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  1. #1
    Administrator Jonah Weiland's Avatar
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    Default One Fan's Opinion 6/29/07 - The Format Fanatic

    Erik's a self proclaimed "format fanatic." He remembers the day when he saw his first Treasury edition and from there his fascination with the different formats comics come in has grown.

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/columns/?column=20
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  2. #2
    infinite trades riftt's Avatar
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    these are the types of columns I love from Erik. I am currently an exclusive tpb buyer and it is made possible by the great amount of stuff out now. I'm not rich like Erik so I only buy one version (usually the highest quality available ie hardcover over tpb, absolute over hardcover, etc) of what I like, but it is good to have options.
    talk hard

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    I like the variety of comics formats, too. (I collect everything from old British weeklies to hardcover European albums.) Not too long ago, I got sent a review copy of that Jack Cole and Plastic Man book.

    Woo!

    That was probably the only time the layout of a book genuinely creeped me out. (And of course, I'm referring to the very end of it.) Absolute genius.

    And yeah, anything that comes out in that Complete Peanuts/Dick Tracy/Walt & Skeezix format is pretty nifty, too.

    DC just published a Jack Kirby Omnibus in a format perfect for the subject: a thick 400 page book, nicely printed on what looks to be Mando paper. They kept to the original color palette, so a larger size or a glossier, whiter paper would have been inappropriate. That's not to say I don't appreciate their Absolute Editions, though. (The Absolute New Frontier is a must-own!)

    I just wish that there were more "regular comics" that were worth their cover price. (And by "regular comics," I don't mean 24 page chapters for an eventual trade.)

  4. #4
    Beware the Creeper! MichaelMogg's Avatar
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    So Eric, where's the Savage Dragon DVD rom? That'd be cool. "Digital Dragon". :D I hope with your love of different formats, Image will be among the first to utilize the digital formats.

  5. #5
    Wahoolazuma LtMarvel's Avatar
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    We were on a cross-country trip in our camper. My mom knew I loved Shazam! and bought me a treasury sized one. My brother got the Best of DC treasury. He was pre-reading age, so I had to read that one to him before I could read my own.

    Good times!
    "I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."

    Nick Helm, funniest gag winner, Edinburgh Fringe Festival

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMogg View Post
    So Eric, where's the Savage Dragon DVD rom? That'd be cool. "Digital Dragon". :D I hope with your love of different formats, Image will be among the first to utilize the digital formats.

    If i´m not mistaken Erik DID publish a cd-rom with the first
    10 or 20 issues of Savage Dragon over 10 years ago. At least
    I remember seeing an ad for that. But Erik has frequently
    stated that a comic should be read in printed format and he
    doesn´t show much interest in digital comics.

    Who knows, maybe we will see digital image comics one day
    but I agree with Erik on this one: Reading comics on the screen
    just isn´t what they are meant to be.
    Stefan Kalscheid
    Düsseldorf, Germany

  7. #7
    Beware the Creeper! MichaelMogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tribalman View Post
    If i´m not mistaken Erik DID publish a cd-rom with the first
    10 or 20 issues of Savage Dragon over 10 years ago. At least
    I remember seeing an ad for that. But Erik has frequently
    stated that a comic should be read in printed format and he
    doesn´t show much interest in digital comics.

    Who knows, maybe we will see digital image comics one day
    but I agree with Erik on this one: Reading comics on the screen
    just isn´t what they are meant to be.
    I feel like Ralphy in A Christmas Story, particularly when he gets his "theme" back expecting the support of his teacher and instead getting in bright red: "You'll shoot your eye out!" :(

    If you say comics aren't meant to be read on a screen, the same can be said for other forms of media as they are changing with the times: movies aren't meant to be viewed on a home television; news isn't meant to be on the Internet; music isn't meant to be heard anywhere but live, etc.

    I'm not saying Mr Larsen should stop making Savage Dragon in printed form, I'm simply saying that it would be nice to also have a "digital omnibus" of sorts, in addition to the other formats.

