Home Comics The iPad is here….now what?

The iPad is here….now what?


Are we living in the Jetsons or a Cormac McCarthy novel? Will the iPad take us to a world where readers pay for content…or is it yet another false prophet leading the way to a bleak wasteland with poor 3G coverage?

To no one’s surprise, reaction pieces seem to be the main subject of the internet today. Specifically:

Kiel Phegley caught up with a lot of comics folks.

CBR News reached out to many players from across the downloadable comics sphere for early reactions to the news of the iPad and found many responses as to what the next step for publishers and content providers will be. Although one thing was generally agreed upon, fans can expect everyone to get into the mobile comics business after today.

Vaneta Rogers has a similar piece.

§ Jason Boog at Media Bistro rounds up reax from the publishing world including word on why
Random House has not yet signed on to the iPad.

Rich Johnston started out with some quick Twitter reactions including the sensible:

Bryan O’Malley: not reading the iNternet, iBusy drawing Scott iPilgrim

but followed up today with yet more industry reactions and think pieces. Of those quoted, we like NPR’s Glen Weldon’s take at whether iPad will really save comics AND the whale

But ever since the tablet rumors started, members of the comic book cognescenti have been eager to dismiss those advances as half-measures. Take Chicago Sun-Times reporter Andy Ihnatko, who has become something of a one-man-band on the subject of the Apple Tablet’s rumored potential; the tune he’s been singing to the comics blogosphere sounds an awful lot like, “The Apple Tablet Will Save Comics (Radio Edit).”

More reax roundups: Brigid Alverson and ore from Media Bistro

And then there’s…the name, which Jezebel summarizes in That Time Of The Month: The Internet’s Best Period-Related iPad Jokes. After watching the all-male presentation video and reading all the comics industry reaction pieces which quote men exclusively, it’s easy to see why this giggle-inducing name was chosen — it’s highly doubtful that a woman of child-bearing age ever came anywhere near the marketing plan.

If anything, it backs up our “nerds fear women and envision the world without them” theory — given the marketing we’ve seen, Apple obviously considers women a market that doesn’t even need to be marketed to.

Bonus: • Marc-Oliver Frisch looks back to his fie years ago predictions:

It’s a wild-eyed, faintly obnoxious and ultimately baseless speculation on what the North American comics market will look like in 2014, and since we’re about halfway there now, I thought it’d be fun to check back what the Future looked like to me November 19, 2004.

Our overall takeaway? Digital comics are the future. BIG SHOCKER. The iPad — which lacks Flash and multitasking and is still tied to the horrid AT&T — is obviously just a step in that direction, a direction that at long last everyone in the publishing world is embracing.


  1. See, what confuses me is, so many dudes seem to be making jokes about “huh huh feminine products” (myself not excluded) that I’m not sure why it didn’t already occur to all those dudes on Apple’s marketing team. Or did all the dudes on the Internet only think of it after women made the joke first?

    Also, just as a side-note, I agree that nerds fear women to a great degree, but I always wonder about this implication that “normal” men (dudes, bros, etc.) don’t fear women. Just because they are better on average at finding a way to interact with women doesn’t mean they don’t have just as much, sometimes more, fear and disdain, or that this fear and disdain is not reflected just as much in mainstream, non-nerd, male-dominated culture, if perhaps in slicker (and concurrently, more insidious fashion often enough).

    I’m all for a warts-and-all acknowledgment of misogyny, racism and homophobia in straight white male nerd culture, but I hope we can do it without implictly giving the mainstream a pass. And what does the picture prove, exactly? That the guy is dressed so poorly that he’s clearly committed to avoiding sexual and romantic relationships with women? Um… okay?

  2. One thing the iPad’s release has done is prompt a bunch of geeks not in the comics biz to talk about how great the iPad can be as a comics platform. If the iPad does make comics more readily accessible, and the presentation of the comics is easy on the eyes — no issues with lighting sources, angles, etc. — comics circulation could benefit quite a bit.


