On Wednesday, August 31st, DC Comics will launch a historic renumbering of the entire DC Universe line of comic books with 52 first issues, including the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE by NEW YORK TIMES bestselling writer and DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and bestselling artist and DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee. The publication of JUSTICE LEAGUE issue 1 will launch day-and-date digital publishing for all these ongoing titles, making DC Comics the first of the two major American publishers to release all of its superhero comic book titles digitally the same day as in print.A lot of people, and rightly so, are focusing on the "historic renumbering" part of the announcement, which, as I understand it, may or may not mean a full rebooting of the DC Universe. As an outsider, though, what I find more interesting is the announcement of "day-and-date digital publishing." That, right there, is pretty big news and potentially game changing, especially if it goes as well as I am sure DC hopes that it does.
Predictably, I can't say I'm too keen on the idea, as it's likely another cobblestone on the road to the eventual elimination of print media. Luddite that I am, I simply don't like reading books in electronic form, especially roleplaying books. That's why I'm not a big fan of PDFs. I tolerate them, because many RPG products are only available in PDF nowadays and I know that my dislike of them is a distinctly minority opinion, but they're not something I willingly choose when a print options is available.
Yes, yes, these comics will still be available in printed form, but will that be the case in 10 years time? I'm not so sanguine on that point, but then I'm pessimistic by nature, so take that as you will. Reading this news, though, I couldn't help but think of Wizards of the Coast and the way that D&D IV seems increasingly wedded to digital formats and delivery of new content. I have little doubt that this is profitable, likely more profitable than traditional methods, but I dislike it all the same. Fortunately, RPGs don't require anything more than a single rulebook to give a lifetime of enjoyment, so, even if the future of the book is as gloomy as I fear, I'm already set.