    I'm going on vacation for a month and I can hardly justify bringing a stack of comics with me when one DVD would suffice. Anyway, that's just one fan's opinion. ;)

  8. #8
    Administrator Jonah Weiland's Avatar
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    CD-Roms -- that's interesting. Marvel had a couple of high profile collections of their books released on CD-Roms. IIRC, they did sell pretty well, but we've seen very little in the way of CD-Rom releases of comics -- are publishing choosing to forgo that idea, instead waiting for the day when someone figures out how to do digital downloads effectively?

    I have the Spider-Man CD Roms that have over 500 issues in them and love it. I believe it's PC only, which will make me sad once I finish making the switch to the Mac platform later this year.
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    I've been collecting and reading comics since 1970. I like how the new comics have the bright colors. However, I would buy more comics if the comics were printed on cheaper paper. Is there any talk of printing comics back on the cheap or recycled paper? Maybe more people would buy comics again if the price got cheaper?I know im off the subject but is there anyone out there agree with me?
    Mike

  10. #10
    Beware the Creeper! MichaelMogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heymikey125 View Post
    I've been collecting and reading comics since 1970. I like how the new comics have the bright colors. However, I would buy more comics if the comics were printed on cheaper paper. Is there any talk of printing comics back on the cheap or recycled paper? Maybe more people would buy comics again if the price got cheaper?I know im off the subject but is there anyone out there agree with me?
    Mike
    Are we even sure that the "cost of paper" is a reason for the high prices? I'm guessing with increased technology the quality of paper has also risen with little effect on the cost. It'd be interesting to see the actual breakdown of the cost of a standard issue, including the creative team involved, paper and printing, the revenue generated from advertising, etc. The whole thing seems kind of esoteric.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=Jonah Weiland;5044880]CD-Roms -- that's interesting. Marvel had a couple of high profile collections of their books released on CD-Roms. IIRC, they did sell pretty well, but we've seen very little in the way of CD-Rom releases of comics -- are publishing choosing to forgo that idea, instead waiting for the day when someone figures out how to do digital downloads effectively?QUOTE]

    Once someone figures out how to do digital downloads effectively, that'll pretty much put the last nail in the coffin for "standard" format comics. Here's how I figure it'd go down:

    The big publishers offer entire-line subscriptions at deeply discounted prices. (They could offer a lower over-all/higher per-comic cost sub, if one just wanted to, say, follow any Batman or X-Men titles.) Savings should be substantial, as the downloads eliminate printing/transportation costs, as well as cutting distributors and retailers out of the equasion. The download subs fund the creation of the original material, which in turn form the basis of hardcover albums, trade paperbacks and omnibus editions.

    To advertise the material, the publishers would have to put out something on the stands/bookstores, probably cheaply-produced Shonen Jump-type phonebooks, showcasing serialized adventures, and providing glimpses of other projects, with lots of ads to check out the website for those digital subs. (And you just know that they'd have to put out something along the lines of the Uncle John's Bathroom Reader series, for tradition's sake if nothing else.)

    Hardest hit would be kids comics and independants, which rely more heavily on the pamphlet format. It won't be easy for distributors or comic shops either, which will be forced to adapt to the new status quo.

    There'll be a lot of reluctance at first, but give it a decade.

    I'll miss the 32 pagers, but it'd be nice to have access to every story you wanted to read at your fingertips. (Even today, I like to scan favorites from my collection into my computer for easy access. It's a pain, but it's great to be able to enjoy a Lars of Mars story without having to break open the Mylar.)

  12. #12
    Resident Fanboy Erik Larsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMogg View Post
    I feel like Ralphy in A Christmas Story, particularly when he gets his "theme" back expecting the support of his teacher and instead getting in bright red: "You'll shoot your eye out!" :(

    If you say comics aren't meant to be read on a screen, the same can be said for other forms of media as they are changing with the times: movies aren't meant to be viewed on a home television; news isn't meant to be on the Internet; music isn't meant to be heard anywhere but live, etc.

    I'm not saying Mr Larsen should stop making Savage Dragon in printed form, I'm simply saying that it would be nice to also have a "digital omnibus" of sorts, in addition to the other formats.

    I'm going on vacation for a month and I can hardly justify bringing a stack of comics with me when one DVD would suffice. Anyway, that's just one fan's opinion. ;)
    Honestly--I don't think that comics transferred to digital comics are quite there yet. The original comics in their original form look better. The resolution has something to do with it but it's more than just that--the sizes and shapes of panels and pages were made for that format and they lose something in translation.

