Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I was at a party last night. A friend of mine mentioned this whole business about Marvel digital comics. Namely that for a flat fee, you could get access to the entire archive of practically everything that Marvel has published.

This intrigued me. I’d been a subscriber to Marvel’s digital service in the past. They didn’t have everything under the sun available, but they had a tantalizing amount of their library up there to peruse. I was somewhat more let down with DC’s entry into the market. Buying individual comics, instead of access to a library, didn’t appeal to me; at least, as far as digital books went.

Is there a big future in digital comics? It seems like this concept has been hanging around in the air for a while. Most major companies publish a digital issue just as soon as an issue goes to print these days. I know at one point the PlayStation Portable had an app that let one peruse and purchase digital comics. I had heard rumors for a long time that it was going to get transferred to the PlayStation 3 and even the Xbox 360.

Would something like this work? A sort of Netflix for digital comics on home consoles?

In my opinion: yes it most certainly would.

It’s a good business move. These days it seems like all forms of entertainment are getting plugged into video game consoles. I’m fully expecting the next Xbox and PlayStation 4 to take it up a notch in regards to being a home entertainment system. I mean, I don’t know this; it’s just a theory I have.

Look at it this way. How much more advanced do you really think video games are going to get? I mean sure, there will be the hottest, newest games coming out all the time, but Microsoft and Sony could produce games on the two consoles out right now for another five years and everyone would keep on buying them. What’s the incentive of getting a new console?

I think it’s going to be this sort of integrated entertainment experience. You’ll be able to stream movies, order clothes from Macy’s and check your Facebook page in one place. They’ll streamline staying at home and ordering take out if you know what I mean. So why not put an app on there that lets you look through digital comics? It’ll be late one night and you’ll be playing some game and finally you’ll turn it off, but still not feel like going to bed. Instead, you’ll zone out for another hour and just look through whatever new comics are posted on the app.

I don’t think it’s going to hurt the comic book industry to do this. If anything, I think it’ll just double their sales. I mean, digital comics will never be as satisfying as holding the actual book or the collected edition in your hand. It just can’t be. There’s something about flipping the pages and holding it in your hand the way you want to that just will always feel better.

Instead, it’ll be like a little bit of a preview before your trip to the actual comic book store. You can kind of look ahead and see if there’s anything out that week that you might want or even anything that you missed. Sure, some people will insist on making sure they only read digital to spend money, but the collectors will still run out to the store to get whatever variant cover issue they want to own or whatever.

Seriously, I don’t see the downside to this. I don’t think there’s any reason to not do it. If Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and IDW aren’t thinking about getting in bed with Sony and Microsoft…they ought to start right quick.