No. I don’t know. The bike didn’t disappear when the car came. There are hopefully room for both books and electronic media. Personally I’ll stick with paper. I’ve no interest in reading on a screen. And I’ll be dead in 40 years anyhow. How much can they screw it up by then?

— Cartoonist Jason asked about print vs digital in an interview at The Casual Optimist.


  1. I agree with the sentiment, but his analogy is way off. What we would recognize today as the automobile and the bicycle were both invented in the same year, 1885.

    So far, “paper books are the new vinyl” seems to say it best. It’s a matter of whether the way in which information is transmitted is as important to you as the perceived information itself.

    There have been studies that show analogue music effects the brain different than digital music, even when the piece of music is otherwise identical and played in the same location through the same speakers. The analogue version is noticeably more effective at treating depression. The digital music, not so much.

  2. its a cute response and a nice one liner, but books, especially comics are getting tougher and tougher to find. With Borders gone, i couldn’t find a print copy of one of Jason’s books if i went to every Book/comic shop in my city. No one stocks anything anymore..especially smaller press, obsure/alt work like this.

  3. I never get the “it must be one or the other” argument. Draw the comic however way you want to, whether it’s with a Wacom or a stick of charcoal. Then make sure a lot of people can buy it, easily.
    Why would a creator say.. oh never mind.

  4. “And I’ll be dead in 40 years anyhow. How much can they screw it up by then?”

    Let’s see now. We’re talking a little before my time, but as I understand:

    40 years ago, my city had bunches of record shops, including at least one in each of the new shopping malls. I’m not even sure where the nearest CD retailer is now.

    40 years ago, there were about a dozen movie screens in my city, even counting the adult cinema downtown, and the only old movies you got to see were re-released in the kiddie theater, and spliced with commercials on TV. Since then VHS and DVD rental places have both come and gone, and I can watch pretty much any movie ever by mail/streaming.

    40 years ago most news was delivered to your porch on newsprint and the rest was on TV. Now what’s on TV is fluff, and the only real news is on a few web sites.

    40 years ago I could buy comics at any grocery store, drug store, or the newspaper stand. Since then the Direct Market flared up and then faded, and there are literally 4 places in a metro area of half a million where I can buy printed comics. But a dozen incompatible digital distribution channels.

    I’d say that’s plenty of time for a lot to change (for good or bad).

  5. I love this man’s work and if he only wants it published in print as long as he lives, then I will go out of my way to purchase it in that form. Convenience isn’t everything.

  6. Jason is one of those reasons that I don’t feel guilty about avoiding comic shops and going right to Amazon/Fantagraphics’.
    If you don’t keep any and all of Jason’s book in print, than screw you. I’m not the kind of comic book reader you care about or service to.
    Oh, you’ll order it for me from diamond?
    Screw you twice. Amazon will get it to me cheaper, faster, and delivered to my front door.

  7. Those record stores are the Direct Market of music. Lots of old junk in bins, some pricey collectibles, new releases from nostalgia-focused publishers in the genres that still support that format….

  8. I live in a fairly large city of a couple million and there is exactly 1 store that sells vinyl. They also sell CDs, as does Best Buy, but I can’t imagine either is seeing the CDs fly off the shelves. I love vinyl as much as anyone, but that, too, is a dead format only appreciated by a small niche.

    Like Jacob Goddard above, no one in my city stocks Jason books, unless B&N has their token one copy of his newest hardcover on the shelf.

    Jason’s a funny guy and it’s a good quote, but I’d rather buy a digital copy of his, or anyone’s, work. I don’t see why it can’t be both. As far as I can tell, the reading experience is more or less the same to me. I don’t understand all the resistance. It’s not like I’m taking any sales away from local comic shops since they’re not stocking the books anyway. And my trips to Pittsburg are becoming less frequent….

  9. I would love to see an op-ed piece here about how there are maybe 10 legitimately “good” comic shops on the continent, and how all the rest are legitimately embarrassing for the artform and the fans.

  10. Pittsburgh has the best “real” comic shop in the world. NYC has a few. Chicago has a few. Any others?

    Because Cincinnati? No, not happening. The guy who runs Comic Book World does a pretty good job and tries, but his store is way out of the way and doesn’t get the traffic to support stocking stuff like Ganges or Optic Nerve.

    So, yeah, I’ll believe there are 10. The Direct Market sucks if you want anything beside Marvel or DC.