The Digital Age

In the modern landscape of comics nerdery and production, a place so fiercely doused in ‘cool’ from top to bottom, where heroes and heroines sing and dance – and excitable nerds rigorously ride their paper waves, I ask… Is there enough free ‘gutter-space’ for lightning to strike?   Is there room in our closets for the greatest character never created to land upon – and claim for their own?   Are we still in the ignorant beginning? When comics-Earth is flat – and if we sail our jaded vessels too close to the edge, we’ll fall into space? Are we about to realise that our current comics landscape is actually a giant spherical orb, guarded by gravity – and can we please sail around it to discover the other side?   Is there something yet to happen in comics, that will change our lives forever? Will the Digital Age in comics give birth to a new animal? – and will it set the ‘bar’ at a place not measured in height alone – rather depth, colour and feeling.

Can someone please deliver comics to a microchip in my eye, and can someone please tell a story with me inside it somehow? Can I build a 3 dimensional projection space in my home, where the air around me can be manipulated like a touch-screen tablet, with sound and smell flooding through me? Can someone please tell a story in real-time, with a new release every few hours, so that my nerd friends and I can all read together? Can I please buy an actual house in the Marvel Universe – and sell it on in a few years’ time when the property market picks up? Can I please read comics with an audience at a theatre with my 3D glasses and popcorn? Can someone please create a physical story where the clues and plotlines can only be shared in specific locations geographically… that I must visit in person to have access to download? Can an event-book have an actual event attached to it? A place where nerds congregate and experience a piece of the story in real-time at the same time?

Do the tools now available to us in the Digital Age of comics, provide the perfect opportunity to tell an utterly interactive story, where readers vote for a storytelling path to go down, inside a digital story. Multiple levels of story and various outcomes could be available at the flick-of-a-switch (so to speak) and a story could potentially be different every time. I want to select a character at the beginning of a story and read it through their eyes, and I want to read it again as a different character when I’m done. I sometimes want to actually fight the fight-scenes myself, like a video game – the result of the battle (win or lose) could affect the remaining story.

While I’m confident I’ll always want to collect and store the printed comics, I can’t help wondering… should we stop ‘plodding along’? and push for something extraordinary in a world that’s offering it to us on a silver platter?

I ask you – where do we go from here?

Please also check out CBD web comic *Celerity*. Page 4  available On Christmas Eve, Saturday 24th.

Danny Champion Written by:

Danny Champion is a freelance writer and artist. Follow CandyAppleFox on Twitter.

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5 Comments

  1. Walter Durajlija
    December 13, 2011

    Wow!

  2. Danny Champion
    December 14, 2011

    You like this, Walt? Where do you see comics going in 5-10 years? (broadly speaking).

  3. Walter Durajlija
    December 14, 2011

    One of the neatest pieces I’ve read in a while Danny.

    In 10 years? Haven’t a clue! But all one would have to do is draw a line on the current trend outwards 10 years to see it will not be pretty for a retailer like myself. Though I do see a possibility of there being a small core of very large specialty comic shops like Forbidden Planet, Mid Town and hopefully Big B Comics too! We’d all have to expand out product lines and become the coolest places in town!

    Once we go 3D and virtual will we even have to own toys anymore? I mean just download the latest Batman toy and call it up hologram style whenever you want to “play” with it.

    A Brave New World!

  4. Danny Champion
    December 15, 2011

    The virtual toy is an interesting idea. Just like all new technology though… it’s really clever and convenient – and kind of a shame at the same time, as it usually means it’s replacing something. If there’s anything I can do to help BigB become the “coolest place in town” just shout… we’ll get’m!

  5. SREW
    December 24, 2011

    I wonder if the big difference in the digital age of comics will be that there won’t be any ages at all – since the entire back catalogue of most titles will be as easily accesible as a new comic. The idea of ‘ages’ will blur and disappear because Ally Sloper, EC Horror and Morning Glories will all be on a level, digital, playing field. This just shows how much print culture shapes our sense of time – the physicality of comics and other goods means that they wear out and disappear, and this gives us a sense of them belonging to the ‘past’ while the present is defined by what is currently available. So digitizing comics (and everything else) will also change our perception of time. Without a strong sense of a cultural past, present, and future, we will (a) not be able to make much sense of shows like Dr Who, and (b)we may stop producing ‘new’ culture altogether, which is, after all, a big expenditure of energy in a world threatened by global warming. The digital age will be, already is, the age of the archive. Comic shops would then be replaced by Comic DJs, who can help you navigate the millions of pages out there in the ether, for a small fee, of course.

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