Spidey Spins A Worldwide Web

Dennis Faas's picture

Marvel Publishing unveiled Digital Comics Unlimited on Tuesday, a subscriber-based program intended to put its vast collection of superhero stories online. The company dipped its toe into the digital waters by releasing 2,500 past issues featuring some of its most famous characters, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Captain America, and the Hulk. As an incentive, Marvel is currently offering 250 free samples on its website, with subscriptions to the entire catalog available for $9.99 a month, or $59.88 a year. (Source: nytimes.com)

The digitization is meant to attract a target audience of primarily young boys, in a manner more appealing to the modern, techie kid. Dan Buckley, President of Marvel Publishing, stated, "You don't have that spinner rack of comic books sitting in the local five-and-dime any more. We don't have our product intersecting kids in their lifestyle space as much as we used to." (Source: ap.org)

Comics Unlimited requires a web browser for viewing and there are currently no plans to allow downloading. The move seems somewhat hesitant, however it is the first major online migration by either of the two big comics publishers, the other being DC, or their alternative rival Dark Horse Comics.

DC has offered limited previews in the past, and Dark Horse has some titles available on its MySpace page. However, these releases are primarily about marketing and less about building a digital library.

Marvel's new service promises to make 20 new books available per week, including newer issues. There will be a delay between book and online publication of new stories in an attempt to preserve what is left of the comic book market in the physical world.

While the adventures of my childhood's most beloved characters swing, fly and smash their way online in an attempt to woo the younger fan base, I suspect that some of us who remember the days of the spinner rack may also be tempted to revisit the heroes of our adolescence.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet