Digital comics

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Marvel released a few titles in digital format today for the iPhone across 3 different apps. One of the apps sells them for $.99 each, the other two for $1.99 each. Some of the books include the first 30 issues of Brubaker's Captain America, X-Men Age of Apocalypse, Whedon's Astonishing X-Men, and Ellis's Iron Man.

The Comixology app has some free comics too like Invincible and a few others. They sell comics for other books like Atomic Robo and a few others.

The comics read in a unique way so it's not just like looking at a scan of the page. It flows from text point to text point. You can also zoom in and out.

I downloaded Captain America #25 to try it out...it was OK. But it was $1.99. I don't think that's a very good price point for an older book. I read comics digitally all the time but this is the first time I've paid for a book in digital format. It was OK but I wasn't super impressed. Still, I think this is the future of comics. And I bet if Marvel (or anyone else) would give free online access - that is, create applications whether for iPhone, PC, or Mac or whatever, that lets people read comics on demand (not download them to their devices) it would boost trade sales. Probably wishful thinking, but it would be a great tool to expose people to comics.
 

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Thought it would be nice to have a thread about this to discuss the medium and post news of new releases.

Marvel released an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app. The comics are ridiculously priced at 1.99 but there are a few free ones, and they aren't junk -

Amazing Spider-Man #546 (Brand New Day part 1)
Astonishing X-Men #1
Captain America #1 (Brubaker)
Invincible Iron Man #1
Runaways #1

Hopefully they offer more free ones and cut the price down or offer discounted collections. 1.99 for an old book is just too much. There is another app for the iDevices that sells issues for .99
 

Jaggyd

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*deletes rant*
 
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Gideon Stargrave

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What sort of interface/program is used to view these? I remember when Marvel first started experimenting with Digital Comics they were using really cumbersome and unintuitive software that was in and of itself a deal breaker.
 

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What sort of interface/program is used to view these? I remember when Marvel first started experimenting with Digital Comics they were using really cumbersome and unintuitive software that was in and of itself a deal breaker.

I can only speak for what I've used, which are iPhone apps. There are 3 I've tried. With each one, the same app that you purchase/download the comic in is the one you read it in. The apps work well and are pretty intuitive; pinch to zoom, tap a side of the screen to turn the page, etc. Some of them assist the reader by going panel-by-panel instead of full page, although you can also read it full page and zoom in as you want as well.

Outside of that I've only attempted to read them on Marvel's site and if that's what you're talking about, I agree - clumsy and not easy to use or stable.

As far as unauthorized comics go, there are a few good programs that display the comics. "ComicBookLover" for Mac is a pretty good one.
 

Victor Von Doom

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Thought it would be nice to have a thread about this to discuss the medium and post news of new releases.

Marvel released an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad app. The comics are ridiculously priced at 1.99 but there are a few free ones, and they aren't junk -

Amazing Spider-Man #546 (Brand New Day part 1)
Astonishing X-Men #1
Captain America #1 (Brubaker)
Invincible Iron Man #1
Runaways #1

Hopefully they offer more free ones and cut the price down or offer discounted collections. 1.99 for an old book is just too much. There is another app for the iDevices that sells issues for .99

Here's the problem I have with Marvel's "digital comic format"...the comics they present/offer are all irrelevant to actual comic fans.

Sure, its a great way to introduce new fans to the industry or certain titles, but for the avid and faithful comic fan what good is offering me Capt America #1....or even #25?!?! Last time I checked you're title is back to it's original numbering (#600+!?!?). What good does offering #1 or 25 do me?

And for an industry that gears their stories towards TPB format, it'd be better if you were able to pay $5-10 and be able to get the entire arc.
 

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And for an industry that gears their stories towards TPB format, it'd be better if you were able to pay $5-10 and be able to get the entire arc.

Totally agreed - I said that earlier. I think I mentioned in another thread that I bought the entire Hellboy volume Seeds of Destruction in digital format for iPhone for 1.99. That's how you do it.
 

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Quesada: Digital Iron Man will cost more than print

I can only hope that this business model fails terribly. Digital comics could be so huge and make Marvel a lot of money if they could look at things from a different perspective.

I understand that on some level they do not want to hurt comic retailers. I agree with that. With newsstand sales basically nil, it's really the only way people get comic issues (I don't believe subscription numbers are significant but could be wrong).

Distribution for digital comics is so cheap and easy that there's no reason to change the business model to cater to new readers with cheap comics, and to existing readers with cheap collections. I would have to think that if given the opportunity to pay $12 for all of the Iron Man Extremis issues or, say $5 that they would sell more than twice as much to make up the difference, and get more readers to boot. On top of that, there's no reason why the comics couldn't' have previews or ads for other comics.

For some reason this business model - which has been shown to work - flies in the face of Marvel's existing business model. They would rather have fewer readers and have those readers pay more money. Then they go and jack prices up without consideration for long-term reader retention and more and more readers drop more and more titles...Marvel is pricing themselves out of business.

It's bad enough they are doing this with the printed issues, but they are killing digital comics before even giving them a chance to reach new audiences.

The music industry recently strong-handed Apple (and I think a few other retailers) into pricing new songs at 1.29 instead of 99 cents. The result was a huge drop-off in paid downloads. There was an article I think I linked to in another thread about how many albums dropped off the charts completely because they were achieving sales due to inexpensive digital downloads.

