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Original Marvel Comics Going Online 172

Posted by Zonk
from the pay-up-true-believer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a tentative move onto the internet, Marvel is putting some of its older comics online Tuesday, hoping to reintroduce young people to the X-Men and Fantastic Four by showcasing the original issues in which such characters appeared. The publisher is hoping fans will be intrigued enough about the origins of those characters to shell out $9.99 a month, or $4.99 monthly with a year-long commitment. For that price, they'll be able to poke through, say, the first 100 issues of Stan Lee's 1963 creation "Amazing Spider-Man" at their leisure, along with more recent titles like "House of M" and "Young Avengers." Comics can only be viewed in a Web browser, not downloaded, and new issues will only go online at least six months after they first appear in print. Dark Horse Comics now puts its vibrant and large images of 'Dark Horse Presents' up for free viewing on its MySpace site. DC Comics has also put issues up on MySpace, and recently launched the competition-based Zuda Comics, which encourages users to rank each other's work, as a way to tap into the expanding Web comic scene."
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Original Marvel Comics Going Online

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  • by HalifaxRage (640242) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:43PM (#21338457) Journal
    "Comics can only be viewed in a Web browser, not downloaded" - except for the fact that they have already been downloaded. Print screen, anyone?
    • Everyone was thinking that :P I was thinking more just right click the image and save as, or even save the whole HTML page/get one of those mass downloaders
    • Re:No downloading? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheCycoONE (913189) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:54PM (#21338637)
      Or use Mozilla's media properties to find the path to the image and then paste that into IE, right click and save to get the original. (I've noticed that sometimes a page of image data isn't recognized as an image in Mozilla but it is in IE.) Or submit a request over telnet and pipe the response into an appropriately named file. There is no way to provide content using existing cross-browser compatible web technologies which cannot be saved locally by a knowledgeable individual.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by JeTmAn81 (836217)
        I wonder if these aren't going to be the same digital comics as have already been released in packages by GITCorp. They've already released full runs for X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Incredible Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man. I've bought them all. It's not been exactly cheap at $40 per package but since you get 500+ comics with each package you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

        I have often thought that I would be very interested in a subscription service for comics, but now wit
        • Re:No downloading? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Bobartig (61456) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:25PM (#21339103) Homepage
          I purchased two of these for my girlfriend, X-Men, and Fantastic Four. The only problem (which I'm sure you're aware of), is that some series like X-Men did a lot of story line branching into mini series and spin-offs, which are not contained within these anthologies.

          Plus, once you have 500 comics in PDF format, they just scream to be put onto a mobile device, or eBook reader, but I haven't figured this part out yet. Maybe I can load a few issues at a time onto a flash card and read them from my OLPC =D
          • Re:No downloading? (Score:5, Informative)

            by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:07PM (#21339791) Journal
            >Plus, once you have 500 comics in PDF format

            Ahhhhh!

            PDF is a horrible format for comics, unless you intend to print them, and you should only think about doing that if you access to a very high quality printer designed specifically for this kind of work.

            Scene rips of comics use the excellent Comic Book Archive file [wikipedia.org] format, which is an archive (usually ZIP or RAR) with an image file (usually JPEG) for each page of the comic. The archive is typically renamed with a different extension to identify that it is meant to be viewed sequentially (.cbr for RAR archives and .cbz for ZIP archives.) Suitable viewing software (e.g. CDisplay [wikipedia.org]) sequentially decompresses each page and displays it. It's a much simpler, more elegant way of viewing comics than PDFs and with much less overhead.

            Viewing comics on a laptop can be great, especially if the laptop is widescreen - you simply rotate the desktop 90 degrees and you've got the perfect aspect ratio for comic pages. I regularly read comics on my laptop fullscreen at 800 (width) x 1280 (height).

            I imagine it would be great on a machine like the XO because the screen folds right over, giving you a very convenient read.
            • by meehawl (73285)
              Scene rips of comics use the excellent Comic Book Archive file format, which is an archive (usually ZIP or RAR)

              How does DjVu [wikipedia.org] compare to CDisplay's ZIP/RAR archives?
              • by EvilIdler (21087)
                DjVu is an image format. It doesn't compare at all. It's a replacement for JPEG.
                CBR/CBZ archives are RAR/ZIP archives containing any image format you can read
                in your preferred viewer. If CDisplay/Comix/whatever supports DjVu, the CBR could
                easily contain that.
                • in your preferred viewer. If CDisplay/Comix/whatever supports DjVu, the CBR could

                  DjVu can also contain an OCR layer. I'm looking for a time past CDisplay's "dumb" mode, where we can run OCR and hand enter character tags with dialog. Make the archives searchable. It would be cool to be able to do a search for some combination of heroes and villains or specific dialog that would let me open that actual page. Kind of the way text-based subtitles were added to DIVX rips of DVDs.
              • >How does DjVu compare to CDisplay's ZIP/RAR archives?

                I've never used DjVu, nor seen archived comics using that format.

                However, based on the wiki, it does seem to be superior, if indeed it can compress a color comic page to "40-70kB". As the wiki states, around 500kB is standard for comic rips (unless you're one of the super-anal collecters that do lossless PNG rips of their stuff, as well as buying an extra copy to keep in mylar on acid-free paper), so the format looks interesting.

                However, one of the pr
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's OK. The vast majority of people are not "knowledgeable individuals", neither do they have the patience, and as such, will not bother with figuring out how to save these comics. It's the same principle that keeps movie people encrypting DVDs long after DVD Shrink became available: most people will by a new copy of a DVD rather than figure out how to make a backup before they destroy it.

        All you need is a minimum of security through obscurity on your product and most people will either pay for it o
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by rtb61 (674572)
          The catch with that logic in the case of back issue comics, is those people also only go for the latest and greatest. In this case much like the Disney or Warner's cartoon character range is they simply waited to long to digitally release their products and now there is a huge range of newly created material out there. One things computers are really good at is producing endless reams of 2d cartoons and full animation is getting cheaper by the day.

          Those old nearly dead cartoon characters have no where nea

      • Re:No downloading? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:17PM (#21339947)
        Or download the torrent (or get a copy from one of the tens of thousands who has).

        I was almost done with Judge Dredd complete run with Demonoid went down.

        Why mess with a page at a time when you can get gigabytes.

        The media companies are overpricing this service.

        They need to charge a low price for "any time, reliable" download access.

        $9.99 for that amount of content is a joke.

        It reminds me of when I used to work in long distance billing software.

        Cost of the call... $.011 cents
        Cost of billing the call $3.75

        Same thing here-- the cost of simply putting the content up on a server is probably under $1000 and any money above bandwidth costs would be pure profit. However, the effort of surrounding it with DRM probably cost $100k in analysis, salaries, extra DRM servers, licenses, etc.
    • Yes, they certainly have been downloaded. Most of them are sitting on my shelf in a DVD case.

      My favourite place for comic downloads is zcultfm.com. Get yourself a membership there and check the "newest submissions" forum every day. You'll never lack for comics again.

      Or, if you don't want to bother with that, just go to the bittorent site of your choice and type in "dcp" for "digital comics preservation". You'll see weekly packs of new releases there.

      To read the nifty .cbr and .cbz formats, get a program
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:43PM (#21338467) Homepage
    Marvel is trying to compete with the torrent community in this, since an increasing amount of older comics can now be downloaded through Bittorrent.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:46PM (#21338505)
      Yes, but what will make Marvel stand above the bittorrent traffic is that you can view comics in mint condition whereas you can only get good to fair condition comics from bittorrent.
    • by Shaman (1148)
      I don't like piracy, and I don't advocate it. That said, you can't beat the Chronological X-Men torrents. Simply incredible stuff for comic buffs.

      Hell, I was out of comics for 20 years or more (Heavy Metal excepted) and this is what got me back in.

      Thing is, I have bought over $4K worth of Ultimate collections (X-men, Spider-man, House of M, Civil War, etc.) because I want the quality books in my own hands. So if Marvel doesn't over-react, I think they have nothing to fear from those of us who want the re
      • by chthon (580889)

        Ha, I am 41. I started collecting the X-Man again after I searched in 2006 after the comic heroes that I once had 30 years ago. Once I figured out it where the X-Man, I had to look for what I could get. It took some time before I discovered Marvel Masterworks. A bit pricey, but I can afford it, and like you say, somewhat neater than buying the comics themselves.

