Yesterday Mark Millar took to CBR to reveal that he kinda missed the boat on that whole digital thing, when he refused to allow his books to have day and date digital release for 2 and a half years. He did it, he said at the time, because he wanted to support comics retailers and didn’t want to hurt physical sales of the book. This was kind of a smart move, because you may recall that digital comics used to make a lot of comics folks crap their pants, but interestingly that attitude ended about 3 years ago when the day and date New 52 was a huuuuge hit. Anyway, Millar explained his findings:
I never expected people to go entirely digital because the comic-reading experience is such a unique one. Flipping pages and stacking on a shelf feels very different from downloading whereas music and films look and taste almost identical in either format. My great concern, and I still can’t believe it didn’t turn out to be a problem, is that twenty, ten or even five percent of the traditional print readership didn’t disappear when day-and-date digital became the norm for comic-book publishers and a very sizable number of people started reading online. Those digital readers had to come from somewhere and my fear was a very simple combination of micro and macro-economics where I suspected even a modest ten percent switchover from print to digital would mean all those comic-stores hanging on by their fingernails (and in Nov 2011 that felt like rather a lot of them) would be dealt the same deathblow as so many record stores, suddenly switching from a small profit and into a loss.
Well, he was wrong! By withholding digital copies he was just penalizing people who didn’t live near a comics shop and wanted to read Jupiter’s Children, Kick-Ass and so on.
Luckily, he’s changed his mind just in time for STARLIGHT, his new comic with Goran Parlov, which goes on sale on Wednesday. They seem to be doing the old Moebius thing but you know what, that always works.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.