We’ll always love our tactile collectible comic books, but that love comes from reading them, and that means we like digital too. You won’t see us sealing an iPad in plastic with a CGC rating anytime soon, but when it comes to conveying brand new comic books across the world the instant they’re released, digital downloads can’t be beaten.
It’s especially powerful for independent and otherwise odd titles as distributors don’t need to commit to an expensive print run. Format the file for download, and if you get an unexpected hit you can still sell exactly as many comic books as there are buyers. Which makes it even worse when a third party steps in to screw things. Even if your comic is about screwing things. Apple have proclaimed that Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarksy’s Sex Criminals #2 is unfitting for their hallowed iTunes store, and shall not pass. And lo, when people asked “Why did #1 get through?”, iTunes spake “Not any more it didn’t” and remove a comic which had already been selling for two months.
This isn’t a case of unidentified porn slipping through the nets. Fraction and Zdarksy need no introduction to anyone who’s read comics in the last ten years, and this provocative title heads a story talking about the real problems of growing up in a world which socially criminalizes even asking about sex. Sure, it stars fully fornicating felons as well, but it’s much more adult in the intellectual than the physical sense. All of which makes this comicectomy more ironic and unfortunate.
Sex Criminals is still available through the Comixology app, which conveniently cuts off Apple’s standard 30% fee for iPurchases and gives all the money to the people who actually make the things we want to buy. A good idea, and one we can recommend, at least until Apple realize that maybe we should be allowed to decide what we read for ourselves.