Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Marvel Digital Comics - Please Stop

Listen digital comics are coming and they will reduce the print version, but I’ll be there Marvel when I’m ready and trying to force me to be there will just make me go away from your product.

See I’m getting real tired of Marvel trying to shove digital comics down my throat. I’m all for digital comics and everything, but this crap is getting ridiculous. The War of Kings has exclusive digital content; Captain America Reborn has some exclusive crap on Marvel’s site (a prequel http://www.marvel.com/reborn/ ) which at least was free and well done. The problem is until I have a digital comic reader that I can hold in my hand that is close to comic book size, I do not want to read my comics on my computer.

Marvel is pushing so hard to get people signed up on their digital comics that I would not be surprised to see them raise prices higher and higher to try and get people to move to digital. (Memo to retailers: Marvel comics is not your friend, they want to be your competitor.) Until I have a tablet size comic reader that does color well, I will stick with the printed page version. I review PDF file comics and have read some stuff online, but it is not a comfortable read for me. I still prefer to sit in a nice chair and read a comic. When that experience can be replicated with something akin to the larger kindle reader out there for comics, then I will switch.

I know at my age I’m not their target audience anyway, but I’m more on the internet and up to date then at least half of their crowd, so maybe I should be part of that target audience.

With the exclusive digital stuff and prequels Marvel is not making the statement that unless you go online with them you are missing out on parts of the story. Hey if you want to add stuff online, add scripts, add pages showing the artist process from pencils to inks to colors. Have interviews with the creators talking about what went into this book and how many iterations it took to get it right. Background type of material is fine to add as exclusive content, but a policy of exclusion or making the print reader into a second class citizen I think is the wrong way to go. If the only way I can get the whole story is to go online, then I will walk away from Marvel and all of their products no matter how much I enjoy many of their books. The reason is that if I have to do something besides be a loyal fan and buy their books to be taken into consideration, then I say farewell.

In some ways it reminds me of why JMS is leaving Thor. He has no problem with Marvel doing a major event with Thor; it is just something he does not need to be part of at this point in his career. I sensed no hard feelings, just JMS doing what was right for him.

So if I leave Marvel, no real hard feelings, I just don’t want to feel like a second class citizen and unworthy of getting the whole story because I’m not a digital subscriber. Reading comics on a computer (after I spend my working day staring at one) is not how I wish to enjoy my hobby. Right now what Marvel is doing now is borderline pissing me off, but if they push it too far I will save some bucks in the future.

Now when a tablet size comic reader is the norm, I may well be back and will sign up for digital books or maybe by then my interest for Marvel will have waned to a point I no longer care.

So Marvel please let the print readers be included and let your digital subscribers get exclusive behind the scenes contents. Just because we remain loyal print people should not make us second class citizens.


  1. I am in your shoes, Jim. The push they're making is off-putting at times.

    I do wonder though, is that Kindle reader I am hearing about what they could be ultimately shooting for? It is a handheld device that allows you to read books I thought. Maybe that is what Marvel's endgame could be. Team up with Amazon to work something out.

    Of course, I could be wrong. No surprize there.

  2. I got the last issue of Amazing Spider-man Family yesterday. I shell out $5 for a 16 page story of Spider-Girl. Actually, I shell out $10 because I get one copy for my daughter. I hadn't seen any solicitations in the previews for this book recently, so I was afraid it was going away and sure enough, it is. There was a note that said Spider-Girl will continue on-line.

    Great, so now I've got to shell out the $5 or $6 to read the digital version, that I won't even own, can't print or even save!!! I looked on-line and someone said that Spider-Girl will be back in print with a new Spidey Anthology (Web of Spider-man). I hope so, I want a printed comic (with covers too!) Hopefully, they'll at least release the on-line stuff in a trade. I'm tempted to sign up just to support Spider-Girl.

    I've got my PS3 hooked up to the internet, so I'm going to see if I can view the digital comics on my 37" HDTV. I'll let you know if it works or not.

    Still, I'm with you too, if I can buy it and own it that would be better than just renting my books.

    I was kinda disappointed in Cap Reborn #1. I'm considering dropping the book and waiting for the eventual Omnibus or something, then without Spider-Girl, I'm out of Marvel completely already (I think).

    Ironic, that DC is doing the Wednesday Comics, which HAS to be read in physical form. I can't wait!

  3. Matt - I'm very jazzed about Wednesday comics as I'm getting one for myself, my daughters and my father - so from 23 to 89 years old I think it will entertain.

  4. I'm not a Marvel reader, but wish DC would offer a digital subscription service like Marvel does. I'm not a big fan of digital magazines, but I would love to stop buying physical comic books and just subscribe so I can read them online. I'm interested in the stories, not so interested in owning and keeping the physical product anymore.

  5. Scott - I agree, they should. If I was a publisher I would offer all my products digitally and via print.