marvel Archive


Marvel’s Push Into Digital Comics

Rob Salkowitz for Fast Company:

Augmented reality might be the most overblown trend on the digital radar right now, and that’s saying a lot. Do we really need to wave our smartphones and tablets over every object in the physical world to find some gimmicky Easter egg or unlock some cheesy video clip? Does it add anything to the story to strip a page down to its pencils or see Iron Man come flying off the page onto the screen of your iPad? How soon till that gets old, even for a teenage male? Five times? Ten?

Bingo. I’ve been reading “Avengers vs X-Men” with the Marvel AR app and it gets old pretty fast. There’s only about 4-5 times you can use the AR functionality and even then, about 80% of the “content” is just panels stripped to pencils. Yes, it’s hard work producing a comic, but *yawn*.

It is nice that Marvel is thinking of ways to add value to their content, but AR is probably a novelty at best, especially considering that you have to hold your phone over the comic, which is kinda like attending a live concert and watching it through your phone camera. How about we work on making a Spotify equivalent for comics, first? Now, that would be something truly valuable.

Marvel Announces Big Digital Comics Push, But Will It Fly? | Fast Company.


Working At Marvel Is Apparently Shitty

From The Beat:

It gets downright messy. Marvel’s new offices have only one restroom for each gender. In a company of hundreds of people. The post-lunch hour piddle line is said to be especially long and people actually stagger their lunches so as not to wait in it. There’s a human resources staff of one for the whole company. Review copies? You’ve got to be kidding. Editors have to purchase copies of the books they worked on.

God, that’s depressing to read. It’s just sad to see a place called the “House of Ideas” to be such morale deflating misery factory. Makes one wonder how many great ideas are being stifled by penny pinching.

Warren Ellis had a great tweet about this last week given the success of “The Avengers” movie:

via Marvel layoffs: The cheapskate is coming from inside the House of Ideas!  | The Beat.


Marvel’s Free Digital Copy Bundle With Physical Comics

David Gabriel, Marvel SVP of Sales:

We’ve seen a tremendous response to the digital codes in Avenging Spider-Man, our Season One graphic novels and the Ultimate Comics line. The positive reactions from both retailers and fans make it clear that including these codes with our books drives customers into comic stores on a repeated basis.

Awesome move on Marvel’s part. With every $3.99 physical comic purchase, you get a digital version via the Marvel Comics App on Android or iOS. Leave it to a comics company to pave the way for a languishing publishing industry.

via Comic Book Resources.


The First Seven Pages Of Avengers Vs. X-Men

It sounds like something that should get comics fans wet with excitement, but Marvel’s upcoming super event, “Avengers Vs. X-men,” rubs me the wrong way from the get go. Maybe it’s because I’m not a kid anymore and not “in the demo” for superhero comics, but the thought of reading the comic book equivalent of mashing two action figures together to “fight” doesn’t sound too appealing to me.

The whole story just feels to me like a shameless pandering project set to capitalize on the upcoming release of The Avengers movie in May. Reading the first seven pages of the first issue didn’t change that viewpoint.

Read the preview of ‘Avengers Vs. X-Men on Comics Alliance


Avengers vs. X-Men Digital Strategy

Brian Truitt, USA Today:

Each of the 12 Avengers vs. X-Men issues will be available in comics shops and digitally on the same day beginning in April, with each print issue including a free copy for download on the Marvel app.

Perhaps it should be the other way around as well. Buy a digital version, get a coupon for a print one too. It’s easier to obtain a digital copy, especially for new or casual comics fans who may never have even thought about visiting a comics store. Give them a reason to go to the store and explore other books.

via Marvel event reaches ‘critical mass’ –


New Marvel vs. Capcom 3 Trailer Shows Off Super Skrull, Dormammu

God, I can’t wait for this game.

As someone who grew up on Street Fighter and Marvel Comics, Capcom’s (X-Men/Marvel) Vs. (Street Fighter/Capcom) franchise has always held a special place in my heart. It also tickles my inner nerd seeing not-so-mainstream villains such as Dormammu or Super Skrull get playable character status.

