The Gold Standard: Going Digital, Top Five Moments, And A Weekly Roundup

So I’ve been digging the whole digital comic thing recently. I’ve had all kinds of apps on my phone for ages, but I’ve always been the kind of person who doesn’t like to buy extra stuff. Paid apps? Pass. Recently that’s been changing, that dollar is getting easier and easier to part with in an impulse buy…and, frankly, I love comics. DC has been making it easy for me with their digital exclsuives, the Batman Beyond line of books and Smallville Season 11; every issue is a dollar, and, on top of that, full sized. Comics that I want to read, for a dollar; I really can’t argue with that.


Now, I don’t expect that digital is going to be something that replaces my weekly habit, and stops my ever growing library from expanding…at least not while my iPhone is my means of reading them, but it’s a great supplement. I mean, hey, hop on Comixology and look at the free stuff. I have never found myself sampling more books via legitimate means, and I absolutely love it. Digital makes for an awesome compliment to everything I was already doing.


DC used digital to push established franchises that weren’t proven in comic form. Batman Beyond had a mini series, and an ongoing that lasted just as long before ending with the DC relaunch. I really don’t feel like digging out sales figures right now, so I’m just going to assume they weren’t anything worth bragging about. Making the book digital cuts out the paper costs and…I don’t feel like looking up the economics eithers, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that it’s cheaper to prodcue digital books. This in turn allows them to turn Batman Beyond into a line of books with Justice League Beyond and Superman Beyond; which in turn strengthens the franchise as a whole. I imagine if this was done in print we’d see a brief attempt followed by a quiet collapse in an attempt to make room for books that would sell better. Not unlike the first wave of cancelled New 52 books.


So DC created what appears to be a successful line of books that I do not know if there is anyway for me to find out how successful it is (seriously this one I checked out, I just spent fifteen minutes finding nothing but overall everybody numbers). I’m just assuming it to be successful based on the fact that there are three books running multiple times a month. They’ve also got Smallville Season 11, continuing on the popular show much in the same way Dark Horse did with Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If nothing else, this is a place for DC to cultivate talent that drew acclaim, but not sales. Between Bryan Q. Miller and his incredible run on Batgirl to Adam Beechen and what I’ve been told is a fantastic return of Batman Beyond (I haven’t read the mini or print series, just the current digital run….which is pretty great, not gonna lie), and even JT Krul who has never really caught on…and Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridlfs who are cutting their teeth with Justice League Beyond in much the same way that Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are doing with Flash. Talent is being cultivated and built up, seemingly without the ever swinging axe over their heads. Something I doubt Adam Beechen would ever fairly find after his time with Cassandra Cain…some fans have long memories (personally, I don’t mind his work, but I had someone insist I mention it).


There’s also the digital strategy that DC uses, which I’ve seen used by multiple other publishers as well. Where books are full price for three to four weeks before dropping by a dollar, with occasional sales of many books from all over the place for a dollar. Last weekend they had All Star Squad, JSA, and Infinity Inc. It gets me reading books I’d otherwise have skipped out on.


I just wish Marvel would do it. Marvel who drops prices at random times, who does sales with whatever is currently popular (like the countless times they’ve done a big sale of Bendis Avengers issues). The ‘digital exclusives’ are things like the freebie Saga books that I occasionally get from my local comic shop, and the Harley Davidson/Avengers one shot. First issues for a buck? Only on sale dates. But hey, they do have digital trades, which DC doesn’t do. Those are pretty nice. I mean, the selection is piss poor, but I love the idea.


But Marvel does have a digital strategy! One of their next big things was Infinite Comics, the future of digital! The first issue was kinda awesome, taking advantage of the methods used to read digital books and creating a very unique experience with a really good issue. Unfortunately, they did one issue, with the next coming out with a future issue of AVX, and the third and final with the last issue of AVX. So their digital strategy is three issues in three months.


Smallville will go three issues in a row, then take a few off, then come back for three more. Batman, Superman, and Justice League all work alternate weeks but all manage at least two issues a month. Then you’ve got that Arkham Unhinged book I’ve never read that seems to drop weekly. There’s always new digital content on there, every single week. I don’t care how awesome Infinite Comics are, they aren’t comparable to having content every week as opposed to every god knows when.


