Comic book downloads

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Comic book downloads

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon May 30, 2011 9:01 pm

Back when I was a kid, I bought comics I knew damn good and well were going to suck. But I bought 'em because a certain person drew or a certain character I was following guest starred in it or, hey, it's only $0.75.

But these days, comics are a lot like movies. Most of us don't pay for movies we know are going to suck because they cost too damn much. And comics are exactly the same way. They have caught up.

At a $3.99 price point, there's simply no incentive for your average shnook to experiment on a new title. The whole point of comic books over the years were that they were cheap fiction. But if you remove the "cheap" part of the equation, the entire model kind of falls apart. Which, again, makes obtaining new titles a difficult proposition.

If you've collected for any amount of time, odds are good that you know that you can download pretty much every single comic that's ever been published absolutely for free. You'll need a ton of hard drive space but it's absolutely possible.

This is how I came to follow Morning Glories, the Image comic that started a few months ago. Apart from the cover price, the thing that made taking a chance on MG a trick is how reluctant most people are to talk about it. It's one of those titles that works best when you go into it knowing absolutely nothing about it. At the time, there'd only been six issues so I downloaded all of them.

I read the first one, which pretty much made up my mind to start following the title. I read the other ones just to get caught up. I've seen assembled a nearly full run of the book. I've also added the book to my pull list at my LCS so that I don't miss an issue.

I met Joe Eisma (who is cool as hell, btw), the badass penciller of Morning Glories, at a con and talked to him about this very thing. I told him about the above and how I'd come to follow the book. Eisma smiled and said it didn't bother him. He hears the same line from people all the time so he doesn't worry about potential lost revenue (which isn't measurable) given the increased exposure, widened audience and, thus, higher sales (which is kind of measurable) that illegal downloads offer.

And really, this is true of several titles. Pretty much every single title on my pull list started with downloads. I've since either obtained or else am working to obtain a complete run of each title. There's the Walking Dead, Irredeemable, Incorruptible, the Legion of Super-Heroes, so on and so on.

So really, all of this to say that I just don't understand why some publishers are freaking out over downloads.


Last edited by thecolorsblend on Mon May 30, 2011 9:22 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  webhead2006 on Mon May 30, 2011 9:08 pm

I never dl comics myself. Personally I like to have the actual comic in my hands., but I agree I hate the current 4$ price tag on them. That is why I have limited what I read currently. To just amazing spiderman, new avengers, ultimate spiderman, and trying to get into the new ff title. But ya I been collecting for 11 yrs and man I hate the price uppage. When I started it was 2.25$ for a regular issue.

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon May 30, 2011 10:08 pm

Can you post any examples of his work?

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon May 30, 2011 10:19 pm








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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  Apologist Puncher on Mon May 30, 2011 10:24 pm

Not bad.

What is his book about?

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  webhead2006 on Mon May 30, 2011 10:45 pm

Ya some very good artwork there.

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  thecolorsblend on Mon May 30, 2011 11:04 pm

Apologist Puncher wrote:Not bad.

What is his book about?
Tough to describe but it has a similar tone to Peter David's Supergirl comics or Buffy (the show). Basically, a bunch of seemingly disconnected, unrelated teenagers find themselves at a premiere college prep school. But as the reader moves along through the series, more and more freaky shit comes to light.

There is no commentary, no special insight into the human condition, no "deeper meaning"; it's just a plain ol' good story where the issue always ends with you wanting more.

Plus, obviously Eisma doesn't fuck around when it comes to the art. The stuff up there is just a sampling; the art in the actual issues is a lot better. He has a way of giving each character a distinctive appearance so, even if you didn't have the dialogue or the coloring, you'd still know which character was which based strictly on his line work. That ain't as common among pencillers as it should be, as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  non_amos on Tue May 31, 2011 12:36 am

So really, all of this to say that I just don't understand why some publishers are freaking out over downloads.

I'm not familiar with comics downloads but I know that the music industry has been notorious with the entire downloads issue. I know back years ago Lars Ulrich of Metallica went up against Napster & basically put that version out of business, right? I think there's some 'pay' version now or something but the one that really seemed to matter was the one back then. And wasn't the 'fallout' of things like that that regular people started getting sued for thousands, or even tens of thousands, of dollars by the R.I.A.A.?! And a more recent version of someone would be Gene Simmons of KISS, who claims he'll take your homes & everything else.

On one hand, you can sorta understand the music industry. It was basically putting them out of business, but OTOH, isn't it usually students & poor people doing that anyway? And I don't know what stance the comics industry takes on that. I do know though that as far as music goes though, if I listen to a 'streaming' album online, if I really like it, then I'm subject to go & buy it anyway, because I like it. If I don't like it, then don't buy it. Simple.

