Twenty years ago, when I first attended the San Diego Comic-Con, it wasn't the spectacle it is today. Hollywood wasn't interested. Toymakers were only marginally more interested.

Now, all that's changing. Every major studio attended Comic-Con last week, as did most of the major video game publishers. Disney (NYSE: DIS), Sony (NYSE: SNE), and Fox Studios were all there, each one situated near Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), which was showing off a new Spider-Man theme game to the 125,000 or so fans in attendance.

The comic book industry isn't what it used to be, with one exception: Comics are still in print, and collectors still buy them at mom-and-pop shops and at Comic-Con. But even that could change soon.

In an interview, retailer and comics historian Robert Beerbohm, who's sold at every Comic-Con since the first one in 1970, proclaimed digital as the future. "People want to read the stories. It's not about having the paper document in your hand," Beerbohm said from the show floor. (Click the screen to see the whole interview.)

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy says you don't need superpowers to be super at disclosure.