        However, I like to scrounge around in second-hand book shops and online, and I am collecting the Dutch versions of the X-Man. It takes time and pat

  • What's to stop people from screenshotting the pages and placing them into a pdf?
  • Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

    by rde (17364) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:44PM (#21338481)
    In the long term, this is of course a good thing. However, the idea that issues 1-100 of X-Men will encourage anyone to take it up is, at best, optimistic. Let's face it; they may have been good at the time, but nowadays they're extremely dated. Of course, it does have Iceman looking like a snowman and Cyclops being called 'Slim' which might be good for a laugh, but overall I don't think they'll encourage many people.

    Oh, from the article:
    Even as their creations -- from Iron Man to Wonder Woman
    Ahem.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:49PM (#21338567) Homepage

      Of course, it does have ... Cyclops being called 'Slim' which might be good for a laugh, but overall I don't think they'll encourage many people.

      See? Cyclops was called "Slim" and he wore shades, predating that great alter-ego of your rap hero Eminem by almost four decades. </pathetic-attempt-to-make-1960s-pop-culture-relavant-to-today's-youth>

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by GammaKitsune (826576)
        As a member of today's youth, I can assure you that most of us who visit /. find 1960's pop culture far more stimulating than Eminem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MalleusEBHC (597600)
      In the long term, this is of course a good thing. However, the idea that issues 1-100 of X-Men will encourage anyone to take it up is, at best, optimistic. Let's face it; they may have been good at the time, but nowadays they're extremely dated. Of course, it does have Iceman looking like a snowman and Cyclops being called 'Slim' which might be good for a laugh, but overall I don't think they'll encourage many people.

      When I was around 10 years old, someone got me a subscription for the reprinting of the fir
      • by apt142 (574425)
        I highly doubt the original copies would be devalued by this. There is some novelty in owning those rare items. To make an analogy of it, reprints of the Mona Lisa are nearly worthless, the original is priceless. Not that I think that _Amazing Spiderman_ #1 is a Mona Lisa, but I'm sure many somebodies would disagree with me.

        As for the digital back prints, I find that a very fascinating prospect. I was always curious about how those original series kicked off but never so curious to spend the time and
      • by Babbster (107076)

        My only hope is that this doesn't lead to the death of the physical copy of a comic book. I still go back every few years and read through my old collection, and the fun of reading a physical comic book never gets old.

        There's no reason to think that comics will stop being published. They clearly sell enough of them to make money even though the number of people buying them today isn't a tenth of the numbers from 20 years ago.

        There's nothing bad about this idea (having started a subscription last night, I

        • by vidarh (309115)
          They clearly sell enough of them to make money even though the number of people buying them today isn't a tenth of the numbers from 20 years ago.

          In the US. Many other places in the world comics sell just as well. In Europe even small markets like Norway (4.5 million people) have comics that far outsell most US comics, though US style superhero comics don't appear to do that well despite much better presentation (both Marvel and DC comics get republished in Norway as magazines with anywhere from around 6

    • by Toonol (1057698)
      It'll do a better job of interesting people than current comics do, which cater solely to an small, incestuous niche audience. Ok, not all of them do, but the majority of the mags in the marvelous worlds of Marvel and DC have shriveled to small and dark figments of what they were in the 60's, 70's, and 80's.
    • by aussie_a (778472)
      I began getting into comics by illegally downloading Ultimate Fantastic Four and then moved over to House of M and its tie-ins. After a month I moved to the beginning comics of Fantastic Four, Daredevil and X-Men. While they are horribly dated, it was fun to see where these comics began. With the more modern stuff, such as Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes included (which coincidentally isn't available on torrent), including the older stuff while people are there doesn't hurt. With this launch I'm going t
    • by beanyk (230597)

      Oh, from the article: Even as their creations -- from Iron Man to Wonder Woman Ahem.
      Yeah, but by then they were back to talking about comic book companies generally, and not just Marvel.
  • yeah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:47PM (#21338533)
    Interesting concept of putting comic books online. But nothing beats having a hard copy. That just takes me back to being a kid and getting excited when a new issue came out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ansonmont (170786)
      True. I bought the X-Men Ultimate CD_ROM which has all of the issues on one disk (only about $8 or so). It displays as a PDF that is unreadable when made to fit my 15" laptop screen and way too big when put at readable resolution. Hopefully they will take care of this for the online version, but I couldn't even get through the first issue....

