Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 28, 2010

If The iPad Is A Wake-Up Call, There's A Lot Of Bed Head Out There

Comic Book Resources did the smart thing and interviewed a bunch of current comics players in various companies' digital departments and in punditry positions about the iPad announcement yesterday. That said, I don't think anyone acquitted themselves particularly well in that article, at least to my novice's eye. I don't think most people covering such technical news expected the announcement yesterday to have a bolt from the blue quality that if it were a TV show would lead to a fade out, a "two weeks later" across a black screen, and then a picture of a subway car slammed wall to wall with people reading the New York Times on these devices. I don't. I think there's a certain level where this possibility was teased to give some urgency to what is a PR presentation at its heart, and a lot of breathless blogging was done in supplication to that bit of PR salesmanship, but for the most part the people one reads when exploring the topic seem to be treating this as less the arrival of the future but another announcement -- an important one -- that gets us closer to what the future will look like, the way pieces of the board on the old game show Concentration would be removed to show more of the rebus underneath.

What I got from the comics people, though, is that there's a ton more stuff to be decided, kind of a big, general, "we'll see." So while it's now easier to conceive of a time when I might upload 50 issues of Love and Rockets from my own collection to read on my way to San Diego Con, it seems like comics is facing the same issues of commitment and pricing and overall strategy between now and that scenario. If anything, I think yesterday was a good day for those comics makers and publishers who haven't really invested as much as some companies have, in that there seems to be very little of a tactile advantage to having thought out your game strategy when they're still making the playing board. I'm sure many will disagree, but that was my take away. So it's a wake-up call in that respect -- the pricing was a surprise, and practically screamed "closer than you think!" -- but I wonder if only a few folks were still asleep in a way that needed to hear that.
posted 3:00 pm PST | Permalink

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