Something about the pseudo-3d graphics feels a little…sterile to me, though. I know it worked for Street Fighter 4, but my gut wishes that they would have gone with super hi-resolution 2d animation based off of a genuine comic artist’s work.

Oh well, Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 still looks like incredible fun.

While the trailer may seem like a shitshow to the uninitiated, there’s actually a methodical way to play this game. It doesn’t take too long to process what’s going on and once you do it’s immensely satisfying to pull off those 16 hit air combos and/or fantastical super moves.


Marvel Comics Inches Ever So Slowly To The Digital Age

Today, Marvel announced that the upcoming Invincible Iron Man Annual will be available on their iPad app “day and date” with the paper release of the book on June 30th.

I’d like to look at this with optimistic eyes. It’s the first step to being able to buy and read all of my comics on my wonderful iPad device the day they are released. There’s a catch though.

According to Marvel:

“Fans going to their local comic store can pick up the entire Invincible Iron Man Annual at a low price that day or all three chapters through the Marvel Comics app.”

No actual numbers are given in the press release, but we know the paper comic is going to be $4.99. A la carte digital comics are $1.99 through the Marvel app. With a little conjecture from the “three chapters” wording, one can quickly deduce that the digital version will cost $5.97.

I can’t help but think of the bullshit we’ve gone through (and are still going through) with the music industry and mp3s. Digital consumers are again being treated as second class citizens. Higher prices than the “real” product. We’re supposed to be excited about getting ONE comic “day and date” with the paper release? Is it that hard to scan in 32 pages per book each week and program in the guided view? Why isn’t everything available digitally at the same time as the paper release?

Comics are expensive nowadays. $4-$5 per issue isn’t a trivial cost anymore, especially when you follow multiple titles a month. Like in the music industry, we need a proper subscription model here. I realize there’s a fine balance with the retailers that have to be kept, but as a consumer, it’s just becoming too cost prohibitive to continue reading what I’ve been reading, much less trying out new titles. Also, trying to convert the average movie-going audience into comic buyers with a $4 monthly book may be a pipe-dream out of the RIAA playbook. Try convincing casual radio listeners to buy $14 CDs nowadays.

A monthly unlimited digital subscription fee for iPad/tablet users might be a good first step. The traditional comic buyers are still going to go to the store for the paper copies. You’d expand your readership into the mainstream with a better chance of convincing them to become lifelong comics fans.

Hell, you might even get some double-dip cash from tech savvy readers like me.


Marvel Comics Joins The Digital Age

Last week, Marvel comics unveiled its new digital comics service, “Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited“. Users who pay the $9.99 monthly fee (or $4.99 a month with a 12-month contract) will have access to full-length digital scans of over 2,700 comics from Marvel’s illustrious catalog, including such iconic titles as Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. The comics will be viewable only in your web browser via flash. So far, though, only the first 100 or so issues of those titles are available. The publisher promises to add new comics every week, albeit only older titles. It has instituted a rule that only comics older than six months will be available online, presumably to not draw the ire of every comic retailer on the planet.

I applaud Marvel for dipping their feet into the digital distribution arena. Piracy is a serious problem in the comic industry, more so than the music industry because a majority of a comic’s value comes from the first read. Digital scans of comic books proliferate p2p sites everywhere and are more likely to represent lost sales because once you have read a comic once you are a lot less likely to read it again and again, whereas a large part of a music file’s value is being able to play it whenever you want and wherever you want. This is a big reason why I am not too perturbed by currently being limited to reading the comics only through your web browser. More often than not, when you’re reading your comics you’re sitting in a home or place with a computer anyway. Reading a comic on an iPod or even an iPhone would be pretty painful given the medium’s reliance on large art panels and carefully crafted page breakdowns to tell a story.

Where it would get interesting, though, is if a portable e-book reader like Amazon’s Kindle were to get an upgrade with full color and maybe a larger screen. That would represent a full-fledged paradigm shift in the industry if you could take and buy your comics wherever you wanted. You could pay a subscription fee or even buy the comics a la cart and have them downloaded via a 3g or 4g network. This would probably result in the demise of the brick and mortar comic book store, so some compromise (such as a paper copy + digital copy bundle) would have to be worked out.

But goddamn. Just thinking about that gives me a huge geek boner.

Check out the service [Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited]