View Full Version : Classic Marvel Comics Online
Nov 13, '07, 7:39 AM
Saw this on The Register today.
Marvel today launched a "Digital Comics" initiative which will offer certain vintage content online for $9.99 a month or $4.99 a month if you stump up for an annual subscription.
Among the stuff on offer is the "first original run of X-Men", and issues one to 100 of both Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, as well as "so much more!"
What you don't get is the latest issues, which won't be made available for six months after their release date - and you can't download material, so it's browser-only perusal of Marvel material.
Tentative it may be, but Reuters describes the Marvel net launch as "the industry's most aggressive web push yet".
It's a natural reaction to kids' changing habits and a market shift away from traditional paper. Marvel prez Dan Buckley, evidently having just come from a meeting with the comapny's Strategy Boutique, said: "You don't have that spinner rack of comic books sitting in the local five-and-dime anymore. We don't have our product intersecting kids in their lifestyle space as much as we used to."
Other comic outfits currently attempting to intersect with kids in their lifestyle space are Dark Horse Comics, which is punting itself down at MySpace, and DC Comics allegedly has issues available on the world's premier hilarious amateur vid site. ®
Nov 13, '07, 8:04 AM
Usa Today (who seems to LOVE comics, especially Marvel) article-
Marvel Comics shows its marvelous colors in online archive - USATODAY.com (http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/2007-11-12-comics-online-main_N.htm)
By David Colton, USA TODAY
The comic book industry makes a long-delayed step into cyberspace today when Marvel Comics unveils the industry's first online archive of more than 2,500 back issues, including the first appearances of Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Incredible Hulk.
Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited will offer the archive in a high-resolution format on computer screens for $59.88 a year, or at a monthly rate of $9.99, at marvel.com.
Subscribers will be able to access the first hundred issues of key titles, turn pages with a click of the mouse or navigate a battle against Dr. Doom frame-by-frame with a "Smart Panel" viewing feature. The user can zoom in on details of art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko from the 1960s or catch up with today's The Ultimates and New Avengers.
"We did not want to get caught flat-footed with kids these days who have the tech that allows them to read comics in a digital format," says Dan Buckley, Marvel's president. "Our fan base is already on the Internet. It seemed like a natural way to go."
To help sell the experience to an audience unaccustomed to paying for content, Marvel will offer a free sampler of 250 titles. Asked why people would pay for superheroes when newspaper websites have been unable to charge for content, Buckley says, "You can get the news anywhere. We're the only ones who have Spider-Man."
While comic book publishers have experimented with online content for years, Marvel's effort is by far the most extensive. DC Comics recently launched its own online site, Zuda comics.com, which offers free online comic strips by newcomers. DC does not offer its back catalog of Superman and Batman online.
Marvel's online initiative comes as publishers find that the traditional comic book, which now costs $2.99 an issue, is acting as a springboard to other formats, including trade paperbacks and more expensive reprints.
To protect current sales of comic books, new issues won't be on the Marvel site until six months after they are published.
"If they put their monthly comic online at the same time, they'd be cutting their own throats and undercutting the retailers," says Peter David, a comic book writer currently adapting Stephen King's The Dark Tower for Marvel. "The material is owned by Marvel, and they can do whatever they want with it. This is just another means of reprint when you come down to it."
Comic books have not been immune from Internet file sharing. But unlike MP3s for music, fans haven't found a format to easily share the pages.
"About 90% of the comic books sold today are scanned and put online within 36 hours," says Chris Arrant, a comic book analyst for Newsarama.com.
"Our quality is much higher; the library is huge and will never go out of style," says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada. "This is the legal way to do things."
Nov 13, '07, 12:21 PM
MAN I guess if all you want to do is read em that works but to be honest unless you are reading ALOT of comics I thinks the archives are a better buy and GASP you have something to keep as long as you want not just as long as you continue to pay for the subscription. maybe it's because I'm old but I hate to read a comic online the white borders make my eyes hurt
Nov 13, '07, 12:31 PM
I respectfully ask that people refrain from supporting Marvel's online comics.
Marvel's time and resources would be better focused on trying to increase the quality of their printed product, as well as correcting their endless problems with late shipping books. These problems are completely separate from the COMPLETE absence of communication with their retailers.
Nov 13, '07, 1:28 PM
Obviously I'm NOT Marvel's target audience for the on-line comic program...which is good because I have no desire to read my comics on-line. Please...isn't it enough that today's kids spend waaay too much time on the computer/internet/video games anyway? Do we really need to give them another reason to NOT pick up a book? Even if it's a comic book, I'd rather have my kids reading that and have them turning the pages instead of moving a mouse around to look at panels.
Me personally, I like the feel (and the smell in the case of older comics) of the actual physical comic book. Yes the ability to read old Spideys and FF stories without buying the actual, pricey books can sound appealing...but where's the fun in that? I love hitting the back issue bins at the comic shop to find some old comic rag to read on a Saturday afternoon. And if I want archival material, I'm sure I can always dig through my stash of the last 30+ years to find something good to read without having to resort to on-line material.
Seems to me that the comic companies are trying to come up with all of these wacky ways to compete with the modern world. Maybe they should try something unique...like getting spinner racks back in bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders (Waldenbooks does have them I believe)...how about drug stores, convenience stores, grocery stores? I'd probably drop dead with excitement if I saw comic books back in one of these establishments. The move to strictly direct-market years ago hurt the comic industry long term I think. I've got to drive 25 minutes to a neighboring town each week to get my weekly stash.
Nov 13, '07, 2:02 PM
in the late 80's I worked for a small drugstore in my hometown. One of my duties was the return unsold magazines to the magazine distributor. The store stopped carrying comics and magazines becuase the time waiting for a refund on returned mag and comics was awy too long. And this was true for all print media not just comics. This may have been becasue then the wholsaler went to the publisher for a refund I can't say. It was the entire distribution process that made it unfeasable to "tie up" shelf space when we could put out another box of candy that did sell. never mind the theft and read but not bought comics.
I think the Comics stores took over the comic market because they cut out the mag wholesaler and often kept unsold product at the end of the month for back issue stock (at an elevated price usually). I don't know if the modern comic stores return unsold issues or are stuck with them but the reality is at 2.99 an issue and with collectors wanting pristine issues how many stores would get enough walk in business sales to make it worthwhile, not many I suspect
Nov 16, '07, 10:24 AM
i think it will be pretty cool. Only because I think I could move some of the images to a jumpdrive and print them out. I would like to do some covers larger for artwork and autographing ventures.
But you know this is only the beginning of this idea. DC will be next and on and on. I'm not a fan of comics much anymore after the Sandman.hellblazer sries was copied by every publisher and over staturated the market with dark comics.
I enjoy the vintage art and I would subscribe just to re-read some of the classics.
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