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Dig Comics (DVD Short)

Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2009
By: Jason Sacks

Dig Comics
Director(s) : Miguel Cima & Ertug Tufekcioglu
Starring: Miguel Cima, Jeph Loeb, Scott Shaw

Plot: Comics fan Miguel Cima attempts to persuade viewers to read comics in this short documentary.

Comments: The most telling (and off-putting) moment in this pro-comics doc comes early on when director Miguel Cima takes viewers through his home, packed wall-to-wall with comics. He tells viewers that heís just a normal guy with a normal girlfriend and he just happens to love comics. His girlfriend seems more bemused than anything else by what is clearly an obsession for Cima but itís a testament of her affection for him that she smiles for the cameras.

Dig Comics is an attempt to get the average viewer interested in comics by presenting interviews with comics professionals, citing stats about comics readership, and using man on the street interviews with people unfamiliar with the medium. I suspect the doc will have trouble connecting with audiences first because of the obsessive pack rat nature of its director as well as because itís hard-pressed to show viewers precisely whatís so appealing about comics and what has kept Cima a (presumably) lifelong fan of the medium.

Which is quite disappointing, since Cima seems like a genuinely nice guy whoís doing what he can to draw in new readers for what he feels is a failing industry. He cites the decline of the industry since its heyday in the 40ís and 50ís equating modern comics to Marvel and DC. He notes that the big two only bring in approximately $490 million annually versus the $9 billion in manga sales in Japan. He briefly touches on the consolidation of distributors down to effectively one company (Diamond) in the last 20 years, and how itís limited the channels through which comics can be delivered to prospective readers. But itís hard to get people to sympathize with the poor big corporations in such a rocky economy as the one in which we find ourselves.

Cima touches on the one thing that would draw in new fans late in the doc Ė he puts a book in the hands of a small child and gets him to read it. Itís an awkward moment Ė the kid is afraid of the camera and Cima makes him promises to try to read comics (again, off-putting). But thereís something to that moment. I would advise Mr. Cima to redirect his energies towards getting more comics in school libraries or better still letting retail chains and grocery stores know that it would be financially beneficial to them to have the latest Ultimate Spider-Man or Action Comics on the same rack alongside In Shape Magazine.

Until positive, real-world action can be taken to increase readership, I think position pieces like this film are really only preaching to the converted.

For more information on this film, visit the Dig Comics website.

If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at Monster In Your Veins



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