Traditional Comic Books Face the Digital Age

The new wave of comic consumption is digital.

ByABC News
July 25, 2010, 9:06 PM

July 25, 2010— -- Every year, comic book enthusiasts from all over the world flock to San Diego for one weekend of superheroes, villains and all things comic-related. Welcome to Comic-Con 2010.

The convention has long evolved from being just a geeky gathering for comic book fans. Today, it is a star-studded sold-out event.

Angelina Jolie stopped by this year for a widely publicized appearance to promote her new spy thriller, "Salt." And the casts of series films like "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" have also been known to incite fan frenzies premiering clips from their latest installments at the convention.

This year, behind the outrageous costumes and movie previews was a serious debate -- what will happen to the "book" in comic books?

Similar to the path already taken by books and music, the new wave of comic consumption is digital.

The industry giants, like Ira Rubenstein, a vice president of Marvel Entertainment, see the step as a positive one.

"I think digital enables a whole new audience to experience comic books that haven't had access," Rubenstein said.

The much buzzed-about comic book applications that came out with Apple's iPad is supposed to give readers the same feel of reading a full size comic book.

Jonah Weiland, the executive producer of Comic Book Resources, an online community for comic book fans filled with reviews, blogs, discussion groups and videos, said the iPad can even enhance the experience.

"Comic books look fantastic on digital devices. You take one look, you have the color pop off the screen," Weiland said. "Digital comics look fantastic and they look better than anything we've seen in print thus far."

What effect will this have on the print market and all local comic book shops all around the country?