Last month I presented a list of webcomics technologies that have failed to ignite my technophilic enthusiasm, despite their popularity or general usefulness. Over the past several weeks, I have given one of those technologies, RSS, a second chance.
Three Technologies I’m Just not that Excited About
I love technology. Whether it’s little gadgets like my iPod, or useful applications like Google Calendar, I love all the little tech innovations that make life easier and more fun. The first time I heard about webcomics, I was thrilled. Automated content management? Fantastic! Integration of multi-media elements into webcomics? All over it. Do I want an iPhone or a Kindle? Oh my god, yes. Can I afford them? Not remotely. But I want them nonetheless.
And yet, there are certainly technologies that just don’t excite me….With that in mind, I’ve decided to reexamine three webcomics-related technologies that have garnered my thorough disinterest in the past. I will lay out here, for the record, my initial reactions, and the reasons why I’m resistant to them. I will then devote a solid month of active usage to each before reporting back on my experiences and whether or not I’ve been converted. (Note: Only one of the follow-up articles to this piece was completed.)
A Stray Thought on Webcomics Hardware
When reviewing reader applications for online comics, I was struck by just how much effort Marvel put into solving the problem of presenting vertically oriented comics on a horizontal screen….Still, after reviewing five different comics readers, all of which attempt to address this issue to one extent or another, none entirely satisfactorily, I can’t help thinking that the final answer to this issue won’t be new software, but rather new hardware.
A Survey of Digital Comics Readers
Every few years, a traditional comics publisher makes a renewed plunge into the webcomics market. And each time they do, they feel the need to introduce some “revolutionary” new piece of comics presentation software, as if this is what some purely hypothetical online comics industry has been waiting for. “Finally,” we are meant to exclaim, “we can actually read comics online!”
Given how the vast majority of webcomics do just fine as a succession of image files on web pages, it is a curious phenomenon.
Webcomics Vs. eBook Readers
The big question isn’t “if” or even “when,” since it probably won’t be very long– prototypes have already been seen– but “what will images look like on the new technology?” Again, eBook readers aren’t backlit, and they don’t have much glare. Those two aspects are what make screen displays appear similar to high-gloss paper. Take them away, and you take away the glossiness as well.