Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marvel's Digital ReEvolution And Why It's Awesome

I will go on record as saying nostalgia sucks. Whenever I hear people bitch and moan about how shit was so much better 10, 20, or 50 years ago I fantasize about them being crushed by a falling satellite. A part of me wants to say "Oh really? Well if the past was so fucking good why don't you ditch the internet, drive an old ass car, and watch only reruns on a 15-year-old non-HD TV?" Then the valium kicks in and I'm able to restrain myself.

Now don't get me wrong. I have a certain fondness for previous eras in comics. I loved the 90s despite all the gimmicks. I loved the 80s despite the shitty hair styles because comics like X-Factor, Spider-Man, Watchmen, and Return of the Dark Knight were great moments in the history of comics. But as the word implies, history is in the past. You can either bitch about it or move forward. And just this past weekend, Marvel showed off how they envision moving forward and sucking as much money from the wallets of fans in the process.

It's called Infinite Comics and according to CBR it's Marvel's new canvas for telling stories using their vast arsenal of big-breasted female heroes and the men in testicle augmenting spandex that love them. For the first time since someone got shit faced and thought it would be cool to tell a story using panels of pictures, the big wigs at Marvel got shit faced again and decided to ditch the classic print your shit on paper and send it fans via snail mail. It won't work like a page or some ancient shit like that. It's going to be specifically tailored to new mediums like smart phones, tablet computers, and the internet. In other words, it's using the futuristic tech that we've come to rely on and most likely will help Apple's ongoing plans for world domination.

It'll start with Marvel's big upcoming blockbuster, Avengers vs. X-men. The first of these all-digital stories will take place in the early parts of the event. From there, it'll presumably expand to whichever Marvel writer gets the editors drunk enough so they agree to the stories they want to tell. Gone will be the days of fanboys hanging out in comic shops, talking and/or complaining about the latest issue. They'll just be able to park their asses in a Starbucks, their parent's basement, or on the roof of their house so they can leech off their neighbor's wi-fi and download their dose of Marvel brand awesome on their tablet. Is it a brilliant, bold move? Well considering the current trends in technology and considering that Marvel and DC didn't embrace day-and-date digital comics until last year, I'd say it's only as brilliant as it is overdue.

I don't think my comic buying habits are the same as the vast majority of the comic market in the same way I know my drinking habits are only comparable with Irish dock workers. But day-and-date digital comics through companies like Comixology have become my primary method of buying comics. I don't buy single issues anymore. I only buy the graphic novels after they come out. I find that shit's easier to handle and store while also saving me the trouble of buying those big ass boxes that have been cluttering up my basement since the first George Bush was in office. Don't get me wrong. I love those books almost as much as I love spicy chicken wings and football. But they're cumbersome and digital comics have allowed me to carry an entire fucking library in the palm of my hand thanks to a phone. It's the kind of shit that makes me feel like I'm living in the age of Star Trek minus the hot alien chicks.

As such, I plan on being first in line to check out this new digital push. I also plan on following DC Comics closely to see if they do something in response because let's face it, like any business comics is a big dick-measuring contest. If Marvel finds a way to stretch theirs out a few inches longer, DC will look for a way to do it as well. Digital comics have the potential to tell different kinds of stories and distribute them in a different kind of way. Since an entire generation is growing up expecting all their shit to be beamed to their smart phones, it's best to get ahead of the curve to avoid having to hear that generation bitch more than they already will when they find out what our generation did to the environment, the Middle East, and Mexico.

So what can we make of this? What does this mean for the industry? Well I know my drunken opinion means precisely dick, but I'm all for it. I'm definitely for any means that would make comics easier to access through the internet or these fancy new devices that companies like Apple are throwing at us. I get that there will always be a place for paper books, but going back to what I said about nostalgia I think it's bullshit to not embrace future trends. Let's face it, the future isn't sheets of crushed up trees. The future is tablet computers and smart phones. Hell, we live in an age where a kid will sell his fucking kidney for an ipad. Whereas Marvel took their sweet fucking time bringing day and date digital comics to their library, they're at least trying to be proactive here with this new Infinite label.

I think this shit has real potential. Imagine a world where the stories you love are streamed effortlessly into your computer, phone, or tablet. Imagine a world where you don't have to stuff book cases with old, flimsy paper books that aren't even thick enough to hallow out so you can hide your weed inside them. I want to be part of that world! I want this new medium to expand and succeed! I hope Marvel finds more creative ways of making that $2.99 or $3.99 they charge for each issue more worth-while. Perhaps one day we can get a new Ultimate-style series that's completely online. Perhaps it'll be a series where we the fans can write in our comments right into the book or maybe even make our own thought bubbles that have characters like Wolverine commenting on how great Miss Marvel's ass looks.

I'm sure this is all just prelude. Maybe in the not-so-distant future there will be a day when companies like Marvel and DC can directly beam their stories right into the cortex of our brains so we can ditch the expensive electronic tablets in the first place. I'm pretty sure someone at Apple is saying to Tim Cook "I'm working as fast as I can, damn it!" But until that day comes, companies like Marvel are wise to take advantage of current tech trends the same way China takes advantage of cheap labor. We've got a wired world where paper just ain't gonna cut it anymore and while I have a feeling there will always be a place for books even in comics, I'm all for the digital revolution! So whatever comes of Marvel Infinite Comics or the digital ReEvolution, I'm not afraid to expose how old my ass is getting when I say beam me up, Quesada! Excelsior!

1 comment:

  1. I find the idea interesting, although I admit I'm not quite sure what exactly it is that they're going to do with it. I admit I'm one of the ol' fogeys who prefers real physical media as opposed to digital for a lot of things (I absolutely refuse to buy any sort of eReader device like a Kindle), but for some reason the digital format does not bother me when it comes to comics. It can be a pain to read that way sometimes but overall it seems more convenient than having a bunch of print books around.