I’ve seen the Future of Comic Books

On July 24, 2009

SDCC 2009This weekend is the San Diego Comic Con, arguably the biggest comics and entertainment event of the year.  It even has its own iPhone app.  It got me thinking: books and comic books have been available on iTunes for a while now, but they’re not distributed as books.  Instead, they’ve been available as apps in the App Store.

There are several very good reasons for this.  First, it’s an existing, popular and cheap distribution method.  Secondly, it’s less likely that someone can illegally copy an executable program than a set of text for a reader (even if the reader has built-in copy protection all its own).  It wouldn’t even surprise me if all of these comics (or regular books) used the same core software.

Recently, BOOM! Studios offered a free preview of their Farscape comic book as an iPhone app and it looked pretty good.  Using your finger, you scroll from panel to panel, showing only one panel at a time on the frame.  The size of the comic readjusted for the screen space of my iPod Touch depending on the size of that particular panel which I was reading.

While it doesn’t duplicate the experience of reading a paper comic (there’s nothing like the smell of printed paper), reading a comic book on the iPod Touch was actually pretty cool.  I hope more comic book companies in the future offer similar digital previews.

I have seen the future of the printing industry and it is on the iPhone or iPod Touch (or possibly the Mac tablet, whenever that is coming out).