Crap, I May Want an iPad

Posted: June 29, 2010 in Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

It pains me to say this, but: I may not be completely against the iPad.

There are so many reasons to hate the iPad, from the fact that it’s prohibitively expensive, to the (so-far) lack of Flash capability that limits website accessibility and always gives me the creepy feeling that Apple is trying to provide a Disney Main St. version of the internet, to the assertion that it may simply be a cartoonishly large prototype for the iPod Touch. But here’s why I am not 100% against it:

It may be how I’ll be reading comics within a few years. 

Maybe not the iPad – my general Apple-phobia means it’s more likely I’ll buy whatever Google Android thingie comes down the pike – but some full-color touch reader.

I’m as surprised as anyone, since I’m usually a huge proponent of the tactile experience of reading. There’s a smell and feel to print that no touch screen will ever replicate (though how awesome would it be if there was a “newsprint smell” app?). And also, a book’s battery never runs out, so you’re not really working against a clock when you read.

But on the other hand, the iPad (or more accurately, its eventual, cheaper successor) solves my two major qualms about comic book reading and collecting: accumulation, and comic stores.

The first thing: I own hundreds of comic books. Possibly into a thousand, I don’t even know. That’s individual comics. Add to that all my collected editions and this crap weighs a TON.

OK, now picture eight of these, packed full. It is HELL lugging these up two flights of stairs.

The last time I moved, I’d say about a quarter of my boxes – including my long-boxes – were full of nothing but comics. I LIVE ON THE THIRD FLOOR. It was not an easy move.

The second thing: as I’ve gotten older, I sort of hate going to comic book stores.

I’m not even talking about the shitty stores, the ones that are musty and poorly lit and a bit dirty and have crappily-painted renditions of DC comics characters on their storefront windows and for some reason just have stacks of Fangorias from the 80’s piled up in a corner and a guy who looks like Peter Laird circa 1987 but is NOT Peter Laird and ALL they have is back-issues and resin model kits, but god knows WHEN the damn place is open. (See: that one store in Kutztown.)

I’m talking about King of Prussia’s mainstay Comics and More, which is 80% back-issue bins (which are archaic considering you can find anything you want online and cheaper through something like Milehighcomics.com), 10% ancillary merchandise (a wall of T-shirts), and 10% new-ish comics (lined alphabetically on a shelf along the opposite wall) – giving shoppers about two feet of room to maneuver.*

(And the stereotypes are true – comics readers tend to be on the larger scale of men. So this is not the ideal aisle space.)

Or Showcase Comics on South Street in Philly, which has a great selection of trade paperbacks, which appear to have been organized along 10 different shelves at random.

Contrary to popular belief, most comic store clerks are NOT like this; however, most comic book fans ARE.

Or the Plymouth Meeting Comics and More, previously my go-to store, Legends (they also sold used records and pulp fiction), which expanded their shop space to include a massive rack of used DVDs for some reason, and a gaming room to cater to the RPG/Magic: The Gathering Crowd – a crowd that EVEN I find too dorky and sad to be around.

So yes: an online comics shop that instantly downloads weightless digital copies of comics into a storage space the thickness of a cheap dinner plate? Great, easy to sort selection of completed stories for a  reasonable price – without having to listen to that husky middle-aged guy with the backpack’s downright terrifying opinions on Power Girl?

I can kind of get on board with that.

(Read this article by Chris Sims for a more in-depth, first-hand look at how the iPad works as a comics reader, and this one for DC’s app. )

*I know I’m ragging on Comics and More a lot, but to be fair, that damn store is pretty much the reason I’m the comics reader I am today, and they do have my eternal gratitude for that. And despite my grousing, I do worry for its wellbeing if this iPad thing really takes off among its customers. On the other hand, comics readers are creatures of habit – you spend 20 years heading to a store every Wednesday, it’ll take something pretty spectacular to break that habit.

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Comments
  1. braak, give in to your hatred! Join us on the dark side!

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    That was me, actually. But yes, it is quite the dilemma. New mattress, or iPad? New mattress…or iPad…Hmmmm.

  3. Megan says:

    The girlfriend wants to know where the money’s coming from for either one. Also, I know Apple stuff does not go down in price much, but on the other hand, take a look at my phone: I can now get a colored screen version for $10 if I want. Wait it out and it’s good exercise to walk to the library, not even two blocks away.

  4. braak says:

    These are basically the reasons that I bought a Kindle. It’s pretty good, except I can’t get the wireless to work in the UK, the same way I CAN’T GET ANY FUCKING WIRELESS TO WORK IN THE UK.

    Anyway.

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