Comic Book Plus: Digital Superheroes
by Bob Schwartz
If it isn’t apparent from previous posts, the premier pop cultural medium of these times (meaning the last century) may not be movies or music or television or any of the usual suspects. It is comic books, and while explaining that in detail will have to wait for another post, just ask the entertainment enterprises that have built billion-dollar franchises on that foundation. Hint: Don’t just look at the movies; look at video games, which are sometimes expressly, sometimes implicitly interactive comic books at heart.
Digital has provided new ways to enjoy the old and the new. Comixology, for example, offers an excellent cross-device platform for digital comics. But if you love comic books as essential cultural artifacts, the digital pickings have been slim and erratic. Of course comic book connoisseurs and scholars have been scanning and distributing them for as long as there has been an internet, but organization, information and, above all, copyright integrity has been missing.
The developers of the Comic Book Plus are digital and cultural superheroes. “Free and Legal” they trumpet, and nowhere in the universe can you both read and download such a collection representing decades of this historical basis of American—of world—culture. Free and legal. (Note: The downloads are in special comic book file formats that require some sort of reader. One way to deal with this is with Calibre, the world’s most popular free ebook manager and converter. Calibre will convert the comics to any format you choose, e.g., epub or pdf, to be read on your existing readers.)
If you love comic books and graphic novels, no more needs to be said. If you love pop culture and its origins, immerse yourself in the sequential art of these digital waters. Just make sure you have some time to spare because you won’t want to come out. And for those in the know, just tell them Will Eisner sent you.