And besides that, I can't for the life of me figure out why they would stick with selling individual issues, especially since they have shown in the iPhone app that they are making stories available based on story arcs. Why not collect all of the issues into a virtual graphic novel?

In other news, Marvel's iPhone app continues to release new issues on a weekly or almost-weekly basis. They just released Incredible Hulk #1 for free, which is cool. There were a bunch of Iron Man comics released recently as well as some sort-of recent X-Men and a Ghost Rider issue.
 

Captain Canuck

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maybe Joe Q doesn't want to put comic shops out of business? Maybe this is his way of trying to be responsible and look out for the retailers. I know from talking to some LCS owners that they struggle to sell tpbs anyway b/c of websites like amazon. And most people buy back issues off ebay rather than out of comic shop bins. If Marvel and DC start releasing their single issues simultaneously for less money than they charge for them in print, then i think a lot of retailers would be in trouble.
 

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maybe Joe Q doesn't want to put comic shops out of business? Maybe this is his way of trying to be responsible and look out for the retailers. I know from talking to some LCS owners that they struggle to sell tpbs anyway b/c of websites like amazon. And most people buy back issues off ebay rather than out of comic shop bins. If Marvel and DC start releasing their single issues simultaneously for less money than they charge for them in print, then i think a lot of retailers would be in trouble.

I don't think they need to keep a tight release schedule. That will help. I wouldn't suggest releasing a digital GN at the same time as the print version, and they might be wise to even keep it to books that are out of print or close to it.

Besides, I'm not even convinced that's why he's doing it. If he was worried about not screwing the comic stores he wouldn't be jacking prices up like he is. It's pure greed. And I get it on one level - his job is to make as much money as is conceivable. There's nothing wrong with that. But the way he's going about it is canabalizing future profits. He's not thinking long term.
 

Captain Canuck

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Besides, I'm not even convinced that's why he's doing it. If he was worried about not screwing the comic stores he wouldn't be jacking prices up like he is. It's pure greed.

But Joe Q clearly doesn't see the correlation between jacking prices and screwing anybody. He seems to think it's a viable business method. If Marvel can charge more and still sell comics then that's what they're going to do. It may backfire in the long run, but for now, it's working for them.

But the idea of screwing the retailers by releasing digital comics for less money is a much more directly observable form of screwing. He can justify and rationalize the price raises, because the numbers justify it. But experience shows that whenever you make something directly available online for cheaper than it is available in a store, the retailers are the ones that lose. That's a lot harder to get away with.
 

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But the idea of screwing the retailers by releasing digital comics for less money is a much more directly observable form of screwing.

It shouldn't be though. And the 90s boom/implosion bears witness to that. This has already happened and it's happening again.

I don't have the numbers to back it up, but I don't believe that old/out of print TPBs contribute significantly to any comic store's income. If it did I think we'd see a lot less of those $5 TPB booths at comic conventions.

And even if it does, there's no reason comic stores can't be part of it. Why couldn't Marvel give them the ability to sell download codes for these books? The stores would probably make more per sale than if they carried the actual book, and without having to maintain the stock/shelf space.

It just seems that not only is no one thinking this out, they aren't even trying.
 

Captain Canuck

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It shouldn't be though. And the 90s boom/implosion bears witness to that. This has already happened and it's happening again.

I don't have the numbers to back it up, but I don't believe that old/out of print TPBs contribute significantly to any comic store's income. If it did I think we'd see a lot less of those $5 TPB booths at comic conventions.

And even if it does, there's no reason comic stores can't be part of it. Why couldn't Marvel give them the ability to sell download codes for these books? The stores would probably make more per sale than if they carried the actual book, and without having to maintain the stock/shelf space.

It just seems that not only is no one thinking this out, they aren't even trying.

you're probably right, i'm just trying to get into Joe Q's head. Scary place.

and having comic book stores sell "iTunes" cards for comics is a great idea!
 

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Apparently DC just came out of nowhere and released an app on the iPad with LAST WEEK'S COMICS AVAILABLE.

GAMECHANGER.

People are going nuts about this on Twitter. Will they have tomorrow's comics available too?

EDIT: People have already found some of this week's comics on the app. Gamechanger!

I don't follow DC closely enough to know which ones are new...I just browsed a little and found they have some Planetary, Green Lantern Rebirth, etc. If they do have new comics they just leapfrogged Marvel in the digital comics race. I'm much more likely to impulse purchase comics that are brand new.

I was disappointed with the free comics selection, at least the initial offerings. Marvel does a decent job of putting up "real" complete comics, even though most of them are completely forgettable like some of the current 2-3 year old X-Men books or mid-90s Iron Man. DC just has 5 11-page Batman Black & White stories and a 2-page origin retellings for Batman and Superman that are completely underwhelming.

It seems like the DC app is just a branded version of the Comixology app and has all the books (including the same free books) that Comixology has. This is not the case with Marvel - it seems Marvel has the same comics (at least the ones I checked) but not the same free books. It would be nice to have everything synced up exactly so you don't need to keep 3 apps on the device just to get free books.
 

ProjectX2

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I like some of the Marvel editors are trying to save face on twitter and trying to short sale DC again.

It's always funny when Tom Brevoort has an opinion on everything DC does. Maybe he should focus on his own comics instead.
 
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Marvel has the entire Marvels series on their iPhone/iPad app, but have split each issue into two, each selling for $2.

That really is a major dick move, Marvel.
 

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