Tuesday, June 10, 2008

500 Comics on one CD - and they're legal!

These have been around for a while but if you've never seen them, they might be of interest. In recent years a company called GIT (that's Graphic Imaging Technology Inc., not, as far as I know, a company full of gits) have been producing DVD-ROMs featuring scans of classic American comics.

The products are fully licensed by the comic companies (not pirate copies like some dodgy online dealers sell) and feature 500 comics or more on one DVD-ROM! Each product usually focuses on one comic series and features scans of every single page of the comics, including letters pages and ads.

The format of the discs are simply laid out so the reader can see a cover gallery for each year, then he/she can click on a comic, and start reading.

One negative point is that although the comic annuals/specials are included (even the reprints) the "Giant-Size" quarterly titles that Marvel produced in the 1970s aren't. This is unfortunate as some of the monthly titles cross over into those issues.

The comics can be read in Adobe Reader (which is installed on the discs if you don't have it) and pages can be zoomed in to see the artwork as large as you wish. The two Marvel editions I have (40 Years of Avengers and 44 Years of Fantastic Four) have quite high resolution scans so the artwork can be studied in great detail.

As these are scans of the actual comics, not digitised reprints, the reader sees the comics as they were, which means off-register colour at times, and newsprint reproduction, - but that only adds to the period charm. You're looking at history!

A particularly interesting DVD-ROM in this range is Absolutely Mad: 53 Years of MAD Magazine. This contains the entire Fifties original colour comic book, plus the entire magazine run right up to a few years ago. Over 600 issues.

Unfortunately I noticed that the resolution of the pages wasn't so high on the Mad collection compared to the Marvel ones. Perhaps this is because each issue is 52 pages and there are so many of them compressed onto one disc. The text appears a little fuzzy in close up. A great pity, as most of these issues have never been reprinted before. However the pages are still legible.

If you don't mind reading comics on a computer monitor (and personally I don't find it very relaxing, but a laptop might help) then these DVD-ROMs are a cheaper alternative to Marvel Masterworks or suchlike. The discs are compatible with Mac and PC.

Check out gitcorp's website for the full range of comic collection DVD-ROMs. You may also find them available on eBay (which is where I bought mine):



Wil said...

Apparently GIT no longer have the Marvel license (as Marvel are doing their own online digital stuff now) so there won't be any more of these and when they're gone, that's it.

I'd love to have some of these collections but I can't find anywhere in the UK that sells these so I guess it's just Ebay time again.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks for the update Wil. I bought mine on eBay from an American seller. I didn't see any UK seller with them at the time, but it worked out quite reasonable with the current state of the dollar against the pound.

Ken Davidson said...

I've tried to replicate a relaxed reading process with my laptop propped up on my duvet, two pillows behind the head, a cup of cocoa and kahlua, and the screen brightness turned down low.

It's okay, but the kahlua is necessary: the whole set-up is certainly not an alternative to having the paper product in your mitts.

There's something distinctly distracting about reading on a box of overheating electronics, with the clickettyclick of hard drives, and the occasional blast of CPU fan.

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