Ultraist Studios Blog Journal thoughts, musings and other rambling…

June 8, 2007

Ripped From the Blog and Mail

Filed under: Ramblings — M Kitchen @ 1:32 pm

Continuing with the free exchange of ideas about comics and the digital future which had started here and here, Dave Sim had this to say in today’s Blog and Mail:

I’m optimistic about the medium’s chances in the long term. For one thing, I don’t think it can be successfully devoured by the Internet, unlike anything that can be digitized like movies or music or pure text. When Matt Dow mentioned getting a headache when he tried to read a McFarlane issue of Spider-man on his computer screen (having gotten a CD-Rom of the complete Spider-man), I think it points out the extent to which we barely grasp how intricate and idiosyncratic the process of reading a comic book is. I’m convinced that everyone reads comic books differently. Some people look at the overall page first and then focus on the first panel. Some people focus on the first panel’s image and digest that and then read the word balloon or caption. Some people read the word balloons or captions first and then look at the image. Some people read all of the word balloons or captions and then look at the pictures or are barely aware of the pictures while they’re reading. Some people look at the overall page, then the overall panel, then various details in the panel. To put it simply, the computer can’t come close to aligning itself with any of these ways of reading sufficiently to duplicate our impression that reading a comic book is a passive experience like watching television or reading a book. To even come close to imitating how the human eye and mind engage in reading comics you would need a very complicated joystick and a lot of practice with it before you could make the comics-on-computers reading experience comparable to the real world comics reading experience. And it would still be limited. When you ZOOM IN on a panel in the real world, you can still see the rest of the page in the periphery of your vision. When you ZOOM IN on the computer, everything else disappears except what you’ve zoomed in on. When you PULL BACK you have to completely reorient yourself. It’s like reading with blinders on.

I think in the next hundred years or so, we’ll find that computer immunity of the sort that comic books have is an irreplaceable quality as a medium. We will, as a result, become more prominent but not because of any personal preference on the part of the general population, rather just because we will be in the select number of survivors that the computer couldn’t eat.

I tend to agree.


  1. A hundred years is a long time. Comic books as we know them didn’t exist a hundred years ago.

    Comment by Stanley Lieber — June 9, 2007 @ 3:48 am

  2. Once technology reaches a point where electronic paper can mimic the quality and resolution of traditional paper, and the cost of that technology is reduced to make it affordable to comic’s target audience (kids and young adults), and the quality and cost of home printers would allow for hard copies to be printed that compete with the originals, then I could imagine a world where there was a shift from traditional paper comics to electronic comics. I can picture it happening at some point. But probably not in any sort of immediate future.
    I find it interesting that I’m not the only one that gets headaches trying to read comics on a computer. Which I kind of figured would be the case. But it’s still interesting to hear.

    Comment by M Kitchen — June 11, 2007 @ 10:34 am

  3. Here is an interesting article written by ADD:


    Comment by Stanley Lieber — June 21, 2007 @ 1:42 am

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