seems the major breakthrough with this is with pacing, which still looks pretty cool... granted, not I'm-going-to-buy-a-digital-comic-for-3.99-to-get-this-free cool, but it'll be interesting to see what else they do with the format and how well it sells.

Trevor
04-10-12, 08:03 AM
I would certainly consider digital comics as my collectin continues to balloon past 40 long boxes. But there's no way I'm paying more than a dollar for a digital comic. Absolutely no way.
I tend to agree that digital won't introduce kids to comics. Heck, on a tablet, there are so many more things to compete against, and in addition to that comics, even at 99c, are a terrible value compared to most of them.

Looked up some reviews, it seems the major breakthrough with this is with pacing, which still looks pretty cool... granted, not I'm-going-to-buy-a-digital-comic-for-3.99-to-get-this-free cool, but it'll be interesting to see what else they do with the format and how well it sells.
I recently got an iPad, and thought that I might be making the plunge into digital comics. I'm also at around 40 long boxes, and thought that the space savings would be the main factor.

But given that 99 cents can buy an app with potentially weeks of entertainment value, paying even 99 cents for a 22 page comic is starting to seem expensive. And they are rarely available that cheaply.

I don't know. If every DC comic was 99c digitally, I'd probably buy 20+ a month of the current stuff and hundreds of back issues a year, but it doesn't appear as if the publishers are moving towards pricing that low.

An unlimited monthly subscription service should be explored by all the publishers too. I'd pay a flat fee to be able to read the entire Marvel back catalog for example.

madcougar
04-10-12, 10:49 AM
I recently got an iPad, and thought that I might be making the plunge into digital comics. I'm also at around 40 long boxes, and thought that the space savings would be the main factor.

But given that 99 cents can buy an app with potentially weeks of entertainment value, paying even 99 cents for a 22 page comic is starting to seem expensive. And they are rarely available that cheaply.

I don't know. If every DC comic was 99c digitally, I'd probably buy 20+ a month of the current stuff and hundreds of back issues a year, but it doesn't appear as if the publishers are moving towards pricing that low.

An unlimited monthly subscription service should be explored by all the publishers too. I'd pay a flat fee to be able to read the entire Marvel back catalog for example.

I can't see myself ever paying more than 99 cents for a digital comic. I can see where a publisher has to price an actual comic book at a certain price because of production and distribution costs. But the costs for a digital comic book can't possibly be the same. The fact that digital comic books are so expensive today is a joke.

fujishig
04-10-12, 12:15 PM
If you price every single comic, new and old, at 99c, what happens to the direct market? They pretty much go belly up, even if it's only a fraction of the audience that goes after the savings. You see this in video games too, where digital copies only get a slight discount, if any at all, over the retail copies, because unless you're going to go digital distribution only, you don't want to screw over the stores stocking your stuff. And heck, even if you don't care about the direct market, at 99c you'll be screwing over book stores and Amazon as well, and it has yet to be proven that comic book companies can persist on digital alone.

I really think an unlimited rental agreement, easily accessed from an ipad, would either be horrendously priced or kill their market. Marvel has their Digital Unlimited sub now, but it's clunky and relies on Flash and is not accessible via the iPad as a result. It is also missing issues in the middle of runs, presumably to get you to go out and buy stuff. But if this was a tablet app, I might give up buying their comics altogether... since I really just want to read comics, and collect the stuff I know I'll re-read, which is a much smaller list than the amount of stuff I buy now.

kgrogers1979
04-10-12, 12:52 PM
My biggest concern with going digital isn't the price, but rather the fact that you don't even own the comic. Even though my 25 long boxes take up a lot of room, I am still comforted by the fact that I own them and will always have them whenever I want to read them. Who knows if Comixology will even still be around in 10 years, and if Comixology goes out of business you lose your entire digital collection.

Trevor
04-10-12, 01:46 PM
If you price every single comic, new and old, at 99c, what happens to the direct market? They pretty much go belly up, even if it's only a fraction of the audience that goes after the savings. You see this in video games too, where digital copies only get a slight discount, if any at all, over the retail copies, because unless you're going to go digital distribution only, you don't want to screw over the stores stocking your stuff. And heck, even if you don't care about the direct market, at 99c you'll be screwing over book stores and Amazon as well, and it has yet to be proven that comic book companies can persist on digital alone.

