The 2010 CES, Consumer Electronics Show, saw a flood of news about computer tablets. PC World has a nice break down of all the major tablet related announcements. The most notable being the HP tablet that will run on Windows 7. It looks like HP and Microsoft wanted to strike first with Apple likely to announcement their tablet later this month. Now these are just the color tablets. There are also many new e-readers on the way as well. Tech people will have quite a bit to choose from this year. It’s going to be a “see what sticks” approach as all sorts of tech will be thrown at the proverbial consumer wall. In a previous post I stated my belief these will have little to no impact on the comics industry for the time being, which I still hold. We are going to be seeing quite a bit of talk about though. Vaneta Rogers put together a good article looking at the potential impact of the tablets, based primarly on the anticapted Apple tablet. It does reflect what many around the comics blogosphere are hoping will happen, but the problems are pretty simple and clear. The foremost problem would be the availability of comics, which given the current trend from comics publishers they will not be putting their new releases out digitally at the same time as print. Digital will more then likely be a waiting for the trade type thing where the digital versions will come out months after they first appear in print in the direct market. The comics industry is not in dire straights right now so there really is no reason for them to rush into the world of color tablets. That is a good news for comics as they can safely wait for the magazine industry to set off all the pitfalls and traps of the new medium. Comics will be able to fallow whatever trail the magazine formats blaze. This brings me to.
My predications for 2010
Digital will certainly make a broad impact on the print industry in general. The traditional book market will be the most effected. Comics will remain print first and with the impact digital will have on traditional books I believe we will see a increase in graphic novel and trade sales. People will be saving money by getting books on their Kindle leaving potentially more money and interest in graphic novels. Basically I see the digital boom helping comics on the print side at least until the tablets and e-readers are cheaper and comics friendly.
A quick note on pirating comics as that is something that has come up in the various articles about comics going digital. There is nothing complex about pirated comics. They are just simple jpg or png files made from scans of the books. Those are the same kind of files you see in your webrowser when looking at images online. Essentially any device that can view an image can view a pirated comic. Even things like Marvel’s Digital Comics service is easily cracked as content from there gets posted just as quickly as anything else. The only answer to the piracey issue is to provide a quality product at a affordable price where the majority of people will be willing to buy the product rather then pirate it. It will not stop piracy but it keep it from being a issue where the industry looses money, or even wasting money on the pointless legal battles. Torrent Freak has a good article going into more detail on that very point for those interested.
This and That
Iron Man is getting a new suite, which ties in with Matt Fraction’s tearing down and rebuilding of Tony Stark. Marvel has more on the new armor.
For those wondering about the collected version of DC’s Wednesday Comics, the DC Source blog has a quick look at what the collected version will look like. I’m glad DC kept to the format size as I think it’s good for the comics industry to experiment with print formats with so many non comic books getting sucked up in the digital wave.
The latest Word Balloon has Rick Remender and Tony Moore talking about their current run on the Punisher as well as their work on Fear Agent. It’s worth a listen for those who are fallowing both series. The most notable bit of news to come from it is that the Frankenstein like Punisher will remain so for the foreseeable future in the main Marvel U. I for one am glad to hear that as this has been a unique and fun take on the character. Thankfully traditional Punisher fans can get what they are looking for from the Max line Punisher, so it is a best of both worlds.