Digital comics: All your apps are belong to us
November 22nd, 2011
02:50 PM ET

Digital comics: All your apps are belong to us

Editor's note: Christian Sager is the creator of "Think of the Children" and "Border Crossings." He has also written essays about the comics industry, punk subculture and national identity.

I don’t buy products from my local comic shop anymore.

The retail prices were already too high for my budget, but in-store markups turned me off even more. I realized if I mail-ordered my comics ahead of time they came with a significant discount. I just filled out my November order and I’m saving an average 32% on what those comics would cost me off the rack. More comics for fewer monies.

The downside to mail ordering is that I have to wait to read them - between two and four weeks after the books are released in stores.

Unless I want the stories spoiled, I can’t participate in conversations about the newest issues. And if I don’t order something that unexpectedly gets rave reviews, I’m stuck waiting several months for it to be collected. It’s that or visit my local shop again, where the critically acclaimed books are either sold out or marked up.

With the advent of digital comics, I’m starting to get the best of both worlds. Many comics are available on the cheap and if I absolutely feel the need to read something the day it came out, it takes less than a minute to download it legally.

Digital comics seem to be growing two audiences: one that is looking specifically for less-expensive comics than what's available in stores, and one that aren't as concerned with price as they are immediate acquisition.

Digital comics have a variety of prices, from as low as 99 cents per issue to as much as $3.99 for an issue released digitally the same day that it’s distributed in print (a.k.a. “day-and-date”).

“Clearly both high-quality storytelling and same-day-as-print releases have value,” said David Steinberger, CEO of ComiXology, the current top digital comics vendor.

If you’ve never bought digital comics before, you’re probably wondering where to get them and what makes the vendors different from one another. To learn more about how other readers consume digital comics and what’s involved in their production and distribution I turned to three different digital comic vendors (Graphicly, ComiXology and iVerse) and one manga publisher who is distributing their digital content alone (VIZ Media). FULL POST

J.J. Abrams on 'Super 8,' the next 'Trek' and his favorite Con
J.J. Abrams, right, directs the cast of "Super 8."
November 22nd, 2011
01:53 PM ET

J.J. Abrams on 'Super 8,' the next 'Trek' and his favorite Con

J.J. Abrams may have made his name in television with series like "Alias," "Lost" and "Fringe," but he's had a succession of hits on the big screen. He delivered the most recent this past summer with the coming-of-age sci-fi film "Super 8," just released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Abrams told CNN that this was his most personal movie to date. "It was definitely very familiar to me as a kid growing up in that time making those movies," he said of the story, about a group of filmmakers in their early teens. "I loved the magic trick of moviemaking, the expression of it, whether it’s makeup or visual effects. There was something about doing it that felt like real life sort of paled in comparison."

Abrams considers himself "lucky" to have found such a talented young cast – including Joel Courtney and Elle Fanning – because they made the characters believable.

[More, including the latest on the next "Star Trek," the new series "Alcatraz," and Abrams geeks out, after the jump.]


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