Oh, wait, comics aren't music... damn!
A couple weeks ago though, the music industry changed, with another huge move towards all digital, when Radiohead announced they're new album, In Rainbows, would be released online, and by them, direct. Regardless of what you think of their decision to make the album available at whatever cost, including free, they'll still take in likely bushels more than what a record company would give them. No middleman, no media, just 0's and 1's for pennies on the dollar. Artist makes more, fan pays less, that's what digital can, and I think should, mean.
That's the future of entertainment (at least the near one), and hopefully comics.
I know in the past I've ranted here about the pending switch to direct digital distribution, and the Radiohead model (one adopted suddenly by a slew of other big name artists including NIN, and Madonna) is a perfect illustration, providing the content, directly from the creator, to the public model, with no distribution or manufacturing required.
Holy shit that's nice!
Look, I don't want to bemoan Diamond, or any other cogs in the wheel of the comic book industry, but if an artist can release their work directly to the market, without inflating prices and sharing profits, that's the ideal state. Don't cry for the retailers or any other party who loses out here, they only exist because the artist needs them to reach an audience, and well through the magic of technology, we don't any longer.
Sure, for music, it's much more streamlined, there's no loss (perceived or otherwise) in quality, the product is the same, whereas comics, are still waiting for a better application to replace, or at least make it not so radically different, from paper.
With PSP's, and now Iphones, and other ereader/digital tech on the horizon, it's getting closer at hand.
In Rainbows is just the latest step in that direction, and possibly a big one.
I for one can't wait for the next!
And yes, I know the great majority of comic buyers are old school paper purists, but you can't argue spending $3 for a read vs .25 cents, or even a dollar, you just can't, not once you can nearly replicate the experience via some portable device.
And if you want to further argue that print will always exist, to some extent, fine, no doubt, just like Radiohead plan to release a deluxe disc edition down the road, there will of course still be a potential market for tangible edition items.
Also, before anyone gets too critical of me for wanting a bigger cut of my profits, consider that I'm a self publisher selling in the bottom range of market, a market that's increasingly hostile and unreceptive to my efforts. So to me, digital is an even brighter opportunity to make my art, and passion, viable.