I really think an unlimited rental agreement, easily accessed from an ipad, would either be horrendously priced or kill their market. Marvel has their Digital Unlimited sub now, but it's clunky and relies on Flash and is not accessible via the iPad as a result. It is also missing issues in the middle of runs, presumably to get you to go out and buy stuff. But if this was a tablet app, I might give up buying their comics altogether... since I really just want to read comics, and collect the stuff I know I'll re-read, which is a much smaller list than the amount of stuff I buy now.
You're probably right, but it just seems like price has to be the main reason why the market is so much smaller now than it used to be.

If kids can't afford comics, they don't grow up to become collectors.

And they're losing the adult collectors because of pricing too, imo.
My biggest concern with going digital isn't the price, but rather the fact that you don't even own the comic. Even though my 25 long boxes take up a lot of room, I am still comforted by the fact that I own them and will always have them whenever I want to read them. Who knows if Comixology will even still be around in 10 years, and if Comixology goes out of business you lose your entire digital collection.
If that happens, I'm sure they would release an app/method to download all of your purchases. If not they themselves, someone would. Heck, hacks must already be out there.

fujishig
04-10-12, 06:00 PM
You're probably right, but it just seems like price has to be the main reason why the market is so much smaller now than it used to be.

If kids can't afford comics, they don't grow up to become collectors.

And they're losing the adult collectors because of pricing too, imo.


I don't think price is the magic cure-all, though. There's another thread where someone is basically giving comics for free to their relatives and it's still hit and miss. Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.

madcougar
04-11-12, 11:17 AM
I don't think price is the magic cure-all, though. There's another thread where someone is basically giving comics for free to their relatives and it's still hit and miss. Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.

Agreed, as I mentioned in another thread, my 11-year-old son has access to 36 long boxes full of comic books. And while he likes superheroes and has read a few here and there, he's not really "into" comics.

There's absolutely nothing keeping him from reading them... except video games.

Strapped4Cash
04-11-12, 11:25 PM
Price may be one factor, but I don't think it's the only factor.

Absolutely.

These days we as an audience have a lot more info on what creators, editors and EIC's are like behind the scenes, and I can believe that certain fans buy (and leave) titles and companies based on that info more than they did in the past. I absolutely don't believe that every fan who says "Screw DiDio/Quesada/the $3.99 price point/etc. actually drops books, but I can believe that some do.

And there are some very different sorts of buyers out there. I had 300-400+ issue long runs of many long-running titles, and many of those were books that I wasn't enjoying, but didn't want to "break the run" on. On one level I knew it was silly to spend years buying crap I didn't like, but on another, print comics used to mean a lot more, and I took a lot of pride in having those runs that lasted decades. But Marvel's continuous renumbering stunts and the "nu52" broke me of that once and for all. Buying only what I actually "like" has meant dropping (many) dozens of titles a month and switching almost entirely to trades. I'm also much less willing to take a risk on new series.

My experience and buying habits were atypical, but if Marvel/DC really did succeed in alienating people like me, who were buying 100-150+ titles a month just a year or two ago, then I'm sure that those losses would be felt.

fujishig
04-12-12, 12:43 PM
Absolutely.

These days we as an audience have a lot more info on what creators, editors and EIC's are like behind the scenes, and I can believe that certain fans buy (and leave) titles and companies based on that info more than they did in the past. I absolutely don't believe that every fan who says "Screw DiDio/Quesada/the $3.99 price point/etc. actually drops books, but I can believe that some do.

And there are some very different sorts of buyers out there. I had 300-400+ issue long runs of many long-running titles, and many of those were books that I wasn't enjoying, but didn't want to "break the run" on. On one level I knew it was silly to spend years buying crap I didn't like, but on another, print comics used to mean a lot more, and I took a lot of pride in having those runs that lasted decades. But Marvel's continuous renumbering stunts and the "nu52" broke me of that once and for all. Buying only what I actually "like" has meant dropping (many) dozens of titles a month and switching almost entirely to trades. I'm also much less willing to take a risk on new series.

My experience and buying habits were atypical, but if Marvel/DC really did succeed in alienating people like me, who were buying 100-150+ titles a month just a year or two ago, then I'm sure that those losses would be felt.

