Memory Retention

I have a question for all my fellow readers of both digital and print comics: Am I the only one who has a hard time remembering what I read on a digital platform as opposed to what I read in a trade or floppie?
What I mean is, I read Grant Morrison’s Animal Man on here about a month and I can’t recall much of it to even say I read it at all. Which holds true for most of the titles I’ve read on here which is a shame ‘cause I’ve read a lot of comics on here.
The same time, I can recall many singular moments from JL Rebirth which I read a few years ago in physical form.
Was just curious if I’m the only one with such a problem and if so, I wonder why? Maybe some connection between having the physical copy in hand and reading it promotes better memory retention as opposed to swiping on a screen?
Thanks for reading, hoping to see what people say/think.


You know? I can’t say as I’ve noticed. Maybe in as much as certain panels or something that get locked in my memory as rather iconic… but I’ve been able to say, read a story arch on Digital and relate it about as well as I did on physical.

DC Database has great synopsis of story arcs, and individual issues. Their character Bios are great too. And their timeline of major events (crisis) helped me figuring out continuity.

I read a lot of physical and digital books, for a book blog I do. I have noticed that I read faster on the digital books than the physical books. Maybe that time spent with the physical, turning pages, helps retain what has been read in a deeper, more meaningful way. For me, the reason I started blogging was actually because I have memory retention issues. I was told that my input does not work correctly at this point, so I can’t remember a good chunk of what I read period. It is why I tend to repeat myself or reread things over and over again. I started a blog to help me remember what I thought about a book, comic book, tv show, or movie. I have found it helps me to gain a bit better recall, but I definitely hear you on losing the memory of something that I have read digitally versus the physical word. It is why I read my textbooks for class in the physical format. I retain it all better.

There are several possible factors. Aging. The older you get the more things get merged together in your memory. You might be able to remember things in more general ways, and have less specific, and focused memories. When you are young, everything seems to be embedded into your memory like it was written in stone, down to the smallest details, but as you age, the memory gets less clear on the specifics. I often need a reminder to recall things in more detail these days.

Another factor is if you read a whole series of digital comics, one after another, without taking time to absorb what you have read. You did not give it enough time to fully integrate into your long-term memory banks. If you want to remember something, you need to take a break, think about it, let it sink in, then move on. And later, recall the story again. That gives you a better chance of remembering what you read.


My short term memory 's garbage and it gets worse every year. So no, it’s not just you.

I think that our inundation with constant information from social media, news feeds, multiple streaming services with endless visual and audio media, and really i could go on forever… has caused all our memories to be worthless. We really don’t retain information anymore. Now it’s the proverbial “in one ear and out the other” effect for everything that we consume. As a society we are turning into mindless zombies.

But on a less depressing note… if you binge your comics on here then that might be the route of the issue. Try just slowing down and enjoying the comics panel-by-panel while your reading them, as opposed to just reading so you can get to the next issue.

I’d say that I remember as much binge reading digital as I did when I used to devour runs from the dollar bins or trades from the library. That said, I definitely remember arcs that I read as they came out over six months to a year much better than arcs where I read 18 issues in one day.

I have to use to keep track of what I’ve read. Otherwise I accidentally re-read issues until the sense of deja vu overcomes me.

I notice the comics of my youth stick with me much more than modern comics. As a bronze ager, there were only three networks and a couple of UHF stations and no VHS/DVD to rewatch. Comics could be read over and over again and I could drink in the art. And, I didn’t have any commitments and less distractions.

Now, job, wife, kid, 200 cable channels, Netflix, and tons of other distractions. I just don’t have the time to immerse myself in comics like I used to. I really enjoy what I read both digital and physical, but both fade faster these days.