When it Comes to Superheroes, Size Matters
This Christmas I was reminded once again of just how great it is to be living in a world where so much content can fit into such a tiny package. My first glimpse of how awesome the world of digital media was going to be came when I got my first MP3 player with a hard drive. Sure, I jumped on board the Diamond Rio bandwagon back in ’98, but it didn’t offer any great quality of life improvements over a CD player. 32 Mb fit about 8 songs — not even a full CD’s worth of music. So when I packed for a two-week trip through Turkey that Fall, bringing along a great soundtrack still meant toting a CD wallet that probably weighed about 15 pounds.
Fast forward into Y2K, and I could fit all those CD’s and more on my Nomad. I was in love with that thing, and took it everywhere… until it got stolen on a roadtrip in Vancouver. I almost pitied the thieves trying to figure out how to get the damn CD out. Almost.
Still, once you’ve gone digital like that, you’ll never go back.
And now it’s 2009. Everyone and his little sister has a 40 gB iPod and can download 99¢ tracks a la carte. We can rip a hundred DVD’s to our hard drives, or stream feature films down to our XBox 360’s. What could possibly make a dent in my blase shell of digital complacency? Am I jumping on the Kindle bandwagon?
Well, not yet, but close. Guess what came under the XMas tree this year? How about every single Amazing Spider-Man comic published from the title’s debut in 1963 up through 2006, in one DVD of PDF files!? Excelsior!! I was a Spider-Man nut as a kid. Not a serious collector – I never had a single one bagged, and didn’t think twice about rolling them up to fit with the sheet music inside my trumpet case. But my stacks of Spidey comics overflowed out of my room onto a shelf that I had to commandeer in the linen closet. Now: one DVD. I love it.
I’ve already ordered the X-Men anthology from Amazon, and even though I wasn’t as big a fan, I’m eyeing the Avengers collection too. If PPTSS and Marvel Team Up were available, I’d snatch them up in a heartbeat. Marvel has also launched a Digital Comics subscription initiative, but that’s a lot less interesting to me. The coverage is spotty (15 available issues of The New Mutants, out of a 100+ series run?), and besides, one of the best things about reading these old titles is flipping through the period ads and reading the letters to the Editor. (For example: Did you know there was some serious consideration given to partnering Spidey up with a sidekick!? Me neither!)
So, yeah, it’s great to be living in the digital world. And as long as DRM doesn’t screw everything for us, there’s a bright, happy future ahead. ‘Nuff said.