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05 July 2012

file under digital comics: The Surrogates: Case Files and Bandette

(Image stolen from The Surrogates: Case Files #1 on sale here.)

I've been on the fence about digital comics for a long time.  More accurately, I've been about 50 yards away from the fence thinking about if I should walk over and look at it or not.  I've been waiting to see if other people get on that fence and how hard they land if they fall off.  I read paper comics and webcomics every day but digital comics have failed to lure me in.  I don't have a cell pad pod phone so the apps and incentives mean nothing to me.  But, reading comics on a laptop is okay.  I read webcomics on it every day.  I've used my laptop to read a few free pdfs here and there and a few free samples on Comixlology but I have not felt compelled to pull the trigger on buying digital comics.  Until this week.
I've noticed over the past week or so (mostly thanks to twitter word of mouth) that a lot of indie publishers have been getting into the digital comics game with a new enthusiasm.  To pay full print cover price for a Justice League comic I can read on my laptop has not been a sales pitch I'd buy into.  But to pay $1.99 for a new Surrogates story from Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, sure, I'll do that.  

I got The Surrogates: Case Files #1 from Top Shelf and read it through Comixology.  For just $1.99 it was a really solid and substantial comic.  It's a self contained story so it did not leave me empty.  I'm a big fan of the previous Surrogates stuff and the writing and art live up to that standard.  The story is a police detective mystery with a Surrogates world sci-fi twist.  I loves me some sci-fi so I'd be glad to have another dose of this every week.  This story is a prequel to the other Surrogates stuff so we get to see Venditti take his time and develop the Harvey Greer character as he is still learning the ropes.  
Weldele's strength is his use of light and color and, I really hate to type this but, his art may work better on a lighted digital device than it does on paper.  Gasp!  I mean, just look at the image I sampled above.  It is fantastic and I don't think it would have the same punch on paper.  
The purchase was easy.  The read was enjoyable.  As they make more, I will be reading them.  And by the way, if you have not yet read the two Surrogates graphic novels, you can go do that right now at the very low digital sale price of $2.99 each. 
(Image stolen from Bandette #1 on sale here.)

Over at MonkeyBrain Comics they also have a bunch of neat looking digital comics for super cheap.  I checked out Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover.  It is a lot of fun.  It looks and reads like a Richard Sala comic.  To be more specific, it looks and reads like Sala's Cat Burglar Black.  Which is fine by me because I loved that book.  My daughter also loved Cat Burglar Black and has been asking me forever when another volume was going to come out.  Bandette could be Cat Burglar Black volume 2 but sadly I won't share this with my 10 year old just yet.  It has about one line of potty mouth and one panel of legs up sexy time that are about one percent outside my threshold for what I'll let her read.  And that's a shame because I think it would be her favorite comic.  Bandette is a young female adventurer/bandit (get it, bandit, Bandette, haw!) with a group of partners that include a scooter riding delivery guy,  five street hooligans and three ballerinas.  Ideas for comics don't get much better than that. 

Both of these digital comics reading experiences were fun for me and left me excited to read more.  I think price point is super important here.  My digital purchases will never be like Wednesday comics shopping.  Or at least I don't think it will.  It won't be a destination thing where I say, today is the day I shop for digital comics.  Like almost all of my internet shopping since there has been an internet, it will be an impulse thing and price will be critical.  It's like any other product, if I feel I get my money's worth, I'll keep coming back.   

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s. Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
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