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  thecolorsblend on Tue May 31, 2011 1:10 am

Non Amos (if that even is your real name), let me apologize in advance for my allowing this to turn into a rant/blabberfest.

non_amos wrote:I'm not familiar with comics downloads but I know that the music industry has been notorious with the entire downloads issue. I know back years ago Lars Ulrich of Metallica went up against Napster & basically put that version out of business, right?
Yeah, pretty much. This is all going from memory but as I recall, back in 2000 Metallica made a big stink about this. Obviously one can't go behind closed doors but if I had to guess, I'd say that someone from the record label got Lars good and pissed off about this. They needed mega-stars to jump on the anti-mp3 bandwagon (since very few were actively doing so at the time). Metaliica, a band who sets the standard for "useful idiots", agreed with gusto and they launched their now notorious anti-mp3 campaign.

This culminated with them somehow obtaining a list compiled over a weekend of all people on Napster who traded/downloaded/shared Metallica music. The list was said to consist of tens of thousands of people, each of whom was summarily banned from Napster. I should know because I was one of the illustrious "tens of thousands". The actual figure it out there somewhere; it may have been more but I swear to think it wasn't much less.

Anyway. There was a lot of back and forth about it for years. The music biz vs. John Q. Citizen. To the music biz's credit, they REALLY dragged their feet about filing charges. Took 'em years to finally work up the nerve. But eventually they did. Most of the guilty parties cut some kind of deal or plea agreement or something but I think a few had to pay out a couple thousand dollars.

Mind you, the anti-industry backlash that ensued pretty much made legal action a fool's errand. Eventually, someone came to the realization that there was no margin in suing the piss out of their own consumers.

After that, I believe record labels began polluting p2p networks (your Groksters, your Limewires, your Gnutellas, things like that) either with intentionally mislabeled bullshit, "samples" of songs, intentionally fucked up music files, etc. I mean, anybody who thinks that the circulation of those things was somehow an accident is a fucking idiot. Sorry, but there's no nice way to say it.

Something else, I've privately wondered if the labels didn't also circulate nasty virii, trojans and other shit too across the networks (which, by this point, had grown to encompass MUCH more than just music). You could never prove it in court, I'd imagine, but I'd bet my one-eyed milkman that they invented or, at a minimum, willfully propagated that shit to take "thieves" out of action.

I think there's some 'pay' version now or something but the one that really seemed to matter was the one back then.
No doubt. And the hell of it is that any record label that had the nerve to cowboy up and set up some type of pay-for-download system (a la iTunes) back then would've made a fucking fortune. But nooooooooo, they just HAD to stick to their 1960's era business model with their 1970's CD technology. Well fuck you guys, that's not good enough anymore.

Once again, (and I say this as a lifelong Microsoft user) Apple had to come bail everybody's ass out. Between iTunes and iPods, they probably single-handedly saved the entire fucking music industry and I'll bet dollars to donuts the labels will NEVER give them the credit for it.

Prior to Napster (and, really, the mp3 format taking off), the music biz had dabbled in releasing really shitty sounding audio and video samples (streaming-only, of course, the fucks) online. They things looked awful, sounded worse and had so much security and shit built into it that getting the GD things to even play took an act of Congress.

If it's a choice between that (for a FEE, no less) or a free, decent-sounding mp3 file that takes just a few minutes to download... well, holy shit, what did anybody THINK was going to happen?

And a more recent version of someone would be Gene Simmons of KISS, who claims he'll take your homes & everything else.
Hadn't heard that about KISS. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more fan-centric band than them. Very strange.

On one hand, you can sorta understand the music industry. It was basically putting them out of business, but OTOH, isn't it usually students & poor people doing that anyway? And I don't know what stance the comics industry takes on that. I do know though that as far as music goes though, if I listen to a 'streaming' album online, if I really like it, then I'm subject to go & buy it anyway, because I like it. If I don't like it, then don't buy it. Simple.
I've got the world's tiniest violin playing just for the record labels. Look, we all have to work for a living. I'm cool with that. But push comes to shove, labels are middle men. Nothing more, nothing less. When the CD format was first introduced back in the 70's, the discs and players cost a fortune because the mass production facilities had yet to be developed. That's why CD's were said to cost more than vinyl records at the time. In terms of logistics, it is (and was) "easier" to mass produce CD's (a relatively simple process, even then) vs. vinyl records. But until consumer demand and mass production were in better sync with each other, the narrative went, the prices had to remain high.

Which, at the time, was probably true. I could see that.

But what excuse was there for CD's to cost more than vinyl in the late 80's?

What excuse was there for CD's (a non-linear format) to cost more than audio tapes (a linear format with several moving parts) through out the 90's?