  3. Not that I’m a supporter, but the iPhone people in Chicago don’t have nearly the AT&T problems that the people in NYC have. Of course, that’s if you live somewhere AT&T actually has a 3G network. (You can get 4G via Clear/Sprint, here, if you’re so inclined.)

  4. >> See, what confuses me is, so many dudes seem to be making jokes about “huh huh feminine products” (myself not excluded) that I’m not sure why it didn’t already occur to all those dudes on Apple’s marketing team.>>

    I’m sure it occurred to them, and then they dismissed it, figuring that people will rapidly get used to the new name and any jokes will fall away. And the long-term advantage of the name’s similarity to iPod and iPhone beats the short-term and minor hit of the jokes.

    People makes jokes. It’s not fatal. When I did AVENGERS FOREVER, people made jokes about the title being similar to BATMAN FOREVER. Didn’t last. When SPAWN came out, people made jokes about how he was named after baby salmon. When DARKHAWK came out, there were jokes about how it was a hard name to say. At least among the first people who had to say it, the sales and promotion staff. We called the book “Doghog.” Ha ha ha. Didn’t last.

    Did people make jokes about mousepads being little sanitary napkins for menstruating mice? Maybe, but it they did it must have faded fast. What about legal pad? Notepad? Launch pad? Bachelor pad? Pad thai? How has Peter David gone by his initials for years without being mercilessly mocked as a feminine hygiene product? Because if anyone did make that joke, it faded away long ago.

    There’s a portion of the blogosphere that seems convinced that any name with “pad” in it will be forever tainted by association with sanitary napkins. But most things called “pad” aren’t, and it’s reasonable to assume this one won’t be, either. It’s a joke because the term is new, but people will get used to it in a hurry.

    After all, you don’t hear much these days about iPod users being “pod people,” do you?


  5. Yikes, I barely comment on this blog and I am already arguing with Kurt Busiek! Honestly, I thought of some further objections to the name, but then I concluded that, overall, you are right, in that Apple’s sheer popularity (much like that of your other examples, if on smaller scales i.e. the direct market) will change reality to the degree that the people who mock the name will be drowned out and the iPad will be a perfectly acceptable name. Actually, you should’ve used the Wii as your example!

    I guess I’m just puzzled because I thought the “iSlate,” a popular suggestion on comics blogs prior to yesterday, was a better name, but perhaps they feared lawsuits from Slate.com? Who knows.

  6. I imagine if they called it the iSlate, someone would be making “Is late!” jokes by now. The long-awaited new gizmo from Apple…is late! Jokes are pretty easy.

    iSlate sounds pretty good, but it doesn’t sounds as strongly connected to iPod and iPhone. I’d bet they look for P words from now on.


  7. Some more on the perception bias re the iPad:

    I’m assuming there were no women on the naming team at Apple. Because, hey, when women hear or read the word pad, we think Kotex and cramps. I wouldn’t mind the name so much if I could buy one at my local CVS.

    The twitterverse is already full of iPad jokes. Here are some of my favorites:

    @getsmartradio: is it really called iPad? Did Apple merge with Kotex

    @KristinaWeise: The #iPad – too easy to insert a woman’s comment here. “Much more intimate than a laptop and more capable than a smart phone,” Jobs said.

    @twifftwin: the iPad sounds like a feminine hygiene product for robot ladies.

    Men and women are different.


  8. Man I love this site but does everything have to pass through the sexism prism? I can see it sometimes but this is a real reach. Apple has the luxury of producing a product that is piggybacking off of techs biggest commercial successes, the iPod. Is the iPhone campaign sexist? Its to the point these products sell themselves and not much thought is given to the campaign. I’m almost certain men and women equally will purchase the product without noting any marketing deficiency.

  9. Phil, you know I try not to pass everything through sexism prism but I have noticed a lot more of it lately! and the whole iPad joke thing was out there from the moment it was announced.

