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notebook 16feb10

* in comics, digital is the elephant in the room this year. By the end of the year there will be a small pile of new-gen tablet computers. And, if not Longbox, then probably two or three other places at minimum where you can buy comics in one way or another. And a handful of pirate sites that become tablet(s)-friendly. Digital comics sales are all about this simple question – the threat of cannibalising the bricks-and-mortar comics store network, against a digital system that can reach all the places where comics stores simply don’t exist.

* everyone I’ve spoken to this month has said essentially the same thing, no matter what medium they work in: “It’s the IP, stupid”

* I almost wish I were in the network TV business. When a medium chokes and stutters, all kinds of interesting opportunities emerge from the interstices.

* plaintext still wins.

Published in notebook


  1. Dan Rangel Dan Rangel

    Hi Mr Ellis, how’ve you been? I’m afraid my reply has nothing to do with your latest post, but I’m in Brazil right now and have just read a Global Frequency story of yours and it’s quite interesting. I’ve also learnt G.F. is no longer published. Are there any plans to get back to it? Moreover, are there any solid chances that a TV show based on it will be financed?
    Best Regards!


  2. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    GLOBAL was a finite, 12-issue series. No intent to do any more. It’s under option as a tv show by WB right now. It may or may not happen.

  3. Drdoombot Drdoombot

    I’ve been reading nearly all of my comics digitally for years now. It’s as simple as someone writing an app that can read cbr/cbz files. As soon as that app comes along, I’m buying whatever tablet is out there.

    I really hope DC and especially Marvel get their heads out of their asses and jump on this while it’s hot. I’m ready and willing to pay for comics if the publishers would provide them.

  4. Bob Tomko Bob Tomko

    Hi Warren,

    My comic store hasn’t had new comics for two weeks.

    They say they are re-negotiating with Diamond.

    The owner told me last week that he might be changing what his store offers.

    I think he’s figured out that selling toys and other items might be more profitable.

    If other store owners end up doing the same thing, the move to digital comics might come even sooner than you think.

    Best –


  5. Always ahead of the game. The cool thing is all the funky stuff you can do on a digital platform that isn’t possible on paper, incorporating elements of motion and interactivity that have never been possible before now. It’ll be the people who can run with the changes and use them to their advantage that’ll float.

  6. Drax Drax

    “plaintext still wins.” Hell yes.

  7. *head desk* I’ve been so out of the comics loop that I never even considered the brick & mortar stores (given what they are like over here …).

    I must object about plaintext! “To Sherlock Holmes, she will always be *the* woman.” The rare time Conan Doyle used italics for emphasis in all of his Holmes stories gets lost in plaintext. That’s just unacceptable.

    As for TV … well, look, the programs can often be dumb but the people in it are usually at least a level or two (or much more) above those in publishing. That’s why they get the Big Bucks.

  8. Patrick Thompson Patrick Thompson

    I look forward to more digital distribution and experimentation. My motivations are purely selfish, I live in Alice Springs roughly 1000 miles from the nearest ‘bricks and mortar’ store.

  9. […] Warren Ellis on network TV: I almost wish I were in the network TV business. When a medium chokes and stutters, all kinds of interesting opportunities emerge from the interstices. […]

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