      -A
      • Out of curiosity, did you try rotating the PDF 90 degrees, so that the long axis of the page was along the long axis of the monitor, then rotating the laptop?

      • by Shaman (1148)
        That wasn't an official release, then. I bought something similar, cost me $30 and had dick-all on it for comics. Used DJView for the comics, though... very good quality.
    • by toleraen (831634)
      I don't doubt that having a hard copy is better, but don't some of the early editions of the comics they put up sell for hundreds or thousands of dollars?
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      With books, I whole-heartedly disagree.

      With comics, you are very much correct. I tried reading some comics (manga) on a 15" laptop... It was the most portable thing I had that was big enough. A PDA is way, way too small, and sitting at a computer to read is annoying. I came to the conclusion that a $2000 tablet PC (possibly a ModBook Pro) would be the best solution... And that it wasn't worth spending $2000+ to read a few comics.

      For comics to look right on a computer screen, they'd have to be able to a
      • I picked up a Toshiba M200 tablet for $500 refurbished. I got it mostly as a sketchpad, but I found that it works great for reading manga as well. Especially as it has a a little joystick built into the face allowing easy turning of the pages in tablet mode. This particular model is better than many of the other tablets in that it's screen resolution is 1280x1024 instead of the more common 1024x768 they put in most tablets. The only real downside is that it's a little heavy.
  • I am not a big comic gal, but I used to read Xmen. I stopped when they split it into a handful of titles. I have a buddy that got fed up with reading Spiderman, for a similar reason. He needed multiple titles to see what was going on. It was a blatantly an effort to make those of us who were into it, buy more. It didn't work for us, we stopped collecting. I started reading indi artists.

    I think the older comics, before they split up all over the place.
    • Indeed... the #1 reason why I won't buy comics:

      Crossover issues

      If they want to do a crossover issue, they should publish the story in both product lines. Then, maybe if I'm interested in the other characters / storyline, I'll start following the other series.

    • Are you kidding? That's why when I was a kid, I always read DC comics, as the Marvel ones always had the cliffhanger-- rather than lock me IN to the story as was intended, that always locked me OUT because it was an obvious ploy and I would be left hanging and I really hate that. Once in awhile the DC stories would have a 3 or 4 issue story, but they would usually tell you in advance and it wasn't hard to get the whole group-- most stories were self contained so you didn't get something incomplete and/or
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:50PM (#21338571)

    Hey, True Believers, the response to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited has been so overwhelming, we're just doing a bit of routine maintenance to make sure you have a great experience! We'll be back shortly. Thank you, Marvel.com.
    Flame on!
  • by MMC Monster (602931) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:51PM (#21338595)
    As with everything else, the older stuff looks great because we forget about all the junk that no one ever bought. That being said, there is some classic Chris Claremont stuff and John Byre stuff from the 80s that I keep on reading even now.

    The first 50 issues of New Mutants. Uncanny X-Men 100-200, Fantastic 4 140-175. Good stuff all around.

    That being said, I have all of these in print and have no moral reason against downloading them in .cbr format from a .torrent site. :-)
    • by rde (17364)
      The first 50 issues of New Mutants. Uncanny X-Men 100-200
      I'd agree with you on the New Mutants, but I still remember Uncanny 175; the last issue of the X-Men I bought. It's the one where the Jean Grey clone (Madeline Pryor?) turned out to be another bloody Phoenix. X-Men 137 (I think) was one of the finest stories ever to come out of marvel, and by resurrecting, reinventing and cloning Phoenix (initially for the poxy X-Factor, and later for other inane reasons), Marvel served only to piss off its loyal fans
      • Actually, X-Men 175 didn't show that Madelyne Pryor was another bloody pheonix. It showed that Mastermind was creating an image of the phoenix to screw with people.