    I’ve thought about starting a separate blog where I could rant and rave and bitch and moan and stamp my feet all I want. Maybe after I get the migration completed.

  10. Kurt’s right. I remember when IBM’s OS/2 was released, there were jokes about it being “half an operating system” or “Oh, A Stew”. Granted, OS/2 fell victim to the Microsoft Windows juggernaut and is now a footnote, but that had nothing to do with jokes about its name, which the computer industry of 20 years ago – as geeky a test population as you’ll ever need – got used to. Granted, as pubescent boys learn what a maxipad is, they will make “clever” “new” jokes about the name, but those of us who’ve outgrown that phase will quickly get over the novelty of it, and Apple Store employees of whichever gender will soon have little trouble pitching the “iPad” to customers, with and without vaginas.

  11. I just want to chime in that I have no problem with the “sexism prism,” which to me is just another way of saying “looking at things with your eyes open.” My quibble with the implicit contention that male nerds are more sexist (a quibble that seems to have been overlooked) should not be construed as minimizing sexism in any way. At the end of the day, I readily recognize sexism as a much bigger problem than nerd scapegoating.

  12. Hey Heidi,
    I wanted to add that, while I didn’t see sexism in this instance, I do agree with you when you point it out in other instances (especially in the comic field) for the most part. I shouldn’t have come across so accusatory. I’m sure if, in your new venture, add a separate blog I’ll be sure to check it out and get some enlightenment!

  13. Questions have been raised as to whether Apple used any focus groups in their development of the iPad. The dismay some people feel when they hear/see the name shouldn’t be discounted.

    As my buddy Laura G. Has already pointed out, Apple iPad is the hands-down worst name ever. (Really, how embarrassing!) So even if I do decide, down the road, to plunk down half a mortgage payment on one, I will do so with the same revulsion I feel for the birth control pill named Yaz.

    Did they focus-group the iPad name with any women, or the Yaz name with any men?

    Lord, I hope they never make a small, cylindrical i-Something.

  14. There are also other references: a note PAD, sketch PAD, ink PAD, game PAD, pressure PAD, graphics PAD, mouse PAD, num PAD, etc. The joke discussions are gold as far as marketing goes.

  15. I don’t know how the iPad can be such a superior web surfing device if it does not support Flash. I was excited about the possibilities for webcomics to benefit from projected success of the iPad but sites like ours at CO2 Comics, that rely heavily on Flash to present the content, will not reach the iPad audience without a major overhaul. Thank goodness for laptops and computers with beautiful monitors.

  16. Or did all the dudes on the Internet only think of it after women made the joke first?

    I will say that I didn’t think of it until a female co-worker was giggling about the name and cracked a joke about it. Then she had to explain the joke to me. Despite the fact that I’ve been married for over 15 years at this point, and that I even buy them for my wife when I do the shopping runs, the association didn’t occur to me at all. So yeah, I wouldn’t doubt it if most of the dudes on the Internet cracking jokes about them heard it from a woman first. (Of course it’s the Internet – any “dude” on the Internet could actually be a woman. Ya never know these days…)

    And on another note – despite not thinking that the iPad is all that and a bag of chips – the loss of Flash should not be a stopper for comic books on a device. EVER. Comics are static images. The web was designed to serve up static images very, very easily. You can create quite clever applications in nothing but html, css, and javascript that do wonderful things to allow people to navigate through static images. If you’re putting your comic books into Flash you are doing it wrong. You’re making your lives harder than they need to be, you are giving potential application nightmares to your readers that they really shouldn’t have to put up with, and you are risking incompatibilities that you don’t need to risk. There are a lot of good uses for Flash, but comics aren’t one of them. If anything I hope this serves as a wakeup call to the folks doing digital comics to start thinking again about making standards-compliant web applications for presenting comics rather than creating more work for themselves by building unnecessary Flash-based monstrosities.

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