As people talk about downloadable comics, one thing that puzzles me is how rarely anyone mentions Netcomics, which has been offering pay-per-view versions of chapters of its manhwa titles since its inception. They aren’t downloadable comics per se, as you don’t get a file to keep on your hard drive, but the publisher has been offering inexpensive digital delivery of their manhwa for almost a year now.
I like Ed Chavez’s take on the Netcomics model, viewing it as the equivalent of a digital anthology. It allows readers to sample different titles cheaply (for around a quarter a chapter), possibly being driven to pick up the print versions if something really clicks, or motivating browsers to follow a title on-line with more frequent doses of a favorite story than paperbacks provide.
I was happy to see Graeme McMillan put out a call for resources on comics for younger readers at Blog@, thinking it would result in some attention for great sites like No Flying, No Tights, and possibly introduce me to some other resources. And there’s some of that in the comments section, particularly from Kat Kan, but there’s also plenty of “Why can’t they just read Justice Society?” on display.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see a Marvel-and-DC-centric response to the question, even though it wasn’t central to the question in the first place. No one’s really saying that some Big Two titles aren’t great choices for younger readers (though it’s probably easier to point to ones that aren’t), and the suggestion that all-ages comics are automatically condescending and moralizing is just weird to me. Neither of those failings are exclusive to comics for kids, are they?
And really, are “all-ages comics” the same thing as “comics for kids”? My definition of a great, all-ages book is one that someone from any age group can enjoy, and the ones that I place into that category don’t talk down to any of their potential audience members, no matter how old they are. Some of my favorite comics and graphic novels are aimed at readers much, much younger than myself, and I like them because they’re great stories, executed with skill and imagination, and populated with interesting, appealing characters.