July 31, 2013
Comic Books: From Paper To Pixel
With the release of The Wolverine this week, many people, comic fans or not, rushed to the theatres to see another epic movie about the X-Men’s most popular character. As exciting as it is to see Hugh Jackman bring Wolverine to life on the big screen, nothing can quite compare to reading what he does in the extensive Marvel-verse. With many of the comic books that older generations grew up and loved going from the dusty pages to a digital media, one is left wondering what this means for comic readers: will the technological revolution of today completely turn comics obsolete or will there be a subtler transition in store?
Everything we know is being converted to some form of digital format or being upgraded with the latest technology to make things easier for the average person in today’s fast-paced lifestyle. So. what does this mean for comics, which are a symbol of a time before everything became digital? Could we be seeing the extinction of a beloved icon?
Before you get too worried, let me assure you that “extinction” is highly improbable. The Marvel Universe is not going to disappear anytime soon. Marvel will continue to bring new movies following old storylines, helping younger audiences learn to appreciate comics, while bringing a sense of nostalgia for older viewers. Some will continue to follow the long-tradition of collecting paper comics and preserving the mint condition of timeless classics (some of which can range to the hundreds of dollars!).
For others, there is an alternative to emptying your piggy bank: Marvel Unlimited. Marvel Unlimited is a service offered by the company to promote readers to read comics at an affordable price. For either $10 a month or $70 a year, intrigued readers can access all comics in the Marvel Unlimited vault (which currently includes over 13,000 issues) and read as much as they want for no extra cost. While the reader doesn’t actually own the comics, it is more like an extensive Marvel “library” without the fear of overdue fees. Of course, readers can pay to get an electronic copy (or real if they choose!) of their favorite issues, but as a user of Marvel Unlimited, I greatly enjoy having an archive of comics to enjoy at my leisure.
E-comics will be the way of the future. As paper comics become less and less popular, more and more readers will transition to the electronic format, enjoying the latest series via their handheld devices and computers. Some will just enjoy the movies, never bothering to read a comic and others will just read comics online; but either way, both will have started from paper. The stories that we follow now, and the characters that we love to watch and read, will have started with some stories on paper dating back as far as the 60’s.
Comics will never really die. They can only adapt to their fans’ interests. Just like the characters have become more complex, the universe more expansive, and the themes ever-changing, so will the comics themselves adapt to society’s wants. We have much to look forward in the years to come, and one can be assured that comics will be more readily accessible to those who’re intrigued; after all, one only has to go on the internet.
Image Credit: Marvel