Skip to main content

Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

Jason St. Clair over at Comicbook Galaxy writes on the growing online piracy of comic books. St. Clair's article is a detailed overview of the methods and pyschology of this particular flavor of online pirates. Given the ease with which comic books appear to be pirated I can only imagine that the industry's lower overall net worth vis a vis movies and music is why comic book piracy is not given substantial attention in the media.

Thanks to Spurgeon for the the link to this story.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

I know I wouldn't pay $4 for most of that shit...Same reason I was all over Napster when it hit. Even collecting four issues together and calling it a graphic novel is still a waste of money.

Long live 200 pages for 3000 won!

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

So, as a cartoonist, are you advocating piracy, that creators shouldn't be paid for their work? I know you brought up the quality issue, but if you're interested enough to download it, why couldn't you just head down to the comic shop, flip through the issue, and then make a judgement on its purchase?

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

See, the thing about the whole "Not getting paid" argument that started with Napster is that it's based on the false assumption that if you don't pirate something, then people will just have the shell out for it.

The truth of the matter is that the people not paying for it, will continue to not pay for it. They just wont see it.

There's a sliding scale of value for the products being demanded, and print comics, along with CDs and most other forms of entertainment, are asking for more than what they are valued at by a great many people. There are many reasons for this. The Incredables was awfully expensive to make... but in a lot of cases (CDs/ comics) there is simply too high of a mark up from the perceived worth of the material.

As for print comics, they still, after a decade of hard reality, are catering to the collector's market that killed them in 1993. If they would get off of the idea that every comic must be on glossy paper with coloring that utilized every Photoshop filter available to them, they could reduce their production costs and with the cheaper prices being offered, perhaps gain a wider audience who would like to read Superman for $1.00 but not for $5.00.

Of course, killing off the direct market and getting comics back on the magazine racks is a better step, but you can't be allowed to sit around the 7-11 all day arguing about Kyle Raynor VS Hal Jordan like you can at the local comic shop.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

is that it's based on the false assumption that if you don't pirate something, then people will just have the shell out for it.

I'll concede this point. However, if a person chooses not to pay for something, they have no right to enjoy it. I think we're both in agreement that it's almost moot. Piracy has always existed, and there will always be ways around its countermeasures.

killing off the direct market and getting comics back on the magazine racks is a better step, but you can't be allowed to sit around the 7-11 all day arguing about Kyle Raynor VS Hal Jordan like you can at the local comic shop.

I agree that if comics are to appeal to consumers again, they need to be in higher profile areas. Of course, does Marvel or DC care about the comics, when the real money is in, one word, merchandising?

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

When you say that print comics are still catering to the collector's market, it leads people to assume you either think that only superhero comics are being pirated or that all print comics are superhero comics. Small and independent comic publishers that don't cater to the collectors market and print in black & white are also victims of online piracy. I know for a fact Radio Comix has had problems with people scanning their comics and putting them online in the past.

Killing off the direct market won't save print comics. If anything, it'll just hurt the companys that cater to a broader audience because the local 7-11 doesn't want to take a chance with a comic they never heard of.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

"Of course, does Marvel or DC care about the comics, when the real money is in, one word, merchandising?"

Well that's the thing, isn't? Marvel and DC don't really care about the products they put out, so it's hard to see why pirates should to.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

"When you say that print comics are still catering to the collector's market, it leads people to assume you either think that only superhero comics are being pirated or that all print comics are superhero comics. Small and independent comic publishers that don't cater to the collectors market and print in black & white are also victims of online piracy. I know for a fact Radio Comix has had problems with people scanning their comics and putting them online in the past."
And they're working in an industry that has been designed for collectors. That's one of the reasons they have to be utterly exeptional to get noticed.

"Killing off the direct market won't save print comics. If anything, it'll just hurt the companys that cater to a broader audience because the local 7-11 doesn't want to take a chance with a comic they never heard of."
Actually, that's what happens in the direct market. Ever take a look at the Diamond book? Non big publisher stuff vanishes into the inky depths. There are shop owners who do their best to pick up a wide variety, but with Marvel and Dc publishing a few hundred books a month, there is usually little room for the indies. Much like the Comics Code Authority, the big hero book publishers saw something they could use to dominate and control the business, and they've done it.

And I don't think it's too big of a stretch to recognize that sales have decreased as comics have left the public eye. Back when I was a kid, if a comic was selling what Identity Crisis was selling, it'd be cancelled.

And for 7-11, putting up comics in the way they used to be put up (retunrable) before the direct market would be acceptable to them because they will see a way to grab the kiddy market as they walk past the magazine rack with little finacial risk on their part.

Wanna know why Shonen Jump is out-selling everything Marvel and DC is putting out? wanna know why the Japanese industry is in such better shape than back home? The comics are sitting in the stores where the kids can see them, and not located behind a rack of Lady Death posable action figures.

Octobers comic sales

Erik Melander's picture

The sales figures for October are in. ICv2 has a comparison to last year here.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

"Well that's the thing, isn't? Marvel and DC don't really care about the products they put out, so it's hard to see why pirates should to."

Webcomic artists have been drinking from the fountain of merchandising since forever, and that never made their comics of lesser quality.

IF Marvel and DC only cared about merchandising, then they would have no reason to fight against comic book piracy. They do it because they can, because they have the right to, and because they have solidificated into a way of doing business that no longer works and refuse to change and evolve.

I like when I see independent music labels inducing fans to download and share music from their artists and actually doing fine in sales and figures. Maybe that's a hint to what doing business using the internet should be.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

I think I got confused when you said "kill the direct market" and thought you meant "get rid of comic book specialty stores" for some reason. Which made as much sense to me as getting rid of music retail shops or book stores. Sorry, I was being an idiot on that one.

But, "behind a rack of Lady Death posable action figures?"
You know better than that. There are plenty of comic book stores nowadays where you can walk in and see people with good hygiene and a good percentage of females.

Re: Article on Digital Pirating of Comic Books

The world's greatest comics shop is located in my hometown, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. "Strange Adventures", it's called. The owner, Cal, has done everything he can to make his shop a place where just about anyone can feel free to come in off the street, take a look around, and find a work they can enjoy. He has female staff, and he does get a lot of female customers.

And still, his store is always crowded with comicbook nerds, because they are the bread and butter of the superhero/ hentai industry. While I can't speak for him I get the feeling that if the nerds were vastly outnumbered by the casuals, he'd weep tears of joy. He LOVES COMICS. The medium itself. And believes that it should be for the people, and not for an insular little group like it is now. And I feel the same way.

And I think we agree that if comics got back on the racks in the stores, there would likely be more people (kids) buying them, and then those people(kids) would probably be more likely to go to the specialty shops looking for back issues. The the system that created the collector's market to begin with.

But regardless, the piracy exists because there is a demand, but not a big enough demand to pay the prices being asked for it.

Re: Octobers comic sales

Funny, I dont see any of the manga magazines on that list. So either I'm wrong, or they're not being included because they're not only going through Diamond

I'm going to ask Shaenon Garrity about it. Last I heard she was still at Viz.