JOHN OSTRANDER: The Digital Rubicon

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Kyle G. says:

    I agree things are going to change, but I still compare it to the music industry. I think going digital is going to be important but I don’t think print will completely fade because a digital comic doesn’t have ‘collector value’. People will want something they can hold in their hand.

    I do however think all publishers will have to step-up their game. Things are changing quickly but the one thing people have always flocked to are good/ meaningful/ original stories. This might just mean the end of ‘filler-crap’. Or that might just be me being optimistic.

  2. Jonathan (the other one) says:

    There is also the issue of digital storage space. If you only follow one or two titles, you can probably keep a year’s worth of those in a box in your closet, ready to be pulled out when you want to reread them (or look up some minor point to win an argument :) ), while depending on format this could take up a gigabyte or so of storage on your computer. (A gentleman here in Seattle recently disproved the “cloud computing” hypothesis for private individuals – his attempt to put all his storage in “the Cloud” resulted in his exceeding Comcast’s 250 Gb monthly limit, as a result of which he can no longer use their ISP. No, if you purchase digital comics, you’ll need to have them on your own storage…)

    For myself, there are some titles I’d purchase in digital format, because after I’m done with an issue, I’m probably not going to refer back to it until just before the next issue comes out – and then just the once, and if it disappears after that, oh well. “Justice League of America”, for instance.

    But there are other titles I enjoy rereading several times, because their creators engage in clever wordplay (and sometimes brick jokes, where I have to refer back to something that happened a couple of years ago in order to get the full impact) – “X-Factor” springs to mind here.

    Print isn’t dead – it’s just not as young and spry as it used to be…

  3. For the time being, I’m still only a print guy. But I’ve no doubt I’ll own a tablet in the next few years, and then? Digital comics will certainly be considered.

  4. Neil Robertson says:

    Digital may be here to stay, but the formats will continue to change. The floppy diskette is already ancient history, much like our first cell phones.

    I predict that, in five-to-ten years, methods of storing and accessing digital information will have changed so much that any acquired digital files will have to be replaced with a ‘superior’ format. Meanwhile, they’re still discovering Dead Sea scrolls and ‘accessing’ them today. Print simply can’t ever go away.

  5. Lord Snooty says:

    Welcome back John, All this digital talk is making me feel old as I’m clueless to how to “download” anything so I’m hoping print will be around for some time yet !

  6. Russ Rogers says:

    ComicMix used to have a very nice digital comics “Reader,” a small program that made reading full sized digital comics a JOY on the computer. It was like AdobeReader, but more compact and agile. I thought it was one of most clever and powerful tools in ComicMix’s arsenal. But that didn’t make it over when ComicMix was ported to WordPress. I was sad, but maybe I was the only one who noticed.

    • Glenn Hauman says:

      True– sadly, there are only so many hours in the day. We\’re still looking at bringing it back, if we can do the necessary back-end work.

      Sadly, only so many hours in the day… when\’s San Diego again?

  7. Steve Chaput says:

    It took me a couple of years to finally get an e-reader, but I’m now completely in love with my Nook. I’ve downloaded classics and current titles that I’d never have room for on my shelves at home.

    As for comics, at least for now I think I’ll stick to print. In some cases I may wait for the inevitable TPB collection of the series from either DC, or whatever publisher is going the digital route. Heck, I do that with some mini-series already even with print editions at my local shop.

    I may download an occasional one-shot or special, but can’t see myself filling my storage with a monthly title.