I started accumulating digital comic book files somewhere around 2010-2011, I think, maybe a little before that, couldn’t have been much after that. Downloadable digital comic books were in plentiful supply around the web until copyright concerns (rightly) shut a lot of those unauthorized sites down for good. Though I admit to taking advantage of such resources when they were available, I made a personal point of never grabbing anything that was regularly or readily available at retail–absolutely no then-current comics, no book collections–and concentrating solely on stuff I couldn’t get at my comics shop.
For me, digital comics are a convenience, but generally not my preferred method of reading comics. Frankly, I’m just not all that interested in reading on a device; I’d much rather hold a book in my hands and turn its pages. I don’t do ebooks, either. I’ve purchased maybe two or three digital comics that were otherwise out of print, and I get most of my comics fix when I buy my weekly stack at Comix Zone in North Syracuse every Wednesday, supplemented by the occasional trade collection.
Nonetheless, I do also love my digital comics. I have something like three thousand of them stored on my computer; I’ve shed a few I no longer want, lost a few others along the way, and I continue to add more from public domain comics resources like Comic Book Plus, Digital Comics Museum, and Archive.org. Any time I want to read a vintage adventure of the original Captain Marvel or the 1960s Charlton Comics Action-Heroes, it’s all just a click away.
I started stockpiling these things before I owned an iPad, but the goal was always to put ’em on that portable device. If one was going to read digital comics, the iPad seemed the perfect size to accommodate that wish. When I went to Spain in 2012, I took along the iPad with the idea of reading digital comics during down time. Instead, I wound up reading a hardcover mystery novel by Max Allan Collins and a hardcover bio of Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim. Captain Marvel may as well have just stayed home.
We have a new iPad now, and I’m revisiting the idea of reading comics on our trusty older device. I’ve taken most everything else off that iPad, and loaded about 1000 comic books on it. It came in handy while waiting for a car repair this week, as I sat in the dealer’s waiting room and immersed myself in the first twelve issues of Marvel‘s The Avengers from the ’60s. It was fun, and I think I’m going to re-read the run from that point forward until the mid ’70s; if I do, The Avengers will be the subject of an upcoming edition(s) of Comic Book Retroview.
These are the comics titles I’ve chosen to store (in varying amounts) on my iPad for now: 80 Page Giant, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, The Adventures Of Bob Hope, The Adventures Of Jerry Lewis, Air Fighters Comics, All-Flash Quarterly, some DC dollar tabloids, All Select Comics, All Winners Comics, All-American Comics, All-American Western, All-Star Comics, America’s Greatest Comics, Aquaman, The Avengers, Batman, Big Shot Comics, Black Cat Comics, Blonde Phantom, Blue Beetle, Blue Ribbon Comics, Bomba The Jungle Boy, Boy Commandos, The Brave And The Bold, Bulletman, Buz Sawyer, Captain Action, Captain America Comics, Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Adventures (etc.), Charlton Premiere, Charlton Wild Frontier, Comic Cavalcade, Crack Comics, Crime Smasher, Danger And Adventure, Daredevil Battles Hitler, DC 100-Page Super Spectacular, DC Special, The Destructor, Detective Comics, Dick Tracy, Doc Savage, Doctor Strange, Doll Man Quarterly, Ellery Queen, Fatman, Flash Comics, The Flintstones At The New York World’s Fair, Funnyman, Ghost Comics, Gold Key Spotlight, The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, Hands Of The Dragon, Hoppy The Marvel Bunny, Hot Wheels, I Am Coyote, Ibis The Invincible, Inferior Five, Iron Man And Sub-Mariner, Jezebel Jade, Jonny Quest, Jumbo Comics, Justice Inc., Justice League Of America, Kid Eternity, Lady Luck, Lars Of Mars, Leading Comics, The Lone Ranger, Man In Black, Man O’ Mars, Mary Marvel, Marvel Boy, Marvel Family, Marvel Feature, Marvel Mystery Comics, Marvel Super-Heroes, Master Comics, Metal Men, Mighty Comics, Military Comics, Minute Man, My Greatest Adventure, Mysterious Suspense, Not Brand Echh, Pep Comics, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt,The Phantom, Phantom Lady, The Phoenix, Planet Comics, Plastic Man, Police Comics, Rima The Jungle Girl, ROG-2000, The Sandman, Scorpio Rose, The Scorpion, Scribbly, Secret Origins, The Secret Six, Sensation Comics, The Shadow, Shazam!, Sheena, Shock SuspenStories, Showcase, Silver Surfer, Smash Comics, The Spectre, The Spirit, Spy Smasher, Stanley And His Monster, Star Spangled Comics, Steve Canyon, Sub-Mariner, Dell‘s Super Heroes, Superboy, Supergirl, Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane, Supersnipe, Sword Of Sorcery, Tales From The Crypt, Tarzan, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, Tiger-Man, Top-Notch Comics, USA Comics, Vampirella, Whiz Comics, World’s Finest Comics, Wow Comics, Zip Comics, and Zorro. There’s room for more, and I will probably add and also trade out more titles and more individual issues.
For all that, it remains to be seen how much I’ll actually read my iPad comics. I don’t intend to have any more extended stays at the auto service center, and I’m way behind on catching up with my towering stacks–plural!–of current comics (a subject for another post). But I like having these available when I want them. And you know, while still waiting for my car, I stopped my reading (prematurely) when I thought the car was almost ready. I should pick up The Avengers from where I left off: Avengers # 13, “The Castle Of Count Nefaria!,” the first issue of The Avengers I ever read as a kid. I have it in my hardcover Marvel Masterworks, and my softcover Marvel Essentials. My much-loved, much-read original comic book is long, long gone. But it’s on my iPad. And it’s waiting for me, whenever I want to read it again. iPad Comics ASSEMBLE!