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Published:February 6th, 2008 14:42 EST
Media is The Masses: Comic Books... Holding On Line, Too-- paperless comics?

Media is The Masses: Comic Books... Holding On Line, Too-- paperless comics?

By Sean Stubblefield

Certain social and business trends are apparently moving comic books to the Internets.

On two levels, this development is implicit of an emerging pattern that disturbs me.

The first-

The Matrix website featured online comics even before "online" became a new business/ distribution model, but that was an exception for a special occasion, and consistent with the film`s cross-media story telling campaign.

Now, several entities offer comic books on the WWW: zudacomics.com of DC, Marvel`s Digital Comics Unlimited, myspace.com/darkhorsepresents, imagecomics.com/onlinecomics.php, virgincomics.com, arcanacomics.com, heroicpub.com, studentsoftheunusual.com and comicmix.com, plus nbc.com/Heroes/novels.

Newspapers and magazines have already long since gone online. With declining readership- and therefore sales- of printed materials because more people look online for news and are increasingly going digital over analog, printing of newspapers and magazines may eventually cease, substantially decrease, or become a niche/specialty market. Similarly concerning hardback, paperback and comic books, with increasingly less people reading books anyway in favor of alternative digital media entertainment, like video games, YouTube, Myspace, blogs...publishers may be financially/culturally inclined to cut costs and jump on the bandwagon... producing more "e-books" instead- for people who still read books. Our routine utilization of e-mail is practically making postal mail inconvenient, inefficient, and obsolete. Libraries are falling into disuse, and offices are becoming paperless with the standard of using computers to store and seek information.

This paradoxically encourages and almost ensures a self-fulfilling prophesy of decreasing offline publishing. Without portable pad e-book readers, we`re confined to the awkwardness of monitors.

 

Maybe that sounds old-fashioned for so progressive minded a person as me, but computerized books lack the sensual experience of reading actual books.

Portable e-books are sufficient for merely reading, but books printed on paper have physical and emotional sensations that computerized books can`t: smells and tangible, physical form we can touch and see, and a potential history; acquiring a greater sense of "realness" to us because we can feel them in our hands and see them on our shelves.

The experience diminishes. Are we losing too much to gain too little?

This evolution and gravitation towards electronic media is prominently observed in the expansion/relocation of TV and movies online. It`s a principle consideration and motivation of the WGA strike- and, ironically, a side effect.

Our society seems intent on transferring our existence to the Internets.

 

Which leads into...The second-

A social trend of migrating from the real world into the virtual... retreating from and replacing the actual world with the artificial- rather than as a supplementing extension.
Our substitution of analog with digital, symptomatic of an attitude/culture of consumerism and disposability.

A social trend of migrating from the real world into the virtual... retreating from and replacing the actual world with the artificial- rather than as a supplementing extension. Our substitution of analog with digital, symptomatic of an attitude/culture of consumerism and disposability.

Furthermore, it is indicative of our cultural tendency for an instant gratification and convenience inferring laziness. Thus, preferring the insubstantiality of the digitized implies a devaluing or trivializing of media content and lack of commitment.

Until we surpass that, I think we are not ready to handle e-books.

 

"The photograph reverses the purpose of travel, which until now had been to encounter the strange and unfamiliar." -Marshall McLuhan

Currently based in Houston Texas, Sean Stubblefield graduated Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Television Production. A philosopher poet, Stubblefield has been writing non-fiction for 15 years, and has penned eight books to date. His first book, Paradox: A Journey Inside Out is available today at Amazon.com.

For More Information: http://www.myspace.com/exastral` target=_new>www.myspace.com/exastral.