A panel discussion between Ira Rubenstein, executive vice president of Marvel’s Global Digital Media Group, Dave Roman, cartoonist and associate editor of Nickelodeon Magazine, and Stuart Levy, chief executive officer of Tokyopop.
Roman: Most people I know and that I’ve talked to don’t read books more than once. There is that collector mentality, but that’s a very niche comic book mentality that has to do with rarity and collectibility that will not exist digitally. The idea of a rare digital file may never really happen. So the idea of convincing somebody to pay for a book when so much reading online is free…that’s the reason newspapers are dying, because a newspaper would want to charge for their content – for like an editorial or something – but some blogger can do it for free, and for the most part people don’t care.
Rubenstein: But Dave, I think there’s a difference. No one can write about Spider-Man or X-Men except for us.
Roman: I disagree.
Rubenstein: Those are our characters. How could someone else write another Spider-Man story?
Roman: Because fan fiction is becoming so powerful. I’ve seen the power of fan fiction. Working at Nickelodeon, there are people out there doing ‘Avatar’ comics that are soooooo much better…
Rubenstein: But that’s like saying YouTube is a real entertainment channel. It’s not.
Roman/Levy/like five people in the audience: It is.
Roman: I do think the future is more with the multi-platform things. Kids today are growing up with these devices so the learning curve is not there as it is in older fans. A lot of older comic book readers seem to have a tough time with web comics because it’s not what they’re used to. There’s this divide with reading in print and reading on screen, but with the younger kids you find more and more that they don’t have that problem. "