Crossover series feature multiple characters/books focused on a single storyline. Death of the Family involves the characters/books in Batman’s “family,” most of them superheroes trained by Batman, including Nightwing (former Robin Dick Grayson), Red Hood (former Robin Jason Todd), Batgirl, Batman’s son Damian (current Robin) and Teen Titans’ Red Robin (former Robin Tim Drake). Plus Catwoman. She and Batman love to hate to love one another.
In Death of the Family, the Batcrew joins once again for an epic battle (are there any un-epic battles?) against the Joker. The arc stretches through February; I’ll save my rambling 'til series’ end. For now, let’s talk digital.
I failed to score any of the October DOTF books: Batgirl #13, Catwoman #13, Batman #13. My friends @Harrisons_ said the books sold out in 30 minutes. I found copies elsewhere, but $20 for a $2.99 book proved too much for even my keen interest.
I purchased the books digitally, using DC Comics’ iPad app. I’ve heard comic book artists speak with varying degrees of enthusiasm about the transfer from ink-saturated paper to intangible pixels. For me, the move was upward.
Many pages of a comic book comprise multiple panels. Take, for instance, this page from Batman #13, part of the Death of the Family arc.
My eyes first take in the big picture, then consume only the strongest visual elements: darkness, text balloons, spotlight, “crack,” Commissioner Gordon’s horrified face. When reading the page digitally, I have the option of reading small panel to small panel, and I benefit.
The first panel I see – alone – is the top. I process only the dark and the words. I don’t see the upcoming action – the “crack” and the horrified face. I begin to read and, in time with Commissioner Gordon, I start to recognize the maniacal voice.
Moving through panels in this slower fashion increased my suspense. I wasn’t able to process the full page until I reached the final panel. For me, the experience felt much fuller. Comic books are short; quickly consumed. These digital meals stretched far longer than my paper snacks typically last, and I savored each individual ingredient.
Yes, I missed the slick signature feel of a DC comic book under my fingers, and I wondered if the coloring suffered (I didn’t notice if so). I realize I’m not supporting my local comic book store when I buy a digital book. But still, the digital experience made for a much stronger, much closer read and I’m going to continue on digitally for the rest of the series.