June 18, 2012


Digital Vs. Print: Side by Side Comparison

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When I read X-O Manowar #2, I was impressed with the coloring, especially of the scenes of the Vines prisoners working in the gardens. Moose Baumann did a superb job!

I buy my comics at my local comic shop, so the first time I read X-O Manowar #2, I read it in print. I later bought the digital version of X-O Manowar #2 as well, and I noticed that the colors look a tad different on my iPad than they do in print.

The differences aren’t drastic, but I still thought it would be interesting to compare the colors side by side, in both X-O Manowar and Harbinger.

X-O Manowar #2

Here’s that first page of the workers in the garden, with the print version on the left, and the digital on the right.

X-O Manowar, Print version on the left, digital on the right

X-O Manowar, Print version on the left, digital on the right

The colors in the digital version are a bit more vibrant than the print version. Here’s another side by side comparison from another page from X-O Manowar.

X-O Manowar print v digital

Another X-O Manowar #2 panel, print on the left, digital on the right


Harbinger wasn’t quite as much of a difference. Here’s a few panels from Harbinger #1, with the print version on top, and the digital version on the bottom.

Harbinger Panel comparison

Harbinger Panels, print on top, digital on the bottom

I didn’t notice as much of a difference between the print and digital versions with Harbinger, though kinda interestingly from a process point of view, the magenta in the print version came out stronger than the digital version.

Just for fun, my favorite panel from Harbinger:

can't catch the wind

You can't catch the wind! print version at left, digital at right

The digitally vibrancy is a little more apparent in this panel.

Ink Versus Light

Print and digital are always going to look a little different. Print is made up of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black ink. Digital is made up of Red, Green, and Blue light pixels. These lead to differences in how images and colors look by their nature. Sometimes ink can’t capture the full range of color that digital can.

If you are reading the new Valiant comics either in print or digitally, here’s an idea of how the other looks.


  • My local shop did not have the new Valiant titles in on the Wed they came out, so I went digital for the first time. WOW, I always liked having a hard copy in my hands (school text, books, magazines, etc.), but the way Comixolgy does the book one panel at a time and the vibrant colors really sold me. I plan on going digital until the trades come out for the Valiant titles. The DB in the store with the pony tail and attitude may have also played a part. Nice post Sean!

  • @Jeff, strangely, the biggest threat to local comic shops may be the local comic shops themselves 😉

    I’m a big fan of digital, Comixology does a great job.
    Sean recently posted..Week In Review, June 16 2012My Profile

  • The small business environment is fickle at best, and patient/customer service plays a HUGE part of it. As someone just getting back into comics, and is on the tipping point, walking into a shop and being ignored or scoffed at for not being savvy or interested in the DC 52 or AvX (really?!) doesn’t help. Anyway, Valiant has my money!
    Jeff recently posted..Back in IowaMy Profile

  • Yeah, I don’t quite get it.

    Businesses have the hardest time, especially small business, and extra especially comic shops. They should be doing everything they can to be helpful and cultivate business.

    I had the opposite experience, I had been buying my comics mail order, from DCBS, and I decided to start buying comics from a comic shop again when Valiant relaunched. The shop owner was incredibly helpful, friendly, and excited to help me out to get a pullbox going for all the Valiant titles. When I go in there every week, I look forward to the trip. It doesn’t seem difficult to do, but surprisingly, it seems rare.
    Sean recently posted..Irrational Excitement for NinjakMy Profile

  • Michael comments:

    My nearest LCS is almost an hour away, so I’ve been reading almost nothing but digital since the New 52 launched, and I really prefer the crisp look of the digital page vs the printed one. I’m glad that I can get so many comics this way now. I love being able to pick up my tablet and have a nice new stack of comics waiting for me in under 20 minutes. I can easily see a day when monthly/weekly comics are digital only, with print being reserved for collected editions. Readers still get the immediacy of new Wednesday comics, plus print comics in book form.

  • Michael comments:

    I forgot to say this, but I’ve been re-reading my old Valiants on my tablet for the past week. I still have a box or two of the originals, but there’s something nice about having a complete run of Valiant on a single memory card, ready to read at a moment notice no matter where I’m at.

  • My habits with digital comics are a bit mixed. These days, I only buy Marvel and DC comics digitally (if at all), and I buy my Valiants, Image books, IDW, Boom, and Dark Horse books in print.

    I think that tablets are the best thing to happen to digital comics so far.
    Sean recently posted..“Sunrise” Mylar Sun PrintMy Profile

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