Digital comic books? Whats the deal

Illegal scans aside, are any of the major comic book publishers making their books available as digital downloads, or trying to go down that route?

I realise that comic book stores as they exist in the US serve as giant promotional venues for their products that the publishers are reluctant to undercut and that without them the market might shrink, but is that really all there is to it?

Marvel has a digital comics subscription service. It’s not up to date but it’s pretty cheap.
DC is pretty much print only. They’ll have the first issue of a series for free sometimes (usually Vertigo books). They have a separate imprint for web stuff (Zuda).
Image usually has the first issue of a series for free and sometimes they’ll just give certain websites a bunch of issues to put up for free.
But other than DC and Marvel, most comic publishers are now emphasizing creator ownership. So it’s all up to the creator.
Oh I forgot Marvel likes to release CDs with like hundreds of issues for pretty cheap prices (like over 500 issues of Amazing Spiderman for $40 MSRP). But for me it’s not really worth it, because reading off the screen is not really enjoyable for more than 20 or 30 pages at most. When these e-ink devices do color and have good lighting, then I may be interested.

Some of the smaller press are experimenting lately. IDW, Antarctica and a bunch of really small companies sell digital comics here.

If we could get a Kindle-style reader and if Image and DC did it, I’d be right on board.

Actually, Marvel doesn’t like it, and I believe they cancelled their contract with the company that was making those and a bunch of announced products were never released. As for reading off a screen, my ThinkPad tablet (12.1" 1440x1050 IPS) was practically made for those things, and is the perfect digital comic book device.

I’ve read up through 1970 in Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Avengers, and X-Men, and '68 in Hulk and Iron-Man (which were released later). A screaming bargain, and highly awesome to read the ads and letter pages along with the original comics.

Isn’t Marvel supposed to be doing something new with it involving Bendis’s upcoming Spider-Woman title?

Marvel’s doing some “web exclusives” but they aren’t really getting into true digital distribution yet. The print comics industry seems kind of afraid of it, to be honest.

Yeah. They’re doing an enhanced animated version with a full dramatic reading.

Well, it’s not the publishers I’m guessing. There’s only a single distributor, and floppies are pretty much exclusively sold by a relatively small network of specialty retailers who have a lot to lose when the books go digital.

It’s going to be a rough next few years I think.

Also a lot of the comic readership now is older folks who may not understand how to download the product, but are otherwise used to go to their shop every week. I think the move to digital would basically force a lot of publishers to be savvier businessmen than they’ve been for years.

It’s going to be a rough next few years I think.

It will be if you’re in print. Webcomics of all types are getting into a very cool groove… so cool I’m not sure the print publishers will really have anything to offer in a digital era given the bigger creator profits the web model is already proven to deliver.

I bought the Star Trek Countdown mini series from IDW as 4 individual Apps for my Iphone. 99 cents each.

CrossGen Entertainment’s Comics on the Web was great right up until they went bankrupt. I would love to find another company which provides all their comics online for a monthly fee.

What sucks is I just know people are blaming CrossGen’s bankruptcy on that, when frankly the monthly digital comics sub was one of the few smart things they did.

Interesting. Is it even readable on an iPhone? I don’t have one, but I’ve played with em and that screen seems a bit small.

I’m going to guess it’s made for panel to panel instead of page to page.

Maybe the networks could run a plot review as scrolling text underneath the episode while it’s running…


Yes, it was pretty much this; individual panels that you slide through. Sometimes a large panel was split in half but it was very readable and the art came across better than I expected.

If there was an itunes for comics I’d probably divert a large portion of the money I spend on tv, music and movies to buying comics.

And reading comics on the iPhone isn’t bad at all. You pinch and zoom into the panels that are smaller, everything else is pretty easy to read.

Limited selection but good news is same account as the excellent RPG section :)