        At that time, Madelyne Pryor was just a girl that looked like Jean Grey. Frankly, I thought that was pretty interesting in and of itself. :-)

        Madelyne Pryor actually being a clone was a later retcon, if I recall correctly.
  • good way to catch up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cooldrew (1184399)
    I've been out of comics since the X-Men animated series. Ever since I started playing City of Heroes, I've been wanting to get back into them, already bought a lot of Transmetropolitan. Here's hoping they'll eventually put up something like Civil War, so I can see it and hate myself for reading it.
  • $10 pm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Silver Sloth (770927) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:52PM (#21338615)
    $10 per month seems a little excessive to me. In fact this looks more like a cash in than a 'let's get a new generation interested'. The only people willing to pay that sort of cash are Baby Boomers reliving their childhoods.
    • It really depends on the titles going up. I used to collect comics and pay up to $30 a week to keep up with my favorites. I don't have that kind of money anymore, so $10 per month for unlimited reading of any available title seems like a nice deal when I really just want to catch up with the stories where I left off four years ago. That is granted they offer unlimited reading of all titles for one fee (which it sounds like they are).
    • by vimh42 (981236)
      Indeed. I got the special edition of Xmen III and it came with some old marvel stuff. I'm sorry, but the old content is good for nothing but nostalgia. The writing in excruciatingly painful to read. Now pardon me while I go watch Transformers (G1).
    • by tbuskey (135499)
      I stopped buying comics reguarly about 5-8 years ago because I was spending $50 / week and didn't have time.

      I still do get graphic novels from time to time. The bonus is that the good stuff usually gets into a GN.

      If I had time, $10/month is a deal.
  • Not gonna happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Womens Shoes (1175311) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @01:52PM (#21338617) Homepage
    Look, if they want to promote interest in their current work by getting us hooked on the classics, great. But that's marketing. And they want to charge us for their marketing?

    These things are ancient and should be in the public domain anyways.

    And guess what... if they were, they'd already be promoting more intrest in their current work!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jayp00001 (267507)
      I don't think they are trying to get folks hooked by reading the classic issues or if they are its a dumb idea. Anyone reading the classic issues and picking up a new issue of Xmen, Captain America, Spiderman (et al) will wonder if the guy writing today's issues ever read the classic issues. The only thing the new issues have in common with the old ones is the name.
    • This isn't marketing, this is trying to find a new market for old content.

      If I had the comic-book fan mentality, I'd be really excited by this. After the first Spider-Man movie came out, I was sufficiently impressed to go out and buy some reprints of the early comic books.

      Two big disappointments: the reprints are available only as line drawings, which destroys a lot of the impact of this kind of comic. And the stories were just plain dumb. (I mean jeez, they show a Mercury space capsule flying around like a
  • Comics can only be viewed in a Web browser, not downloaded,...
    I'll take that bet. If it can be viewed on a screen, it can be downloaded. In fact, in a manner of speaking, if it's being viewed on your screen it has already been downloaded.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and you will NEVER have to pay for another comic book ever again
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Is this anti-hero called StanLee Man, he gives artists a very basic idea and takes all the credit for their work. Does anyone think Marvell will be interested?
  • by arudloff (564805) * on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:10PM (#21338883) Homepage
    ComicMix.com [comicmix.com] - no drm, back issues, original issues, solid community, etc.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by skoaldipper (752281)
      Searched for x-men and xmen, yet "We cannot find what you're looking for."

      Either your jedi mind trick worked, or your database met Thor's hammer. The website only lists 6 comics (which I've never heard of) as freely available. Where's X-Men? Ala Hocus Pocus? or Subscription Locus?
  • I have stacks of old Spiderman and X-Men comix at home.
    I leave them laying out for my grandkids (10-13yrs old) to read at their leisure.

    I thought they would go "WOW! COMICS!" and then curl up in a corner to read for hours and hours....

    They browsed through them, then left them to go do something else.

    If they go on the computer, they want to play games or watch funny things on YouTube.

    "Hey Kids, look! Here are some static images on the computer! Look!"

    I don't know, maybe there is something wr
  • If they really wanted people to pay for this, they'd put up the late-70s through late-80s stuff. That was the PEAK of Marvel, as far as writing/storylines goes. Before that...eh. There was some good stuff, but not all that much. And pretty much ALL of the good stuff from the early days is widely available in "compilations" that are dirt cheap. As in, clearance-bin cheap, most of the time.

