PopMatters round-up for the end of 2014

Here are my recent publications on PopMatters since my last update:

In Worlds in Panels:

  • From October, a critical examination of Warren Ellis’ and Jason Howard’s Trees (Image).
  • From November, a reflection on GeekGirlCon 2014.
  • And from this month, a look at how digital comics has affected my relationship to print.

In October, I also had a feature on narrative themes in Buffy, Angel and Grimm.

August “Worlds in Panels”: comiXology’s “My Backups” and DRM

In my most recent column for PopMatters, I look at what downloads of comics from your comiXology library means for the future of DRM:

When I buy a print copy of a comic, there are a number of things I can do with that copy beyond simply reading it myself. I can, as noted, loan it to someone else. I can give it away or even sell it. I may not have to buy the comic in the first place; in many cases I could check the book out from the library to do my reading. With print there’s a clear distinction between owning a copy of a work and owning the work itself. I can do what I want with an individual copy that I come to possess by legal means, but what I can’t do is start making copies of my own for sale or to give away; that right adheres to the owner of the underlying work.

Read the column

New column at PopMatters on the disposability of comics

My latest “Worlds in Panels” considers what it means to think of comics as “disposable” on digital platforms:

While digital media are not indestructible, and publisher practices may change at some point, for the moment, the electronic “printing” and distribution of comics means that scarcity is essentially non-existent. For readers who have been only by default also collectors, this is liberating, and re-enables a relationship to the medium that is primarily about reading and pleasure and less about preservation. I have held onto any number of titles in print simply because I had hopes for a book, hopes that may not have been immediately validated, but the only sure way to see the promise fulfilled was to keep having the book pulled, or risk having it be unavailable when and if it became what I wanted it to be.

Read the column

New Worlds in Panels this week: a year of digital comics

My latest column posted at PopMatters on Thursday. I reflect on a year of buying and reading digital comics, updating the series with which I began 2012.

I continue to experiment with ways to read mainly because one point I made in my initial column on this topic is still salient: “…. digital comics are almost entirely being made from print comics or comics that are made with print as the primary format and digital as a secondary or adjunct release.” While one can find comics that are made with digital as the primary format and that also experiment with the different possibilities of digital—like, for example, the previously referenced Valentine by Alex de Campi and Christine Larsen, Power Play by Kurt Christenson and Reily Brown, or the books in Marvel’s Infinity line—such offerings are the exception. The vast majority of digital comics, even those made expressly for digital distribution, are built on the established book and pamphlet template.

Read the full column.

 

New “Worlds in Panels” and other column updates

I have a new comics column up at PopMatters today. I look at the local comics shop and why I think these are vital places:

With more publishers offering same day as print for digital, the availability aspect of the Wednesday-at-a-comics-shop experience can be simulated electronically, certainly with more verisimilitude than with traditional mail order. But what tablets, phones and computers don’t replicate as well is the (palpable) collective and social aspect of the traditional brick-and-mortar visit. I don’t want to overstate the depth of the connections I’ve made with the clerks or other customers at my local store, but I have had a couple of interesting conversations with the owner, alerted others to certain titles, learned about new books myself, and I also like to see what others are buying.

Read the column

This piece continues what has been a recurring theme for me in the new year: digital comics. My January column is focused on reading, while in February I considered sharing.