This is getting a little off topic, but that was my rant when the nu52 came out... I had been collecting a bunch of DC titles monthly because I loved the characters, even when the comics themselves weren't very good (basically because I kept thinking that the new creative teams would be better than the old ones); when they took all that history away and basically reset, I lost my attachment to them. Marvel, I had stopped buying monthly once they decided to put everything they publish into trade form.

The thing with the nu52, though, is that it got new readers involved (or it motivated the current collectors to have a gotta get em all mentality). I read an article where the current average numbers on the DC titles are actually lower than two years ago. Granted, they have more titles now and they're still doing better overall than that time, but I really wonder how long they can sustain this. Can a new reader still jump in at this point in the DC universe? I don't know.

Meanwhile, Marvel resets the "status quo" of their universe every single year. Thor's dead, no he's not, yes he is; Fear Itself had so much carnage, but when I read it I wasn't shocked or astonished or anything like that, because you know what, those big events are going to be reset by the next big event. Heck, the X-men just broke up in Schism and they're already seemingly unified again against the Avengers?

But wow, 100 to 150+ titles every month? At the current prices? Geez.

Strapped4Cash
04-12-12, 09:46 PM
This is getting a little off topic, but that was my rant when the nu52 came out... I had been collecting a bunch of DC titles monthly because I loved the characters, even when the comics themselves weren't very good (basically because I kept thinking that the new creative teams would be better than the old ones); when they took all that history away and basically reset, I lost my attachment to them. Marvel, I had stopped buying monthly once they decided to put everything they publish into trade form.

The thing with the nu52, though, is that it got new readers involved (or it motivated the current collectors to have a gotta get em all mentality). I read an article where the current average numbers on the DC titles are actually lower than two years ago. Granted, they have more titles now and they're still doing better overall than that time, but I really wonder how long they can sustain this. Can a new reader still jump in at this point in the DC universe? I don't know.

Meanwhile, Marvel resets the "status quo" of their universe every single year. Thor's dead, no he's not, yes he is; Fear Itself had so much carnage, but when I read it I wasn't shocked or astonished or anything like that, because you know what, those big events are going to be reset by the next big event. Heck, the X-men just broke up in Schism and they're already seemingly unified again against the Avengers?

But wow, 100 to 150+ titles every month? At the current prices? Geez.

I agree with you about re-setting the status quo's, but I think that DC was doing it as well. The nu52 did get a lot of people excited and new people involved, but ultimately I think that at least a fair amount of it was poorly planned and executed. I think that it could have been a lot bigger and more sustainable if they had handled it differently. And one of the problems with losing customers like you and me is that I believe that we cared more about these characters more, and so were more willing to buy in the bad times (whether creatively, financially, or whatever else). If the new people aren't happy with the product then I'd guess that they'll be much more ready to leave DC, or cut back to only one or a handful of titles that they really wanted. The relaunch wasn't a bad idea, but I think that it's success or failure will depend on it's execution.

Yeah, comics used to be my main entertainment expense for a long time, even as the prices went up. Now that I've cut back I'm filling in a lot of holes in my movie/TV show collection, trying more "regular" books, etc.

PhantomStranger
04-13-12, 12:35 AM
The dirty little secret is that the comic book market served by Marvel and DC is in rapid decline, even with their properties enjoying more success than ever at the box office. The companies know this and are just staving off the inevitable. The industry is not attracting new readers. DC had very interesting research that showed the average new buyer for the relaunch were guys in their 30s who last collected comics in the 90s before the bubble burst. That is not a recipe for continued growth.

ytrez
04-13-12, 10:52 AM
The dirty little secret is that the comic book market served by Marvel and DC is in rapid decline, even with their properties enjoying more success than ever at the box office. The companies know this and are just staving off the inevitable. The industry is not attracting new readers. DC had very interesting research that showed the average new buyer for the relaunch were guys in their 30s who last collected comics in the 90s before the bubble burst. That is not a recipe for continued growth.

I understand that comics have a lot more competition than they did in their heyday when it was estimated that 90% of American children and adolescents read comics but it is hard to contemplate how significantly their interest has eroded over time. Especially given the success of super-heroes in Hollywood these days. Somehow going to see the Avengers or Spider-Man at the cinema is cool and hip but reading a comic book of the same is still considered uncool. Despite the popular acceptance of "nerd culture" (again, mostly through Hollywood) comic book sales still suffer.

