Monday, September 12, 2011

Worth Your Digital Dollar

Fantastic Four 1234 #1 - 365 Days of Comics
Fantastic Four 1234 #1 - Morrison & Jae Lee
There's more to owning a digital tablet than just carrying it around in public and absorbing everyone's hatousy (hate and jealousy combined...a.k.a. jealate, the other Italian ice cream). A purchased tablet should be filled with entertainment and information that will come in handy when on a long flight or while at a convention you were forced to attend by your company. I fill my iPad 2 tablet with apps that stream TV shows and films, arcade style games and of course, comic books.

The comic book apps such as Comixology, the Marvel app (which runs on the Comixology platform) and are must haves for digital comic readers, but simply having the apps on your tablet does not mean that you have a vast library of comic books on your reader. The apps will offer free books for download and mental consumption, but not many. Plus, the amount of free high quality comic books is limited. To get the more appealing comic books on your tablet you must purchase them individually (costing anywhere between $.99 to $3.99 a comic book).

The first couple of weeks I didn't purchase any comic books. I simply downloaded the free comics and marveled at how those issues looked digitally: color-popping and awesome! I wanted to buy some books, but which to buy? If I started buying an ongoing I would want to read from the beginning, so the whole title would have to be listed for purchase digitally. Also, I don't want to mix and match my ongoing titles between digital and physical comic books. That would add to confusion when trying to reference an old issue or looking for it to read in the future. So...what to start with?

Great Suggestion Marvel, I'll Take Some More!

As mentioned above, there are free comics available for download...usually they are #1's. Plus, often the #1's are apart of a mini series that only includes a limited run of issues. Perfect for a few reasons.
  1. If the mini series is only 4 issues long, and I get the first one for free, I essentially get a fourth of the series for free. This makes buying the rest of the series quite painless.
  2. The mini series aspect limits my commitment in regards to space dedicated to the downloaded title.
  3. With physical comic books, when I purchase a #1, yet don't particularly care for it, I end up still completing (purchasing) the mini series. "I already spent money on a fraction, I might as well finish out." Since I am now able to test the waters for free with the first issue digitally, I have no monetary commitment to the title and thus, I have no need to complete the mini series and waste money on unwanted content.
Marvel has done I nice job when it comes to offering #1's of mini series. They have offered up entry point issues for limited series runs, by popular creators such as:
  • Grant Morrison and Jae Lee (Fantastic Four 1234) - 4 issues long
  • Mark Millar (1985) - 6 issues long
  • Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin (Doctor Strange: The Oath) - 5 issues long
So far I have spent most of my money on mini series runs, but because of the great issues provided digitally I have also expanded to one-shot issues. Obviously, one-shots come with no continued buying commitment, so these are also great books to spend digital dollars on. The one-shot issue I purchased happen to spawn out of my enjoyment of Jae Lee's art on the purchased mini, Fantastic Four 1234. Lee had done one issue of The Incredible Hulk where he manned the artistic duties for it's interiors. I used the "search creators" function in the Marvel app and found myself a great book.

Marvel Mondays - 365 Days of Comics
Hopefully the issue you want is available on Marvel Mondays
Oh, and if you happen to catch a mini series you have been thinking about purchasing during one of Marvel's discounted "Marvel Mondays" then you are in luck. The "Marvel Mondays" issues are all available for only $.99!

DC Has a Good Thing Going Too

I highlighted why Marvel has been able to sell me by way of mini series, but DC is also doing the same thing. Unfortunately for DC, I have always been more of a Marvel person, but also, I have caught them at a weird time. Buying a mini series about a world of characters that DC has rebooted and made some minor adjustments to (here and there) feels odd. If I like where the DC mini leaves me at the end, will I be angry that I know it doesn't lead to anything that effects the characters today? Maybe. I don't know! And that is why I don't want to take the chance on the old DC mini series books.

Mini series aside, DC does have the owning the complete series from issue #1 thing going for it. Since they are restarting all of their titles at #1, and releasing all of their titles day and date (releasing physical comics the same day as digital), I am more interested in starting up some DC ongoing collections digitally. So far I have bought Grant Morrison's Action Comics #1 and Justice League #1 by Jim Lee and Geoff Johns. With Marvel I am only taking the digital ongoing plunge on their new Ultimate Universe line of comics, but with DC...their whole line is the limit.

If you have a tablet and haven't bought any digital comics yet, but would like to, I suggest checking out the titles I mentioned above...especially Fantastic Four 1234 and Doctor Strange: The Oath.

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