Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Goin' Digital

Tuesday morning, and here we all are, spending our time at Exfanding. It was a fun filled weekend, but now it’s back to work. And if you’re wondering why you’ve had to sit through an awful lot of my posts lately...well, let’s just say Nathaniel’s been a little...insane...these past few days.

What with the working and the moving and the traveling to weddings, I honestly don’t know how he manages.

He should be back to full time blogging soon, though, so in the meantime let’s you and I talk. I’ve been thinking an awful lot about digital comics since my post on Saturday, and I think it’s with good reason.

I think the comics community really is on the brink of something revolutionary--if not something revolutionary that will take place overnight.

I had a talk with a buddy of mine on Friday, and he cajoled me off the ledge a bit, and made me realize that, while Marvel has made great strides in pushing digital distribution forward, the Big Change really can’t happen right away.

Though I tend to believe it'll happen quicker than most people I've spoken to.

Now, I might not love the fact that the industry is (eventually) going digital, but I have to admit that I understand it from multiple perspectives. Today, though, I’d like to talk about the retailers, because, while A Couple of Years In the Future Alex won’t be thrilled with having to read all of his comics on a screen, I also won’t be put out of business by it.

(That already happened once--what’s the likelihood that it’ll happen again, right? Right?...Bueller?)

In this case, there are plenty of people who will be affected by the coming of digital distribution. Of course, I’m talking about the comics retailers--the men and women we’ve all relied upon for a break in our weeks, for good reads, and for fun conversation.

And, sometimes, for some not so fun conversations.

In my comics shop hanging out heyday, I saw some things, let me tell you. Like how a comics retailer is also very much like a bartender, always listening to the problems and victories of a hundred different people.

Only, ya know, with more talk about things like Galactus and Skrulls.

I’ve certainly been guilty of laying into my own comics retailer with more than a few stories of pity and woe. He listened, of course, and even offered some advice. Or told a joke. Or he politely asked me to leave if I wasn't going to be buying anything. (Okay, not really.)

Either way, though, it was always worth the trip down to the store.

But if comics do go all (or even mostly) digital in the next, let’s say, five years (though I belive it'll be within two), what the heck happens to the Wednesday Ritual?

I honestly look forward to taking a ride down to the shop on Wednesday evenings, and sometimes there’s just nothing better than hopping in the car and driving to a store a bit out of the way on weekends.

Sometimes with friends, sometimes with a car full of nothing but music and the wind.

I don't have too many havens left. The neighborhood bookshops have all but vanished, good luck trying to find a music/record store, and the little coffee shops have been replaced with Starbucks and their legions of screenwriters and guys who like to talk business, loudly, on their cell phone earpiece.

Let's hope the comics shops don't go that way, too.


A Philosophical Nerd said...

I know exactly what you mean. I grew up in a little town (I don't even know if it was big enough to be considered a town), but one day in that little town a card shop named Cousins opened up. I had never been exposed to card games, comic books, or anything of the like (and I was still pretty young, so what better time to learn).

I got to know the people who ran the shop and even became friends with the son of the owners, who worked there himself and would always have time to play a game or two.

One of the biggest disappointments of my childhood was the day they packed up and moved a couple hours north and became (of all things) a collectibles shop. They didn't sell card games or comics anymore, and I was only able to get out there once in a while when my mom was able to drive me.

I know that pre-teens and teenagers don't have the same caliber of life problems that adults have, but I had my share. I was always the kid being picked on/tormented by other kids and this card shop was the one safe haven I had. The place I could go where I could almost guarantee I wouldn't be mistreated (there was one kid who was a pretty big jerk who would go there at times), but that was pretty much my equivalent of Cheers or Moe's Tavern.

Since that card shop moved away, playing card games and looking at comics just never had the same feeling to me. But I still play the occasionally CCG or RPG, and look at comics every once in a while.

AJG said...

Thanks for sharing this, APN.

I really don't know what'd I do without a local store...

Let's hope it never comes to that.