  • Missing their market (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Telvin_3d (855514) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:14PM (#21338947)
    Marvel, and comics in general, have a problem here. It is the same problem that the other entertainment industries are facing. Scanned comics are already a reality online. They are on the torrent sites right beside the music and movies.

    However, one thing that makes digital comics a little different from other media is that the community has had to create their own file formats, standards and viewing software. While the means to play movies and music files have been built in for as long as they have been technically possible, there is no long standing computer format designed to show a series of pictures. So, the community has created their own standards in using re-named zip and rar files and viewing applications created to display them.

    So, now Marvel is trying to get into the digital market. They have a problem here though. The market already has some well defined segments. The first is the people who already read comics on the computer. This is going to be a hard segment to win over. Not only do they have their own practises and conventions, but their selection is up to date and in-depth. 99.9% of the (surviving) comics ever produced by Marvel or DC are available, from WWII right up to the new releases each Wednesday. Trying to compete with this using not simply a limited, protected format but one that is incomparable will be vary hard.

    The next market segment is comic fans who do no already download. This is going to be a small market. It is limited to those who are not digitally inclined and thus poor targets for any digital service, or who have chosen not to download for various reasons.

    The final market available are people who are not currently into comics. Unfortunately for Marvel, traditionally when launching a new service the smallest returns are going to come from outside the established fanbase. And those who become interested are likely to divert to the 'pirate' comics scene if only to avoid having all the surprises spoiled six months before they can read them.

    Is this worth doing? Absolutely. I suspect that it won't take much interest for Marvel to at least break even. Costs on this have to be minimal, and much of it can be written off as basic archiving work that is necessary anyways or possibly already done for other projects in the past. It is also good to see them start to look at new distribution channels. As an industry, they have been fossilized for the past 20 years.

    Still, you would think that after a watching each other, one of the various entertainment industries would work with, or at least follow, the communities when it came to digital media.
    • by steelfood (895457)
      They should've just made a Youtube for comics. Allow people to make and publish their own comics with their custom software. And their content library would've been perfect to spark interest.

      They can make money via advertising, via "premium" accounts with value-added featuers, via merchandising (where the money goes to the author, but they get a cut), etc. That seems to be the model that a lot of web comics follow. The problem is that the barrier to entry is still particularly high. Imagine if the barriers
    • by NMerriam (15122)

      The next market segment is comic fans who do no already download. This is going to be a small market. It is limited to those who are not digitally inclined and thus poor targets for any digital service, or who have chosen not to download for various reasons.

      On the contrary, "comics fans who don't already download" is probably 98% of the comics market. These are precisely the people they're going after. Most people don't download because they don't know it exists, it is inconvenient, or they don't want to

    • While the means to play movies and music files have been built in for as long as they have been technically possible, there is no long standing computer format designed to show a series of pictures. So, the community has created their own standards in using re-named zip and rar files and viewing applications created to display them.

      A community-created standard would maybe be less technically advanced due to funding issues, but I think that in the end, they will probably more user friendly.

      I would prefer to watch movies as bundles of video, sound and a wide range of subtitles.

      Let me play a Japanese movie with Spanish dubbing and Norwegian subtitles. And no, I don't want every single language on earth encoded into a single file. Can we get some modularity, please? I want to keep some 3-5 languages to cover anything in my family, but no

  • At $4.99 they probably are selling for a higher price than they originally did (~5-10 cents each). Still not a bad deal if you are a comic book fan.
  • The alt.binaries.dcp.comics group stopped posting zero day releases a couple weeks ago on usenet, purportedly due to a DMCA takedown notice to the chief uploader of the group. SPeculation is that the notice came from Marvel. I wonder if these events are related?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @02:19PM (#21339009)
    I don't really care. But, it seems to me that the real money is in the movies.

    If they put up the old comics for free, maybe ad supported, it might generate more interest in the movies.
  • You might be interested to know that the online trading and downloading of comics is just as active as music or video trading- perhaps less popular, but still very active. A comic site I visit regularly has "Release Wednesday" download links in the forums, right on that Wednesday, and almost all of the major comics released that day. I think Marvel is doing this to combat that as well as falling sales.

