I have been a comic book reader since I was in grade school. I remember watching the G.I. Joe cartoon and playing with the toys daily when I saw at a local convenience store a G.I. Joe comic on a spinner rack.
I asked my Dad if I could buy it and he agreed. I read it on the way home and I was officially hooked. My parents got me an annual subscription to G.I. Joe, The Uncanny X-Men, and X-Factor. I started regularly going to the comic book store and buying anything that looked fun to me…Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, you name it I would buy a copy. I went through a brief period of disinterest and got back into the world of 4 colors around my junior year of high school and never looked back. I am nearing the big 4-0 and enjoy taking my family to annual comic book conventions. Usually, that is the only time I find myself purchasing graphic novels during the year since we do not have a nearby comic store of good quality. I find myself buying graphic novel collections at the conventions and no matter how many I get my hands on they are usually read within a week after the con and I would not find myself reading another comic until a year later at the next convention.
Things changed a little over 2 years ago when I purchased an iPad 2. I discovered two things that changed my purchasing method…I could subscribe to magazines and read them on their corresponding apps through my iPad and I could purchase comic books through Comixology and do practically the same thing. As an adult, carrying a comic book to work to read during my lunch break can be a bit mock-worthy, but having several downloaded on my iPad was unnoticeable. I returned to reading single issues because of the ability to buy them through the app and the simple convenience of it all. Late last year I saw that Marvel comics had an unlimited subscription where you could either pay an annual fee or a monthly one and have access to thousands of Marvel comics at any time through an internet connection. I went with the monthly fee at $9.99 (annual is $69) a few months ago to check it out and so far it has been a blast. I have truly enjoyed catching up with 1960’s/70’s Iron Man issues, reading all of the modern Incredible Hulk’s from the 2000’s, and taking in various mini-series set in the Marvel Universe. The app works great and you can download up to 12 comic books at a time for offline reading.
I know there are people who will always prefer a physical copy in their hands, but for me digital versions are just plain convenient. I only have so much room in my house, so doing most of my reading on electronic devices is a great way to enjoy one of my favorite past times in a convenient manner. One device can store my magazines, comic books, and novels and I can switch back and forth between them with my finger. Digital is the future and the future is now.