Getting my hands and eyes on American comics can be a bit of a hassle here in Japan. Luckily, I'm more into vintage comics than the new stuff (except for a few titles from Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Boom! and IDW, that is) and I can buy all the Essentials, Archives, Best ofs and Collected Editions I want from Amazon.jp. They're a bit pricey, though, and while I love the feel of a nicely-designed hardcover archival comic collection printed on quality paper, those take up a huge amount of space and they're heavy. Buying them digitally from the Dark Horse website or single issues from Comixology means transferring money home and keeping track of my US funds and that's a huge headache because the post office bank here isn't open on weekends for that kind of stuff.
So what to do? Why, find a way to pay with my Japanese money. Amazon.jp makes that easy when you want a paper version. You can order COD, for crying out loud, a system that resulted in my receiving a box a day there for a while. You can also go to the nearest convenience store, input your order number into a special machine and print out an invoice, then pay at the register. A day or two later, a delivery person shows up with your package. It's fun. But that doesn't help now that I'm married and I have to share space. I can't just pile up a huge library of gigantic comics reprints anymore. Plus, we're kinda trying to save money for our future, something I never considered having before transforming myself from a single person into one half of a couple.
Switching my collection to mostly digital makes a lot of sense, but it entails a new set of solutions. Comixology has been fantastic, but there's that bank transfer thing, and Dark Horse has its archival material exclusive to its website which involves doing that even more. Rats.
Luckily, there's Kindle. Dark Horse has generously provided Amazon with Kindle versions of its Creepy and Eerie books, and DC has done the same with a lot of its collected editions. IDW even put out a Kindle version of Torpedo with Alex Toth art. I don't have a Japanese credit card, but I can buy an Amazon gift card for myself and go nuts. The best thing is, instead of paying the equivalent of 40 or 50 bucks for a book, I can get a digital copy for about 17 dollars. This means even more of the Creepy and Eerie volumes become desirable, whereas before I had to cherry-pick them based on material I considered "essential."
Now the Kindle I have is the base model and it's pretty old now-- in relative terms as these gadgets go. It won't display graphic novels. And I should have checked to see if I could read them on my Windows Kindle app before I bought them. That would've been the smart thing to do. But I was so excited by the prospect of buying Creepy cheaply (say that five times fast) I jumped the gun. The end result is I'm contemplating buying one of those full-color expensive Kindle things and I have Creepy Archives Volume 1, Torpedo 1 and DC's Jack Kirby's OMAC on my iPhone now. That's where I'll leave things for a while. I'm not in any big hurry to buy the new Kindle and it's the kind of thing I have to vet with my wife before I do. Major purchase. It's a good system we have, and luckily for us both I've inherited my dad's Depression-born reluctance to spend more than 100 dollars a year unless it's on food. It took me two years to work up the nerve to buy the computer I usually read comics on these days and even then I felt sick to my stomach for a month.
On the other hand, I'm addicted to books and old comics.
Now with Amazon having bought Comixology, it will be interesting to see how the payment plans shake out. Will Comixology start accepting Amazon gift cards, for example? And will they furthermore accept them if they're bought with Japanese yen? That doesn't seem likely, but it would certainly make my comics buying-- even of new titles-- much easier. And what about Dark Horse? How do they fit in since they have their own proprietary digital comics-reading engine?