In a long post detailing why he won’t be getting a iPad, Cory Doctorow takes umbrage with the Marvel app for the iPad:
I was a comic-book kid, and I’m a comic-book grownup, and the thing that made comics for me was sharing them. If there was ever a medium that relied on kids swapping their purchases around to build an audience, it was comics. And the used market for comics! It was — and is — huge, and vital. I can’t even count how many times I’ve gone spelunking in the used comic-bins at a great and musty store to find back issues that I’d missed, or sample new titles on the cheap…
So what does Marvel do to “enhance” its comics? They take away the right to give, sell or loan your comics. What an improvement. Way to take the joyous, marvellous sharing and bonding experience of comic reading and turn it into a passive, lonely undertaking that isolates, rather than unites.
It’s an interesting point, and while I’m as big a fan of nostalgia as the next guy, embracing the future often requires you to bid adieu to warm memories from the past. Moreover, it’s not as if the Marvel app on the iPad will be the only way to procure comics. Rather, it simply provides a new and convenient medium for users to purchase and experience comics.
What’s so wrong with that?
At the same time, and in the interest of full disclosure, I was never that into comics so I’ll readily admit that I can’t relate to the “marvelous sharing and bonding experience” Doctorow longs for. So I ask thee, dear readers, is experiencing a comic on the iPad, all by your lonesome, and without the ability to share it with friends, really that big of a deal? Is the group dynamic that ingrained in the comic book reading experience?