    I think we're coming to a time where artists will do things strictly for the web and that the content will look better here than on paper. But thus far, it's been a case of people trying to take printed books and converting them to a digital format and they simply don't look as good.

    If an artist was to, say, treat every half page as a unit and arrange panels in that area on a regular basis--it might work well once transferred on to the web--but books as they exist now lose a lot.

    In particular--double-page spreads get turned to a muddy mush on most small screens and most readers don't have those gigantic high-resolution screens that would allow those spreads to sing. Scrolling up and down and back and forth on those spreads just isn't the same as turning a page and getting the full impact.
    --
    Erik Larsen
    Savage Dragon perpetrator

    www.imagecomics.com
    www.savagedragon.com

  13. #13
    Elder Member Winslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    In particular--double-page spreads get turned to a muddy mush on most small screens and most readers don't have those gigantic high-resolution screens that would allow those spreads to sing. Scrolling up and down and back and forth on those spreads just isn't the same as turning a page and getting the full impact.
    This is really true.

    Years ago I subscribed to Crossgen's comics on the web, and then ended up purchasing the comics later because they looked better in print.

  14. #14
    Beware the Creeper! MichaelMogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Larsen View Post
    Honestly--I don't think that comics transferred to digital comics are quite there yet. The original comics in their original form look better. The resolution has something to do with it but it's more than just that--the sizes and shapes of panels and pages were made for that format and they lose something in translation.

    I think we're coming to a time where artists will do things strictly for the web and that the content will look better here than on paper. But thus far, it's been a case of people trying to take printed books and converting them to a digital format and they simply don't look as good.

    If an artist was to, say, treat every half page as a unit and arrange panels in that area on a regular basis--it might work well once transferred on to the web--but books as they exist now lose a lot.

    In particular--double-page spreads get turned to a muddy mush on most small screens and most readers don't have those gigantic high-resolution screens that would allow those spreads to sing. Scrolling up and down and back and forth on those spreads just isn't the same as turning a page and getting the full impact.
    I can completely agree with you about the splash pages and certainly the art doesn't look as good in digital form, yet is that reason enough not to venture into the digital world? Printed books don't look as good as the artists' originals, yet we still print them. (To be honest, I think those [digital comics] produced by the companies themselves, such as DC's character profile two-page web-comics, look pretty good, and much better than some scanners, which really can't be a good guide for the quality of the digital format.) I don't think we're talking about (or at least I'm not) making Savage Dragon a web-comic exclusive, rather, making it available -- as your article was talking about -- in other formats. Maybe I'm moderate or not forward thinking enough, but I don't see an end to the printed form any time soon. Indeed, if there were web-exclusive versions of books, there may be a backlash from the hardcore paper lovers. ;)

    Also, just as splash pages are horrendous, there is one particular advantage to the format, at least for a reader like me. I have a serious wandering eye problem (maybe I'm the only one), and I really hate to turn a page in a comic and the first thing to catch my eye is a major plot point, at the end or perhaps the entire right-hand side page, completely spoiling my left-hand side read. With digital comics, I can read just a row of panels at a time, and in that respect, to me it seems I'm reading it as it was meant to be read: with spoiler-less surprises. Sounds stupid, I know, but I really like digital comics for that reason.

  15. #15
    Resident Fanboy Erik Larsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMogg View Post
    I can completely agree with you about the splash pages and certainly the art doesn't look as good in digital form, yet is that reason enough not to venture into the digital world?
    Not at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelMogg View Post
    Also, just as splash pages are horrendous, there is one particular advantage to the format, at least for a reader like me. I have a serious wandering eye problem (maybe I'm the only one), and I really hate to turn a page in a comic and the first thing to catch my eye is a major plot point, at the end or perhaps the entire right-hand side page, completely spoiling my left-hand side read.
    That's less of a problem with creators that play to the format as opposed to those that don't have it figured out--but I get what you're saying.

    At the end of the day, BOTH have their advantages.
    --
    Erik Larsen
    Savage Dragon perpetrator

    www.imagecomics.com
    www.savagedragon.com

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