Caroline McCarthy with CNET writes about the digital versus hardcopy comic debate after speaking to several people at this past weekend’s New York Comic-Con:
“There are two kinds of comic fans,” said Russell Williams, the CEO of Flying Labs Software, which offered a demo of the beta for its upcoming online role-playing game, Pirates of the Burning Sea. “There are the collectors, and then there are people who just enjoy it for what it is.” He pointed out a display of Marvel DVDs that contain hundreds of digitized versions of classic Spider-Man comics, and proudly declared that DVDs had made it possible for him to bring 2,500 comic books on the plane with him.
“I’ve always got it with me,” Williams said of the collection.
According to Williams, the digital age has opened up a whole new set of possibilities for the comic industry. “Technology is now getting to the point where the market can follow the people who don’t have the time” or space to maintain a comic book collection, he said. Digital comics, Williams added, can give fans access to older titles that would otherwise be in storage. If his prediction is correct, this will open up a whole new segment of the comic fan market.
Williams doesn’t believe that new media will kill the paper comic book trade. “The collectors will always exist, no matter what,” he said.
Interestingly enough, there’s no mention of the Marvel or Top Cow announcements, but plenty of food for thought otherwise.