    I personally think it's great, and plan to buy in. It won't put a huge dent in comic piracy, as it won't in
  • by sootman (158191) on Tuesday November 13, 2007 @03:09PM (#21339817) Homepage Journal
    Can you GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES?!?!?

    "...Marvel is putting some of its older comics online Tuesday, hoping to reintroduce young people to the X-Men and Fantastic Four by showcasing the original issues in which such characters appeared... For that price, they'll be able to poke through, say, the first 100 issues of Stan Lee's 1963 creation "Amazing Spider-Man" at their leisure... Comics can only be viewed in a Web browser, not downloaded..."

    So: the shit is forty-four years old. What's the big fucking deal if people print it? Or download them so they can read them while on a flight? You don't have to give up your copyrights. It's not like you're releasing the characters into the public domain and all of a sudden you'll see stickers on the backs of Chevy pickups depicting Spider-Man pissing on a Ford logo. (Not that copyright laws have prevented Bill Watterson's 'Calvin' from being abused as such anyway.) You're not making it available to all to print infinite copies--just your typical "personal use" type of thing. And what if people do start printing them, binding them, and selling them? Guess what: that means there's a market, shitheads! Print NICE collections at REASONABLE prices and watch them fly out the door.

    I can only assume that Stan Lee and the others learned a lot about their craft by a) reading old stories and myths and b) looking at old art. What if the complete works of van Gogh, da Vinci, Homer,* Shakespeare, and all the rest were under such draconian control? Would you even be an artist if Sonny Bono had been alive in 1000 BC? Why even charge at all, you hypocritical fucks? You've already made some money once. Releasing them for free might actually grow the comic audience. That would inspire some new fans (and probably some new artists.) Rather than always trying to get a bigger slice of the pie, why don't you try to make the whole pie bigger?

    "The publisher is hoping fans will be intrigued enough about the origins of those characters to shell out $9.99 a month, or $4.99 monthly with a year-long commitment."

    Consider the other angles. I am not a huge comic fan. But, it's a big part of our culture and yes, I would kind of like to see how Spidey, the X-Men, and all the rest came about. If I did, maybe I'd become a fan and start buying the current stuff. But I do not care enough to pay and jump through a lot of hoops. So I'll continue to be the non-comic-buyer that I am.

    It's a very simple question: do you want to a) gain new fans or b) milk your existintg fan base? I think we all know the answer. Probably because that's an easier sell to the bean-counters: rather than possibly making a huge pile of money by exponentially increasing the market, they'd rather just have a smaller but predictable amount--"Lucas has shown us the way. X% of existing comic buyers will pay $Y per month for whatever we shove down their throats. That will net us $Z in 2008."

    Also: "can only be viewed in a Web browser, not downloaded"? I guess these douchebags never heard of screenshots, either.

    * no, not Simpson, I mean the old Greek guy.

    PS: sorry for all the swearing, but this stuff really, really, really pisses me off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oncehour (744756)
      There's no need for apologies. After all, the whole point behind swearing is to indicate when something's really, really, pissed you off. On the content of your post though, I agree with you totally. Media companies are really rather conservative whores when it gets down to it. They're so worried about breaking the medium and changing things.

      Part of the problem is the bean counters. They need real data, real numbers which they can then aggregate and present to shareholders and investors and use to help s
  • These were all on CDROM recently. I know because I saw a stack of boxes at "Half Price Books" for $5 each. And you owned them for that $5, and could read them whenever you liked throughout the year, without having to pay $120.
  • DVD set (Score:2, Informative)

    by zegota (1105649)
    Marvel's already released DVD compliations of many of these comics. I bought the Amazing Spider-Man set (1962-2006) for $30 and it's excellent.

    I know they also have X-Men, Iron Man, FF, Captain America sets and probably more. Seems much more economical than renting them for a monthly fee.

  • pun intended ;)
  • and new issues will only go online at least six months after they first appear in print.

    Only six months?

    C'mon, guys, we follow a strict "OYATM" policy to let the publishers get their fair share! Let's not go undercutting...

    Oh, waitasec... Heh. Nevermind.



    More seriously, what gives with only putting "teaser" issues online? As with almost all traditional media, they just don't seem to grasp that I can already obtain their entire back-catalog in high-res (higher than the original printing, in most

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