When it comes to industries adapting to the digital age, some have had more difficulty with it than others. Companies like Kodak for instance have suffered hugely simply because the product they offered is no longer as relevant since the introduction of new technologies.
One other industry that has struggled is the humble comic book. While publishing has started to change in general with ‘print on demand’ and ‘eBooks’ becoming more and more common, comic book publishers such as Marvel and DC have had more difficulty embracing these new opportunities.
However that said those aforementioned industry giant are at least starting to adapt and have actually shown some impressive innovation in order to stay modern and to take advantage of what’s no possible. Here are some examples of how Marvel in particular has cottoned on – which perhaps other industries could learn from.
Perhaps the most obvious thing that needed to happen was for there to be a digital way to read comics in the same vein as e-books. I’m glad to say that this is finally here, and the even better news is that they aren’t called ‘eComics’.
Digital comics are simply files you download that allow you to read comics with any Comic Book Reader either by viewing entire pages at a time, or by focussing on individual panels. It’s absolutely ideal for reading on iPads or large smart phones and it really is a way to bring your comic book collection with you in your pocket.
The other good news is that many of these digital comics come out the same day as print, which means that even if you can’t make it to the comic book shop, you can still keep up with the stories you follow. The next step for digital comics and what’s clearly currently missing from the industry is a dedicated comic book reader (or at least an eBook reader that’s color and supports digital comics). It’s a bold move as it would be costly to manufacture and would have a limited appeal… but it would still cement comics’ move into digital permanently.
Infinity comics are a product which come from Marvel and basically offers a slightly different form of digital comic. These are just the same as the digital comics described above, expect that they add to the experience by offering animations and more cinematic transitions between panels. This way if a character is knocked out, the panel might slowly fade to black, or you might see panels appearing one after the other in different places around the screen. It works well to add more drama and direction to the comic book experience and has happily managed to avoid the mistake of making the comics too interactive which might have distracted or taken away from the pure experience.
But this then could threaten the popularity of real comics to a degree could it not? If you weren’t able to get the same interactivity and extra content? Well Marvel has accounted for this seemingly by adding augmented reality to many of their comics. This then means that with the right app on your smart phone, you can now point your camera at the page and be treated to additional content appearing on the screen such as music, 3D images or even behind the scenes illustrations and information.