End Of An Era

By | Tuesday, August 21, 2007 Leave a Comment
I got a letter yesterday from MicroComics. They're a division of MicroColour International that specializes in putting old Golden Age comic books on microfiche.

I got a microfiche reader from them about five or six years ago, and a pretty decent collection of GA comics from Timely. It's essentially the first 30 issues or so of Human Torch Comics, Captain America Comics and Sub-Mariner Comics. Lots of gorgeous material there from classic creators like Jack Kirby, Bill Everett, Alex Schomburg, Carl Burgos, as well as some text pieces by youngsters Stan Lee and Mickey Spillaine. Kind of expensive overall, having to get the reader as well as the microfiche, but ultimately cheaper than buying the Masterworks reprints of them (which weren't even around back then) and infinitely cheaper than the originals!

Anyway, the letter I got from them said: "As imaging is gradually shifting to digital, more and more film related products are becoming unavailable. An option for additional film supply is no longer possible." They go on to note that once their existing supply is gone, they will no longer be restocking the materials necessary to make the microfiche comics. They're selling off their remaining stock now.

It was inevitable, certainly, and I'm honestly surprised they've remained as a viable business for as long as they have. Heck, I was surprised when I first heard about them almost ten years ago! But it's a timely (no pun intended) message as I've been recently been working to organize the collection of digitally scanned comics on my hard drive, which numbers now over 1,200 issues.

I must admit that there's a curious sense in reading a microfiched comic. You have the electric glow of colored light showing you images of costumed heroes, much like you do with a digital comic, but the presentation is generally more coarse. There's a greater sense of reading an old comic, something more visceral, than reading a digital version on your computer monitor. Of course, I'm not at all saying that microfiched comics are better than digital ones, just that it's a curiously different reading experience, one that I suspect most comic fans have never enjoyed.

And now, it seems, they'll be that much less likely to enjoy.
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