There is no easy answer to the problem. I've read comics since I was 5 years old (and yes, I did read them, not just look at the pictures), have book cases full of hard cover and trade paperback comics, a roomful of long boxes, and assorted piles of comics all over my basement and I have been unable to foster anything more than a passing interest in comics to my three sons. They range from 13 to 19 and have only read a handful of comics between them.

I gave the oldest one a copy of the complete Bone collection a while back and he loved it, put it down and moved on to Facebook or some other web interest. Then I gave him Watchmen and that didn't inspire him to seek out anything else. Finally, I gave him a copy of Blankets and got the same response. I can't complain, the kid reads much more literature than the average kid his age and is always at the top of his class but if I can't get this Star Trek the Next Generation-loving fool into comics I don't know who his age will love them like I do.

Trevor
04-13-12, 12:12 PM
If you had told me 30 years ago that comic-book movies would soon be the summer movie events almost every year, with TV shows and home video releases coming out in droves; I would have been ecstatic for the future of my hobby.

But instead it's hard not to think of the future of comics to be extremely bleak. The entertainment choices are only growing, and the comic-book fan-base is dying off and not being replaced.

Supermallet
04-13-12, 08:50 PM
Comics aren't going to go away. The Marvel/DC strangehold might, the companies themselves might even tank (although with Disney and WB backing them they might stick around long after their expiration date), and there may even be a period where published comics go dark. But eventually, creative people will do their creative thing and people will rediscover that comics are worthwhile.

As for digital, I love it. I don't have room for 40 long boxes in my apartment (or my life). I wish they were cheaper, but I'm willing to spend $2 per book (the price of the New 52 titles after you wait a month). I do think that digital is the future of the medium.

The Bus
04-15-12, 05:06 AM
I wonder how long it will be before they stop printing single issues completely and move to a format of digital singles with printed trade paperbacks released later.

I would really, really like this to happen. I'd even be OK with an "all-you-can-read" subscription model that's $10 a month but has the books DRM'd so you can't read them if you're not paying.

(The latter is unlikely to happen).

Trevor
04-15-12, 09:36 AM
I would really, really like this to happen. I'd even be OK with an "all-you-can-read" subscription model that's $10 a month but has the books DRM'd so you can't read them if you're not paying.

(The latter is unlikely to happen).
I'd pay $20 a month and sign a lifetime contract to be able to read every DC Comic ever printed, even if they were DRM'd and only accessible while logged in to DC's servers.

Paul_SD
04-15-12, 05:19 PM
The Infinite comics are going to be a different experience than the usual digital images.

Here is an example:

http://balak01.deviantart.com/art/about-DIGITAL-COMICS-111966969?moodonly=24&offset=20

The beginning of the end of printed comics was already here in the form of a dying business model.
.....Digital comics are terribly overpriced at the moment and there is no good unifying store front like Amazon or iTunes, or killer product like a specific tablet or iPod that screams "stop buying books, comic books have to be read on this instead."

Thanks for that link- it blew my mind. I'm ashamed to confess that I really hadn't thought out the more basic and simpler possibilities inherent in Flash.
I was one of the zombies thinking "oh yeah you can now add music and sound effects and limited animation" Such wrong headed thinking I realize now. That's making comic reading a passive experience and surrendering the temporal control of the experience to the device. This guy here however has thought it out. I'm convinced I've now seen the end of the direct market in the seeds of this humble example.

Even I, as someone who who has always loved the aesthetic and physical nature of printed and bound books themselves, can see myself forgoing a bound collected collection for material that was originally conceived and implemented as a set of well made Flash comics only viewable on a desktop pc or pad. Pen and paper are wonderful, near limitless mediums- but for dynamic, and extremely nuanced storytelling, the abilities here are profoundly awesome.

very very interesting.

kodave
04-15-12, 10:46 PM
I was one of the zombies thinking "oh yeah you can now add music and sound effects and limited animation" Such wrong headed thinking I realize now. That's making comic reading a passive experience and surrendering the temporal control of the experience to the device.

Yep, that's the main thing guys like Mark Waid have hammered home about this "Infinite" format - its not a motion comic. Of course, somewhere at some time, someone will add sound effects, music, and limited animation and basically turn it into a motion comic. It will be like all of the bad 3D movies that have come out that really crap all over the idea of what a good 3D movie should be. But at its core its not supposed to be that. Motion comics are like watching a movie, a passive experience as you said. Infinite comics still keep the reader in control of the pace of how they consume the content.

