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Anybody that cares about sequential art has an opinion about the new DC 52. If you’re still reading after the first sentence, then apparently you care, too. I’m not going to go the obvious route and talk about how much I hate this new DCU and the re-launch of characters and origins, and what not. That horse is beaten, turned into glue, and used to bind Superman 80-page Giant. While I have very strong feelings about this turn of events, I am taking a more positive approach to the news.

It’s clear that this decision to restart their entire universe, world, order of being, is solely about money and making more of it. That being said, I don’t see it as being just about making more money. It’s about survival. The world, much to my regret in some forms of media, is going digital. Music, movies, and more importantly, books. Example: about two weeks ago, I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble and there’s a girl next to me, in the book store, on her laptop downloading books for her digital reader (I don’t know which brand or version). Now, whether this young lady went to the bookstore for the single purpose of being ironic is beyond me. But still, I found it strange. Such is the way of the world; so it seems.

Why not go digital? That’s the main question. It’s cheaper. By golly, *in my best Billy Batson voice* is it cheaper. No printing cost. No shipping fees. It’s certainly faster. With the cover price of books rising, and sales dropping, why not? If you can do it and deliver it faster, and satisfy all the Veruca Salt I-want-it-now of the worlds, then you should, right?

Let me ask you this? Why did you take the job you have now? What motivated your decision? Money? I thought so. Why? Just cause you wanted to be richer? I know, as a comic collector you’re already a millionaire like me. (In fact, I’m not writing this myself, I’ve hired a slew of writers to do it for me, and make minor grammatical errors so it seems homegrown.) Bottom line, for DC they needed new readers. They needed growth and to make greater sales. It was either this, or, possibly, die. I’m not certain it was that dire, yet. But, I’m sure it was on the horizon. While I don’t feel the re-launch was the best choice – if it was this or no DCU, then I choose this. Bob Dylan said it best, but had to be translated for us to understand – “The times they are a-changin’.”

A lot of people are afraid that this will be the end of printed comics as we know it. Wrong. There are too many people that depend on this for it to go away. Not only that, but printed comics create a symbiotic relationship with the company itself. If you want to see exactly what I’m talking about, why don’t you looks back at the coverage from the event this past weekend. The San Diego Comic Con. Among everything else that’s there, the place is jam packed full of comic artists. For many of them, this helps to supplement their income. It also gives them a chance to meet the readers/fans, and build sales. If a company goes all digital, what will fans bring to the cons to get signed? Their e-readers? Get real. What would artists sign? Hell, what would writers do? Sketch stick figures on Post-it notes? The cons have always been a friend, a close friend to the business. It’s one of the biggest tools they have to spread the word. You can’t have cons without printed books.

Now, me, I’m looking at the Skittles at the end of this rainbow. I was there during the late 80s and early 90s when the market spiked and then went to hell. Recently, I was looking through a price guide at all the books I had from that era that had such high values. Guess what, they’re all cover price now. Unless it was a sleeper, or something that skipped the radar, it would probably have more value as the skin on a homemade piñata. As a collector, I highly discourage the practice of stripping, rending, mutilating, or burning any comic unless of course it’s early X-Force, Youngblood (doesn’t this sound like a gay porn? With names like Shaft, Diehard, Badrock, Vogue… gay porn), or Sleepwalker. Anyway, none of those books were worth anything but the satisfaction of the story and art. Which means that a lot of those books are worthless. Why? Because the market was inundated with them. X-Men #1 isn’t going to be worth anything ever – no matter if it’s cover 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, or the gatefold – because they sold 5 million copies. Do you know what that means? It means that, no matter where you go in America, a household will have either a copy of Thriller on vinyl, a Swatch watch, or X-Men #1!

So, what happens when half the books go digital, and the number of printed books gets cut in half? Well you know that issue #10 of the new 52 Batman book where the new Bruce is revealed to have been Ra’s Al Ghul the whole time? Now it has actual value again beyond the story and art.

To be fair, none of us got into this because we had hopes of owning the next Action Comics #1, or Amazing Fantasy #15. We got into it for the characters, the stories, and the art. And for many of us, that turned into a hobby, or obsession. It’s just nice to know that something you’ve devoted a part of your life to has some dollar value to go along with the personal value.

Gather Ye Acorns, my friends. This just might be a good thing after all.

JeraleC

Mindseyechronicles@comcast.net

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