The Fangirl Concern: Read New Tank Girl Digitally or Physically? That is the Question.
Jan 15, 2013 by     6 Comments    Posted In: Editorial

The Fangirl ConcernOur music is MP3, our books are on a Nook, Kindle or iPad, and our photos usually make it onto Facebook before, if ever they get printed. So, why is the conversion so hard for comics?

It could be the price point. While books on Amazon, and sometimes Barnes & Noble, become cheaper and cheaper to purchase digitally, many comics cost the same as print. No one is arguing market share and profits for comics. They’re low. However, that doesn’t change the debate that for the same price as having a bunch of “01100011 01101111 01100100 01100101″ that disappear when the company goes bankrupt one day, they can have a physical copy now. Pay to have a physical copy that you have to care for, bag, board, protect from moisture, fire, children, dogs, cats and even the absent minded husband who is looking for a place to set his drink. Do these things and you do not have to worry about renewing licensing fees at a later time to continue reading your comic.

I have personal reasons, since reading digitally gives me headaches. Not just little tiresome small headaches, but massive squint your eyes and cry headaches. Of course staring at Twitter, Tumblr and typing all day might have something to do with that. Titan ComicsSo, lets assume that’s not an issue for the majority of the comic buying public.

Just last week another company threw down the gauntlet with the announcement that they would begin their own creator owned comic line. Then today, that company, Titan Comics, announced a new series for the ultimate liberated female persona, with the title Solid State Tank Girl. It’s not shocking. Titan finished a mini-series just last summer for the seasoned yet precocious character.

For anyone out there who is not familiar with Tank Girl she drives around and lives in a tank, dates a kangaroo, and has had millions of dollars in bounty on her head. She generally represents the essessnce of the 80s punk/anarchist movement, and was created by one of the guys who would Solid State Tank Girllater create Gorillaz. Tank Girl falls in line with books like Cerebus; whether or not it’s to your taste everyone should read it once. SO, it’s not a matter of if you read Solid State Tank Girl, but how: digitally or physically?

If that is where you stand, than the debate is probably moot: go digital. You’re not looking to make an investment or admire the artwork on the page. You’re looking for a quick read to help familiarize yourself with a character that changed the perspective of comics for many during the 1990s. Digital can also streamline your collection by having it all in a central location, that can be called up by your computer, smartphone or tablet.

However, for those who have developed collections, need the feel of the page, and not worrying about sinking money into a license that disappears when the application company gets bought, bankrupt or defunct one day, physical is the way to go. Oh, yeah, and physical copies can appreciate in value, if cared for properly. After all, you’re tracking your collection on StashMyComics for a reason. You want to know how much those books are worth, even if you KNOW you’ll never part from them… ever.

So, how do you read comics: digital or physical? Leave your comments below. Are there some books where different rules apply? Let me know, and help me make up my own mind.

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6 Comments Add Comment

  • TomHef January 15, 2013 at 10:31 am

    With the acquisition of my new Kindle Fire HD, any weeklies I get (and I don’t get many) are going to be digital books. The ComiXology app on Kindle is a wonderful reading experience, even if they don’t supply access to all the books each week (full Marvel, no DC on their Kindle app, which is a huge strike against them, and I think most everything else). I only really read Marvel, though, and some indie stuff, so the absence of DC on Kindle is not a dealbreaker like me like it would be (and should be) for others.

    But I still buy physical copies of stuff I really like and want to keep long-term, but only in trade paperbacks and hardcovers, usually also brought for huge discounts on Amazon or discounted at my LCS, which offers 20% off all new trades. Weeklies don’t keep well enough, and it’s kind of annoying to have to sift through them looking for a six issue run that I really want to read right at that moment, even though I actually do keep the ones I have left in chronological order.

    So the question isn’t SOLELY physical vs. digital. Which physical or digital format we’re specifically talking about is part of the question as well.

    Also, the debate is “moot”. Not “mute”. Just FYI. Thumbs up!


  • Jason January 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

    When Tom debates, I mute him in my mind.


  • Chip Reece January 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

    The debate is now moot. :)


  • Richard January 17, 2013 at 4:36 am

    There is a lot more to physical comics than meets the eye. You get the comic shop experience. It self a rather trite ritual that I find to be a fun experience. I prefer the social interaction with real life humans as opposed to limiting myself to forums online. Keep in mind that I enjoy the forums as my friends would kill me if I talked about what happened in X-Men this week… again. I find the digital vs. physical comic a personal preference. The main thing is people are reading comics.


  • TomHef January 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    @Jason – Hey! Well… that’s a good idea.


  • TronJavoltage January 21, 2013 at 9:34 am

    I prefer the comic shop experience as well…the going in, the looking, deciding, asking questions, sharing information, walking out feeling like it was ME that won that deal even if I didn’t…all that counts.

    Or you could just click “Buy” on a website/app if that’s what you prefer. Not me, though.