Fun fact, Mark Waid said they've done studies and the average digital reader is most comfortable sitting through 8 panels at a time, so that's how long each issue should be.

But 8 panels could easily be just one page of a traditional comic book (at a minimum, probably more like a handful of pages), but obviously a lot more clicking is involved to make all of the elements of each panel appear. If Waid thinks we should pay 99 cents for that, that adds up to an expensive 22 page comic or whatever. And that's also seriously going to affect how compressed or decompressed storytelling becomes in this Infinite format. But I don't think the 8 panel thing is an absolute, yet. Just an idea.

You can get a free digital comic in "Infinite" format from Mark Waid here, an adaptation of his LUTHER title: http://markwaid.com/?p=695
Just open the PDF in a CBR reader.

Paul_SD
04-16-12, 04:22 AM
To be honest, I'd always known there was a fine line that shouldn't be crossed if you incorporated sound and motion into the experience.

My previous thinking of how to maximize the experience for the medium was something like this- when you get to certain panels (such as when the location in the story shifts)- you get subtle ambient noise that is evocative of the setting. This would last until the scene shifts to a new location. Occasionally you would flip the page to a what amounts to a 'jump scare' type effect- any kind of sudden audible noise necessitated by the story would get triggered with the page turn/panel click.
It would be set up on a slight delay, so you would turn the page and see the panel and then the panel art would change a second or two later, and the audible effect would hit and the panel art/dialogue would follow that narrative point.
Not really a motion comic per se, but pointing in that direction- certainly not a very thoughtful or creative exploitation of the possibilities inherent either.

And this is why I'm very chagrined. Toth, Crane, Kurtzman, Kreigstein and others have always been huge heroes of mine. For the last 25 years or so, and for all my feeble amateur attempts at making my own comics, I've been far more about the effects of panel to panel sequencing, and composing the panels to lead the eye in such a way as to manipulate the sense of time and motion over simple pretty drawings- that I really should have figured out that a digital comic would let you, for instance, layer information (sparsely or densely) )within the same single panel or show a progression of panels as the frame slowly fills. The manipulation of time and pacing is far more significant than any gimmicky exterior effects. After seeing that now, I want (implemented) sound kept as far as away from the experience as possible. What I just clicked through is still pure comics- words and pictures- and it didn't need anything else to elicit various emotional responses.

Trevor
04-16-12, 06:58 AM
I admit that I'm naturally resistant to change, but the amount of clicking in that first example was beyond ridiculous. No way I'd be interested in something with even a quarter amount of clicks.

Haven't tried the Waid one yet.

dishpan
05-18-12, 10:25 AM
i recently posted this in a different thread before i realized that there was this one just for marvel infinite comics.

at the moment i am a physical only reader -- collections on amazon and #1s at my lcs (to try out new titles for cheap rather than blind buy a whole volume). i look up a lot of reviews before ordering if its not a character i love or a creator i trust, but i do buy a bunch of things per week. ive tried comixology and graphicly (not the marvel unlimited sub though), and thought it was ok but not great enough for me to switch.

i recently read the hd AvX infinite version on an ipad3. its the first time ive ever seen anything awesome enough to make me want it more than the physical comic. it really is something impossible on paper. if you havent seen it in that resolution youve got to try it. if more comics do it (and if the collected edition prices arent too bad) i would be pretty tempted to buy an ipad4 someday (need something thinner and lighter and so on) and switch to digital. i cant believe i'm saying that!

in addition to all the storytelling effects, i really liked having something drawn for the same dimensions instead of squeezed or zoomed to fit. of course i would prefer if the next ipad had a larger option (since its already big compared to a kindle) too. especially since a lot of physical issues come with the download code now too, which seems like a good step.

take a look at this if you havent seen the marvel infinite tech yet
http://youtu.be/kUheAFT7XL4?hd=1&t=23s

update based on others comments above: i didnt feel like this was just a motion comic, and i also didnt feel like there were an inordinate amount of clicks. of course this was just one short issue, so i am not sure how i would feel after reading a hardcover equivalent, but then again right now i am not used to any clicking at all so who knows.

Supermallet
05-20-12, 01:50 AM
That's cool, and it's nice to see a big publisher make an overture to digital like that.