Some Quick Thoughts On Some of the Compositional Sacrifices of Digital Comics

I wrote this about digital comics elsewhere on Ayo’s facebook.  Thought I’d share it here.  And I mean, I’m not trying to be “digital is bad!!!” lady.  Because in terms of music, movies, and book books I actually think digital works really well.  But in terms of comic and fine art for instance, I think digital sacrifices a lot more in these mediums than in others. So blah blah ado:

I don’t think the digital experience is as good, fundamentally.  For one, in terms of the audience, how they could be reading your comic digitally could vary wildly in format, and that could really change the experience.  A two page spread is almost impossible to read on an iphone for instance.  Let alone appreciate.

There are a lot of compositional elements that are much less effective and impressive when you’re reading it in the digital formats as available.  The emotional oomph of a highly detailed stunning two page spread is really diminished in the form.  There is an interesting middle space if you’re ONLY making a comic for digital, as in Private Eye where Marcos Martin is doing a lot of things with the middle of his spreads that you couldn’t do in a printed comic with a spine.  But I don’t think that trade off is much in favor of comics as a whole.  

There are things in art which digital does diminish just because of space, and the physical action is different.  Like if you read European albums on a kindle, you completely lose out on the physical act of having to move your head from panel to panel, which changes the experience from an appreciation of the details of a particular panel, to the consideration of the page as a whole, which radically changes the experience and impressiveness.

Additionally, there seems to me much more wild fluctuation in terms of how color will reproduce itself than there would be in print.  Reading a comic on my kindle vs. my computer monitor produces wildly different experiences of color.

It comes down to the end of the day, comics like some fine art, depend a great deal on scale and reproduction, and digital can and does strip a lot of that magic out for the sake of convenience.  You can’t fully appreciate Picasso’s Guernica in a screenshot for instance.

So yeah.  I think digital is alright for it’s disposability, but for comics I legit care about, I need to have that in my hands.

Last but not least, you can buy MY digital comics from gumroad.  And I’ll have a new digital only Hecate Snake Diaries in August.


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