I never expected to enjoy digital comics, but I’ve actually found some use for them. What follows is a list of advantages for digital comics versus traditional paper comics (sometimes referred to as “floppies”).
Digital Comics Advantages
1) Potential Savings: If you don’t mind waiting, or being behind on the latest story arcs, new digital comics usually drop in price after they’ve been out a few months. This is an important consideration in light of what comics cost these days. Moreover, digital comic sites like Comixology often have .99 sales and sometimes free issues so readers can try out a title. Free digital first issues of FF (vol. 2), All-New X-Men, and Captain Marvel (vol. 8), got me interested in these titles that I would not have tried otherwise. Sales on collections got me the classic Dark Shadows series without having to pay a prince’s ransom. Rare back issues and classic reprint collections are relatively inexpensive on digital. Plus the expense of boards, bags, and boxes don’t apply to digital comics.
2) Easier to fill Gaps in a Run: I recently went to a dollar sale and bought runs of several titles, but a few issues were missing. Instead of having to search for the missing issues at future visits to comic shops, sales, and shows, I simply went online and downloaded the missing books. I can now enjoy complete story arcs without having to wait, possibly months, before tracking down back issues to fill in the gaps. And most parts of the arcs were only a dollar each, which would have been $4 each if I were subscribing to new paper copies.
3) Save Storage Space and Manual Labor: Having once moved three times in two years, I moved over 30 boxes of comics three times. It was back breaking labor and my knees were about to give out from carrying boxes up and down stairs. As my collection grows I risk running out of storage space (or shelf space for graphic novels and collected editions). This is not an issue at all with my digital collection which goes where I go on a small lightweight device.
Paper Comics Advantages
1) You own an actual book that can later be resold. You may not get back what you paid for it, but you’ll at least recover some of the cost.
2) Owning an actual book, in some cases, means owning a collector’s item that could increase in value. Digital is a good option for some newer comics that are not likely to appreciate.
3) Comics are an art form that can be displayed and shared with others.
4) There is still the thrill of finding that long sought-after back issue in a long-box at a convention. Simply downloading takes the thrill out of the chase.
5) Reading paper is generally easier on the eyes than reading off a screen, especially as folks get older and their eyes produce fewer tears. But I found that reading off the retina screen on my ipad is much easier on the eyes than reading from a computer monitor.