Monday, February 4, 2008

Everything Might Go! Pt. IVa

I'd intended to write on the social aspects of the con tonight, but I'm feeling somewhat stuck in the theme of what impact the decision to winnow the Kopperman Collection has had on me, and the broader implications. To begin, I'll share Bubba's observations on my desire to remove something from my life that still has emotional meaning to me, from the comments section the other day.

Bubba wrote:
"I'll tell you 2 things.

1. Looking at those old star wars comics made me drool. I remember reading those when they came out. Going to M&M comics in Nyack, reading the Ronin in the corner, checking out the d&d modules on the shelf. I can understand not wanting to get rid of those things.


2. I can understand getting rid of those things. There is something to be said for a neat and tidy space. I think we share that in common. Not that my space is neat and tidy, but i desire it to be so. I don't have the need to horde and collect things. But I do hang on to some things for nostalgia. I would be perfectly happy to have everything in my life digitized. Movies, music, all form s of printed matter. Maybe a magazine sized viewing device that is able to call up anything I need."

I'm a little less thrilled at the digital revolution than you. I like my real media, but I'll admit that real media does require space. Both of our houses (yours and mine, that is) were built before the age of home entertainment libraries, so there's no space built in for anything, anywhere.

In fact, the only library in my house was built out of the original back porch, back in the '60s. I'm guessing that a lot of staring at woodwork was going on back in 1915, because that's all this house offered at that point.

I wish I liked reading digital comics, but I don't. It's a hassle no matter what device I'm reading them on. I strongly doubt there'll be any technology that can replicate that feeling of holding a comic and turning the pages. Although that's being rendered an obsolete experience even before the digital age fully impacts the industry, since more publishers are heading into a trade paperback only model.

Plus, and here's the bit that ties it back to the comicon - the age of the all-digital library will put an end to things like my being able to sell Amazing Spider-Man #300 for $20 ... because things like Amazing Spider-Man #300 will stop being produced.

I hadn't even realized that the whole real vs. virtual media debate was lurking behind my discussion of the Kopperman Collection over the last few days, but there's no denying that I've been thinking about strategies for best importing my CD library and getting those CDs out of the living room, where they seem both out of place and out of time. Perhaps the desire to purge the comics comes from a similar place. But while I've come to terms with the age of the MP3, it should be pretty clear that comics will never be able to work for me fully in a virtual environment. Maybe that's because their physical, 'pamphlet' form is much more an icon from my childhood. Who knows?

Still, my vintage records sound better than my CDs, and the MP3s only sound worse. I don't think it needs to be that way (and I am contemplating importing everything as uncompressed audio), but how far are we willing to sacrifice quality for convenience? I swear to God, more than Iraq, Gay Marriage, the Mortgage Crisis and Immigration Reform rolled into one, that's the real issue facing the American People today.

An interesting side note you may not know: I worked at M&M Comics for a year or so, maybe when I was 16.

How about you other riders? Any thoughts on the pros and cons of traditional media? Can you see yourself with a kindle and an iPod Pico and feeling the same level of contact with your music and your reading? At what point do the things you own turn the tables and start to own you?

And, perhaps the biggest unspoken question behind the shift to virtual media - which seems to entail reducing every item to pure information: which is more important to you - a memory of the thing, albeit a perfect one, or the thing itself?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

memories are always sweeter. I don't care if it's a smell, a sight, or a song, the memories coughed up by such things can be more potent than the real thing ever was.