GREED. Any other explanation you care to attach absolves the labels. There's simply no excuse for a CD to have cost more than $9 or $10 TOPS from (at the latest) 1990 onward. But people were obviously willing to pay $16, $17, $18 per CD so the labels never adjusted their prices and thus never adjusted their business model. They came to think of their business and success as a birthright... and then they (arguably; I've seen little or nothing to convince me that their business has truly suffered due to illegal music downloads) got fucked in the ass without any lube in the 90's when mp3 downloads hit it big and had the NERVE to be upset over it.

Well fuck them, they made their bed and now they can lie in it.

There are really three general issues here (this goes beyond just music).

01- Content. I'm sorry but if those fucks want my money, they can start releasing content I'm willing to pay for. The movie biz has (mostly) been better at this than the record labels. In the past maybe 10 or 12 years, they've released special edition DVD's with commentaries, behind the scenes shit, deleted scenes, entire TV show seasons, etc. They've largely created content that I'm willing to pay money for.

02- Availability. For the longest time, a lot of stuff out there was simply commercially unavailable. Among Apologists and Routhettes, one highly coveted item is that unreleased two disc Singerman score that has basically everything Ottman composed for the film. Obviously none of us here dig on the movie but I mention the score to point out that, no matter how shit you think the movie is (and it is shit), there is widespread discontent with the officially released single CD Singerman score. So Apologists have downloaded the unreleased special edition double disc version and they listen to that.

You go down the line and there are tons of other examples. The original cut of Alien 3, several of the additional scenes comprising Donner's cut of Superman II, an unreleased Dave Matthews Band album, on and on and on. If the content isn't out there to be purchased legally, core fans are going to find other means of getting their hands on it. Right, wrong or indifferent, that's what will happen.

These SAME fans would be only too eager to pay money for the official version, if for no other reason than so they can get the upgrade in audio and/or video quality that comes from the official release. How do I know this? Because 99% of the stuff from Led Zeppelin's live DVD from several years ago was already out there on the bootleg market. And yet, core Zeppelin fans bought the official version anyway because they wanted the upgraded of what they (mostly) already had through bootlegs and whatnot. I'm one of them, I'm PROUD to have that Zeppelin DVD in my collection in glorious uncompressed PCM stereo sound and pristine video quality, so I'd like to think I've got a dog in this particular race.

Jimmy Page (finally) saw the demand for the video collection and gave the core fans what they were BEGGING for.

Oh, and on top of that? That badboy was a MAJOR sales success (ie, outside Led Zeppelin's most ardent devotees; even your more casual music fans bought the DVD set), proving once again that superior content at a decent price will always be a big earner.

03- Cost. In this day and age, there's simply no reason to pay even $16 for a CD. Hell, I'll go one better than that and say there's no reason to listen to a CD at all. If we must have physical media for these things, it's high time to develop a new format. The CD is a product of the 70's. It was fine 35 fucking years ago but these days people want a higher quality presentation. On top of that, they don't want to pay twenty GD dollars for it.

Classic example, Pearl Jam decided to release their entire 2000 tour. Not just a compilation of various shows on one CD, not just a specific show in its entirety, I mean THEY RELEASED THE ENTIRE FUCKING TOUR. They priced it at somewhere around $12 or $13 for a 2-CD set. So if you went to a show on that tour and you wanted to relive the experience, not only could you do so, but you could listen to it in PROFESSIONALLY-MASTERED SOUND. As (at the time) a core Pearl Jam fan, it was a pleasure to buy show after show after show because you get the variations in the setlist, obscure songs you don't hear at every show, Eddie Vedder going on rants that would normally be cut out of official releases, etc. True, it was a pretty stripped down affair (you literally got JUST the CD's and not much else) but the point is that it could be done even 12 GD years ago!

Bottom line? Make it great, put it out there, keep it cheap and get rich.

I can't make it any simpler than that.

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Re: Comic book downloads

Post  non_amos on Tue May 31, 2011 1:37 am

Hadn't heard that about KISS. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more fan-centric band than them. Very strange.

Actually it's pretty much Gene Simmons on his own I think. You can probably find more info about it on his own site: www.genesimmons.com. I know last Fall he spoke out against illegal downloads at some conference or something, I believe in France or somewhere. Well, next thing you know, hackers crashed his websites (non-KISS) for nearly a week! Just recently he reported on his site about the FBI catching up with some of them.

I listen to KISS' music but to be fair, Gene is really the only member that continually pisses me off! Why? Because he comes across as being arrogant & full of himself. His attitude seems to be like 'I'm Gene Simmons. I'm rich. Bow down & worship ME!' While he simultaneously threatens to sue 'pimple-faced college kids' out of their houses, cars, etc. It's just a huge turn-off to me, even though I like their music. And you know that Paul Stanley is certainly as wealthy but he doesn't 'flaunt it' like that; he values his privacy, & he actually seems to care about the music instead of just making a quick buck.

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