Newsarama posted a news item today stating that Marvel would unveil a subscription digital comics site tomorrow, then as I was writing this post, they took it all back, stating that the original story was inaccurate. According to a commenter, the news was supposed to be embargoed until midnight tonight, which may explain this anomaly. Or maybe the writer of the CBC story that was the source for the Newsarama article did indeed make some mistakes. The industrious reader can find snippets of the original story in the comments section, but as the full scoop will be up tomorrow, I’m not sure it’s worth it.
UPDATE: Here’s a story credited to the AP. Caveat lector, as this may be the same as the CBC story that Marvel called “inaccurate.”
UPDATE 2: Well, Newsarama has posted an AP story identical to the one linked above, except for this paragraph:
News of the new Marvel initiative began appearing online Monday afternoon, via an AP wire story and sources like the CBC.ca website, prompting Marvel Comics to request any version of the story citing the AP or CBC be removed from websites due to the CBC version in particular being â€œfilled with inaccuracies.â€ It is not immediately apparent what was inaccurate about the CBC version of the story.
Of course, nothing was inaccurate; Marvel was simply throwing their weight around because the story was embargoed. Classy!
Some commenters on the Newsarama forums were not impressed, because they would not be able to download the comics; as one person said, “Nifty, but I buy comics. I don’t rent them.” Presumably, if you want to keep the comic, you buy the paper copy.
But this is solid: Newsarama’s report on Dan Buckley’s comments about digital Marvel from NYCC earlier this year.
â€œ[Digital distribution] is a very real thing that weâ€™re all going to have to deal with, because whether we like it or not, our books are already on the internet,â€ Buckley said, just prior to confirming that Marvel will be directly involved in the distribution of digital versions of their comics.
And here he is, sort of, on renting vs. buying:
Buckley concluded his comments by saying that Marvel has done the research that suggests that even though the comics can be bought online, readers who find Marvel product online will convert and begin buying the monthly titles as well as trades, reflecting a theme of the entire panel that readership will grow as more people become familiar with the material.
Perhaps that “research” included looking across the internet at Netcomics, which has been doing quite nicely with a rent/buy model for almost two years now.
Google yielded Marvel’s digital comics site, which has been up for a while and allows you to read old back issues for free if you register. If you’re reading this on Monday, I’d hike over there now in case it evaporates tomorrow. I tried it, and it was relatively unobtrusive; I’ve had newspapers in distant states ask me to fork over more personal information than Marvel did. And then I got to flip through an old Spiderman comic for free! The reader is kind of strangeâ€”instead of turning a page, it looks like your comic is on a revolving cube or something. It’s easy to use, though, and the comic is big enough to be very readable.