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Hello and welcome to a special “birthday bash” edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature, where the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently. Usually we invite a special guest to share what they’ve been reading, but since today isn’t just an ordinary day for us, we thought we’d invite a whole bunch of special guests to help us out — our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources, Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good!
To see what everyone has been reading, click below …
No new comics in the United States today? Well, that’s ok … because we still have some Shelf Porn for you. Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Graham Apperly, who lives in England and shows us his library of graphic novels and collection of wargame miniatures.
If you’d like to contribute to Shelf Porn, it’s easy — just send your photos and write-up to email@example.com. Also, if you’re decorating for the holidays and using any sort of comic book theme on your tree or around the house, we want to see those too! So take some photos and send them to me.
And now here’s Graham …
With DC Comics revealing its digital strategy yesterday, all of the major players now have some sort of digital comics plan, allowing folks who have an Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, etc.), a PlayStation Portable or even just access to the web to read at least some of their comics in a digital format.
I’ve had an iPhone for a while now, and I’ve downloaded free comic apps from distributors like comiXology, Panelfly and iVerse. I’ve used them to download free samples of comics they were offering (sampling Jersey Gods on the iPhone, for example, led to me purchasing the trades). But I never actually bought comics on it. And there’s a big difference between downloading something because it’s free, and actually becoming a paying customer and spending real money on it.
So what held me back? Part of it was because of what was available — most of the material I would have been interested in downloading I already owned in print, and I couldn’t justify buying it again. And part of it was that I just didn’t enjoy the experience of reading a comic on my iPhone as much as I did a print comic, mostly because of the size restrictions. The app developers, of course, tried to make it easy to adjust, offering zoom features and panel-to-panel scrolling, but there’s just something about not seeing the whole page of a comic at a time, versus just seeing each panel, that was the hump I couldn’t get over. I need the forest, and I need the trees.
I lived at home for a few years during college and law school, and soon fell into the habit of watching new Star Trek episodes (various series) with my parents. Every so often, at a particularly cliffhanging commercial break, my mom would turn to me and ask, perfectly serious, what was going to happen next. Of course I didn’t know, and eventually I said something like “oh, this is the one where they beam down to the Cuddly Teddy Bear Planet for tea and scones.” Soon the phrase “teddy bears” became shorthand for “invasion,” “warp core breach,” “musical number,” etc. Indeed, when Voyager’s crew was marooned on a primordial world at the end of the second season, I noted the nasty-looking lizards prowling around and said “look, Mom — there are the teddy bears!”
Accordingly, it is not in my nature to be optimistic about such things; and so I am experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance with all this Brightest Day news coming out of DC. It’s like the publisher has traded so heavily in grim ‘n’ gritty that scrubbing it away will involve a year-long biweekly miniseries which (of course) ties into some of the publisher’s most recognizable titles. Apparently happiness has gotten so far from the DC norm that it’s become a brand.