I'm a DC Fan...But Am I All In for DC Universe Infinite?
Are there too many apps and digital comics in days of the pandemic?
I just randomly dropped off a manuscript 1st draft about center-left politics to a confused secretary behind a glass partition
I almost didn’t want to write anything today; however, it has been a momentous day for me.
I’m not talking about the presidential inauguration, but for other reasons. I am hitting the Big Red reset button today. I do this quite often.
Here I am showing a new set of teeth (read the ‘anonymous’ whiskey/old band story on Luke’s Substack), upper and lower dentures ready for Zoom meetings, and public speaking. I miss my Mom who died on 24 January 2016. More than anything, I wish I could speak with her about her teeth and denture problems. Like all motherly advice, I should have listened to her and brushed my teeth as a candy-eating teen, a booze bag in my 20s and 30s, and I might have been able to save a few of my teeth if I had started with a good dental hygiene routine in my late 30s. I’m 45 now and Denture Dentist says I’m too young to have my remaining teeth ripped out, but I want that intense clean start. I haven’t had a drink in over 11 years, and with that comes certain wisdom.
“One Must Take Care of Oneself” - Alfred Pennyworth
In between crying and time-shift singing along with Garth Brooks (?) like a maniac walking back to work from my dentist, I had also been thinking about my weekly pilgrimage to my Local Comic Book Store.
In fact, a local NIVA meeting might push my Wednesday Warrior shopping habit to Thursday or even the weekend. If I miss the window, there is always next Wednesday. My shop holds on to my G.I.Joe book if I don’t grab it from the shelf. It’s the only book I aim to have a full run of. G.I. Joe #110 is the 1991 comic I have a letter printed in. It continues to this day, at a new publisher and after a hiatus.
Self-imposed deadlines or deadlines, in general, are completely fucking bullshit.
As I went to sleep last night I knew that I had burned extra hours to have a post ready for today, but actually am very glad I stayed awake. I had not anticipated the emotional rollercoaster of visiting the dentist, taking an early ride to my office at 8:30 am (Stacey’s repair shop is by my office), and other weights of the day. This day has been a lot of ‘cascading’ emotions.
I am here this late Wednesday, to address the Digital Comics Elephant in the room. DC Universe was a stand-alone app that scratched a lot of fans. Since 2018 I’ve read comics, watched Doom Patrol, Titans, Harley Quinn, and an impressive catalog that included most Batman movies, archived shows like the 70’s Shazam, Lois and Clark, Supergirl The Movie, and a ton more.
HBO Max now hosts most of this content and other Warner Bros content for those following along at home. Disney+ and HBO Max are closest to each other in what they can perform, but one thing is for sure, Disney+ never hosted any comics (maybe they should?).
DC Universe hosted 22,000 DC Comics.
That’s deep-dive, archive shit. Norm Breyfogle and Alan Grant Detective Comics. Denny O’Neil’s Legends of the Dark Knight SHAMAN storyline inspired Christopher Nolan’s films. Watchmen. It was all there for me. A long box in my hand! On a machine that also has Twitter!
ComiXology launched in 2007. The debate over digital comics has waged since then, with cries that this may close comic shops for good! 2007 “us” did not foresee a 2020 “us” struck by a once in a century pandemic. Concerts are shuttered and, for a good couple of months, comics were shut down along with comic shops.
In late 2020 I bought a new iPad with an Apple Pencil and all the features. I’ve also done a ‘PHASE I’ sort of all of my long boxes (because…Quarantine), and since stores have opened back up, I’ve accumulated my weekly books without reading many of them. Our Podcast has a new format, broader and more interesting than just a review of weekly books, focusing now on TV and Movies with comics as an obvious backdrop. Though, frankly, I’ve nearly stopped reading comics altogether.
My fandom is strong, I still want to read comics, and perhaps with the political temperature in the air dropping closer to room temperature, my brain can crack these books open. In fact, I have started catching up, and have about 6 months of one of my favorite books, Daredevil to catch up on. It’s the comics equivalent of waiting for seasons to binge. Or what is called “trade waiting”, waiting for 10 issues or so of your favorite book to be bound before you read it, and this helps solve a key single issue storage problem.
The DC Universe app (comics, TV, movies) goes away tomorrow, and DC Universe Infinite drops. The movies and TV shows are already over on HBO Max. Though I have watched and enjoyed Krypton on the DC Universe App, I have to move on now. Explaining this split, to the other Doom Patrol and Harley fan in the house is even daunting. Why so many apps, Dog?
Thursday brings us a DC Universe Infinite launch. If it were just a matter of the comics being separated from the shows, that would be one thing, but DC Universe Infinite is solving a problem that I have with the digital comics release schedule. While the DC Universe original catalog was impressive and I could spend a week with my family with only that for entertainment, the Infinite version gives me comic books that are 6 months old in the app. Usually, one would have to wait for much longer than that for the Netflix-type experience.
So…am I sold on this “Big Idea”?
I think…I may be. This early access to current-ish storylines is all I need to keep up with in DC Comics. I don’t have ComiXology Unlimited or Marvel Unlimited but I am tempted to try these out and think of ways to support my shop in other ways. Actually, I am still set in my ways to go to the store for Marvel and Image Comics, but keeping up with DC I can do on my iPad. I was already reading the most recent releases on the app (Jimmy Olson, Mister Miracle) when comic issues dropped fresh as ‘new to the app’.
Now the window is shorter, and I’m kind of digging that prospect.
To my partner’s chagrin, the long boxes are an ever-present problem (you don’t see me criticizing their scarf and plant collections!), and the weekly books are sitting in the kitchen in a secure box, bagged, sorted, and boarded now on Day 1 until I have a few issues loaded up of each series. So…in my Quarantine Life, I’ve become weird, obsessed with cataloging and organization, and trying to make our small apartment larger by removing detritus and Kipple each chance I get.
Will I fully go digital? I doubt it.
I like books, I like comics. I like doing my comic book picks on Wednesday. I like my shop. I like giving them money. It looks like Marvel has shortened the gap to three months on their app for certain titles. In all honesty, that’s about the same I don’t see much of a difference (for me). Any of these books I could buy on any given Wednesday if I am obsessed with a series. I also may wish to read digitally but have hard copies of Rorschach by Tom King for example.
Not much will change when DC Universe Infinite launches on Thursday, except I may be changing how often I open the app and actually read. Reading hasn’t so much become a chore, comics or otherwise, but even though there is more free time, there is also less of it somehow.
I get regular updates from the publisher, and here are some preview images of the app and what you can expect with a DC Universe Infinite subscription.
Read the full press release here.
How are you reading your comics? Digital? Single Issues? Trade? Some combo of them all? Let me know in the comments!