Marvel: From Spinner Rack to Digital Archive

November 28, 2007

There is a whole multiverse of heroes, heroines, and arch-nemeses on the spinner rack in local comic and hobby stores. Marvel Comics is bringing all of their characters to the digital age by putting close to 3,000 titles online for digital viewing in Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited on their website. That includes the first 100 comic books of the Amazing Spider Man, Fantastic Four, and X-Men. Marvel plans to offer 20 more titles every week, until their entire collection of out-of-print comics are available to readers.

Marvel is only offering about 250 titles for free viewing, and only for a limited time. If readers want the full Marvel experience, readers will have to pay about 10 dollars for a month, or the annual subscription, which equates to about 5 dollars a month. For five to ten dollars a month, readers can read the past fifty years worth of back-dated comics.

For a brand that emulates strength, integrity, and wisdom, through their characters in print, this new offering is heroic indeed. Now readers will have to wait and see if competitors like DC Comics will respond in kind, or let Marvel take the lead in this digital age. DC offers the occasional sneak peek at new print issues coming up, but nothing on the scale of what Marvel has released.

Collectors are still going to search for the printed copies of hard-to-find issues, and fans are still going to buy new printed issues. This digital archive is just that, an archive of past issues. New printed issues are not archived until at least six months after initial printing. That ensures that their printed sales will not be hurt from this new digital offering.

For more information on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, please visit: http://www.marvel.com/digitalcomics/hq/

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