Free public-domain golden age comics for you!

Jul 18, 2022 at 02:03 pm by nemirc

Free public-domain golden age comics for you!
Free public-domain golden age comics for you!

Maybe you are a fan of comic books, a fan of storytelling in general, or even a writer looking for some inspiration. In that case, this website might be interesting to you. Digital Comics Museum is a website that makes available, for free, golden-age comics that have gone into public domain. The comics are submitted by users, but are researched by team members to make sure they are indeed copyright free and in public domain.

In the “About” section there’s a disclaimer that drew my attention for the wrong reasons. The admins put this note saying they are interested on historical preservation and thus won’t be censoring or deleting parts of the comics, and rather just presenting them “as is.” To me this is common sense, since it’s a “Comics Museum,” but some people really promote the act of editing old media, even in the context of historical preservation and I do take an issue with that. I mean, you don’t see The Prado Museum painting clothes on The Nude Maja, or even worse, replacing The Nude Maja or The Clothed Maja with the painting of a bowl of fruit.

While I support the idea of companies adding disclaimers in front of old media (like adding disclaimers to old movies/cartoons with racial stereotypes). I do have a problem with some people (mostly in entertainment) taking it upon themselves to do “cultural revisionism” and edit material (both old and new) based on their own sensitivities. For example, Blizzard used a patch to remove some in-game paintings of women (that had been in the game for over two decades) in some parts of World of Warcraft and replaced them with bowls of fruit (hence my example of The Prado Museum above), and some translation companies edit dialogues of media produced in non-English speaking countries to fit their views, even if the original dialogue has nothing offensive in it (something that I consider extremely disrespectful to the original creators).

Now, back to the original subject…

If you are a comics fan (the only comics I read when I was a kid were those in the newspaper, and I don’t really read comics), there are some names you may recognize. I am not into comics, so I don’t really know any of the books I see here. However, based on the covers and the titles, I can already tell some of these comics look very interesting to me, since they are crime stories, horror stories, sci-fi or fantasy. I will have to check these out.

You download the comics as compressed files, and, you don’t have a limit to the number of comics you can download every month. If you think this site will be helpful to you in the long run, it would be good if you could donate to them, since the whole service is offered for free. Also, if you happen to have old comics that are now in public domain, you can also submit scans of those comics so they are added to the catalogue. As I said before, they take the time to research if the comic is actually in public domain.

Why is it important to know if they are copyright free and in public domain? Well, imagine you want to use one of these comics to make a short film, animated film or videogame. You want to make sure you can use this without having to pay anybody for licensing rights. This would be an even bigger issue if you happen to finish your project, distribute it, and then realize it was not in the public domain. If you are in the middle of the development, you may just get a “cease and desist” letter, but if you publish your finished project, you’ll have to pay licenses.

If you are into comic books, or you are looking for inspiration for your next project, or even looking for free, public domain source material for your next project, you should definitely check this website.

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