Digital is going to be the way of the future, and while I’m not going to say that publishers need to go head first into the deep end with it, they do need to embrace it. And really…I’m just talking about Marvel Comics, who are too content doing nothing.


Hey, you know what would be a fantastic digital comic for Marvel to do? It’s one they attempted in the days before Comixology became the digital standard, and one that never should have been cancelled.



What I read this week:


  • Batman #9
  • Green Lantern #9
  • Grifter #9
  • Justice League Beyond #7
  • Legion Lost #9
  • Resurrection Man #9
  • Suicide Squad #9
  • Superboy #9
  • Avenging Spider-Man #7
  • Journey into Mystery #637
  • Scarlet Spider #5
  • Uncanny X-Force #25
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #10
  • X-Men Legacy #266
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #9
  • Invincible #91
  • Incorruptible #29
  • The Tick #100


Top Five Books of the Week:


5. Justice League Beyond #7

4. Incorruptible #29

3. Green Lantern #9

2. Uncanny X-Force #25

1. Batman #9


What I Watched This Week:


  • New Girl
  • Community
  • 30 Rock
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Touch
  • Fairly Legal
  • Young Justice
  • Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
  • Cleveland Show
  • Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • American Dad
  • Game of Thrones
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • WWE Raw


The Worst Things I Saw On Shelves:


Thanos is back? Really? Is Loki going to show up as an evil adult too? How else can we cater to the movie crowds? Take a book, make it not make any sense to the current canon, and then put the movie roster all over the covers and watch it sell. What could have been a promotion to actually sell books that mattered, we’ve instead gotten a fourth Avengers book that…doesn’t even tie in to the big giant Avengers mega event right now.


Three books of the second wave of New 52 books hit last week, none this week. They should have spaced these new books out better.


New Cheshire not being Jade is fail.


The Culling is a hot bloody mess of I don’t even know.


The Best Things I Saw This Week:


I saw Avengers. Twice. Actually, I was in a self imposed hiatus last week until I saw it, which is why there was no column. And the second viewing, well, that’s why this one’s a bit short. What can I say? It was awesome.


No regrets buying Tick #100, as I’ve really always wanted to buy an issue of The Tick and have really just never gotten around to it. I grew up on that cartoon, I loved it. Hell, I still love it and am mad that there’s no decent full collection of it anywhere. Invincible drew me to the cover


I finally bought an issue of Journey into Mystery. This means Glazer now has to read something…I’m just not sure what it is anymore.


Man, is it just me or did Spider-Man have a renasaince and nobody noticed? Amazing is fantastic, Avenging is a consistent read no matter who is writing it, and there’s this movie coming out that looks kinda sorta awesome. It’s great that Spider-Man is back to being prominent in the Marvel Universe because of high quality books instead of just sorta being there.


I finally got to watch the first season of Necessary Roughness and I’m going to continue saying that “anything on the USA Network is worth watching”. I think Covert Affairs and In Plain Sight are the only shows I haven’t watched, and I’m only a season deep in Burn Notice and Royal Pains, but…White Collar and Psych are my two favorite shows right now. Suits is awesome, Fairly Legal is great, and really, the network has done a great job reinventing itself. I’m going to watch the Common Law pilot tonight, DVR’d it but wanted to finish Necessary Roughness first.


My Pissed Off Moment of the Week:


Those fucking assholes at NBC Chuck’d Community. Short order the next season and dump it on Friday’s to die. That’s worse than cancellation, that’s just dangling it tauntingly in your face. I mean, I do want more episodes, but the cancellation is a burn. Especially since it hasn’t even been six months since I had to say goodbye to Chuck, my favorite show, in the exact same manner that they’ve announced.


Top Five Moments of the Week:


5. Man, I can’t imagine Sinestro’s pain. Green Lantern #9


4. She Hulk and the KITTIES! Avenging Spider-Man #7


3. Rogue vs. The Avengers. Nuff Said. X-Men Legacy #266


2. Because, sometimes, you just have to rip out the wires and see what happens. Especially when there’s not enough time to properly disarm the nuke. Scarlet Spider #5


1. Bruce Wayne has the best guard dog. Batman #9



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The Gold Standard

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