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iComics? Marvel Announces Online Comics Service

KVWKVW Registered User regular
edited December 2007 in Graphic Violence
Newsarama just posted that Marvel is planning to launch an online comics service later this week that would feature over 2500 comics, new and old with Young Avengers, House of M and early era Amazing Spider-Man listed as some examples.

The catch? $9.99 per MONTH. $4.99 per month if you buy an annual subscription. Also, you don't own the digital copy. It's like Napster where you can read them online only as long as you have a subscription.

I wrote my thoughts on my blog already, but to reiterate, I think its a stupid move on Marvels part and could end online comics before they start. I cant think of anyone that would want to be forced to read comics online, most likely using a proprietary browser, and not be given a digital copy for themselves. I expetected 99 cents per issue, $4.99 per trade or 6 pack of comics that would be viewable with any image viewing software, like CDisplay or even the Windows Image Viewer.

I would be willing to shell out money for hard to get or expensive comics in a digital format to hold me over until a trade is ever released or even to give random series that I wouldnt typically consider a try, but to pay that much money for literally nothing is sickening.

KVW on
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    Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited November 2007
    $10 a month wouldn't be bad if it gave you all the current books

    but for archives, no thanks

    Garlic Bread on
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    SalmonOfDoubtSalmonOfDoubt Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    This really does seem like they put a lot of thought and research into what would be the worst possible way to implement it.

    SalmonOfDoubt on
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    PiptheFair wrote: »
    killing children would be hilarious
    Olivaw wrote: »
    HELLO AND WELCOME TO THE PENNY ARCADE FORUMS

    PLEASE ENJOY YOUR STAY

    AND THIS PENIS
    Man, I don't want to read about this lady's broken vagina.
    NotACrook wrote: »
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    AlgertmanAlgertman Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    no
    /Tomko

    Algertman on
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    deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'd get an annual subscription if they offered new comics but like this no.

    edit:
    According to a representative of Marvel, the story published Monday afternoon at the CBC website about the publisher launching an online comics initiative (hinted at by Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley at the New York Comic-Con last February), "was filled with wild inaccuracies" in its details. As such, Newsarama has removed the story.

    Reportedly, the official, more accurate story will be released late tonight/early tomorrow. Check back for the corrected story sometime overnight.

    Hm.

    deadonthestreet on
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    Caveman PawsCaveman Paws Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    The tree hugging hippy side of me wouldn't mind seeing a paperless option to reading comics, and this sounds like a cool idea.

    But not in the format so far discussed. Hopefully the "true" story that comes out will be better. But I think it's safe to assume that won't be the case.

    Caveman Paws on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I think a proprietary browser is inevitable to combat piracy, if you just sell images that any reader can access they might aswell release them for free for all the instant piracy that would occur. It won't stop it of course, but at least they make you work a bit for it.

    That said, I would also be far more interested in this as a per-issue purchase like iTunes rather than a subscription model. I hate subscribing to things, and I hate paying for digital content that I only get to use for a limited amount of time.

    Ultimately though, I've never found reading digital comics to be anything but extremely painful, I don't know how people put up with constant zooming and dragging etc to actually read them, and I can't picture myself doing so in any kind of volume.

    Virral on
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    wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'd do the subscription thing if it were only a month behind releases, had the entire Marvel archives, and was an all you can read deal. Throw in a discount on the trades and I'd be sold. To be honest, I do Netflix now already, and this more or less would be a Netflix type of deal for me. I'd pay $10 a month to access any Marvel comic that's been in print, even if I didn't own it.

    wwtMask on
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    MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Rochester, MNRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I don't know if I can speak for the "I Want To Get Into Comics But They're Very Confusing and Complicated" crowd, but if Marvel offered an archive service and current books so I could get my feet wet and figure out what the fuck is going on then I'd be all over this for months.

    I mean, how many threads do you guys see on "Where do I start reading?" This could be a great measure for Marvel to grab those who want to read, but don't have the energy / money / time to track down all the issues to figure out what the hell is going on and who these heroes are.

    MegaMan001 on
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    deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Ok they have the details.


    New issues don't hit for six months.

    deadonthestreet on
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    Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited November 2007
    Ok they have the details.


    New issues don't hit for six months.

    that's terrible

    Garlic Bread on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Thats not great, but understandable considering they don't want to cannibalise their main source of income.

    I'd be much more interested in seeing a comprehensive archive than new issues to be honest, I love the idea of the Essential Volumes but it's tragic they aren't in colour. If I could get access to all the backissues of the main series that I love reading, right up to 6 months behind current issues, I could definitely get behind that.

    I'd still prefer a per-issue cost with discounts for buying them in 6month or yearly packs rather than a subscription service though. I would rather pay the same amount to access less... but not have to read them under a deadline.

    Virral on
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    DrIanMalcolmDrIanMalcolm Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    "We did not want to get caught flat-footed with kids these days who have the tech that allows them to read comics in a digital format," Marvel President Dan Buckley, told the publication. "Our fan base is already on the Internet. It seemed like a natural way to go."

    To help market the initiative, To Marvel will reportedly offer a free sampler of 250 titles, and to protect current sales of comic books, new issues won't be on the Marvel site until six months after they are published.

    "Our quality is much higher; the library is huge and will never go out of style," concluded Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. "This is the legal way to do things."

    Hurm

    DrIanMalcolm on
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    Scooter on
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    Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    They just need to hire the main pirate organization to do this shit for them. Just email up whoever leads it nowadays and be like "Give us your scans to sell on our website in your format, and we will give you the comics early so you can get them up on Wednesday at midnight." and then let people download them from high speed servers. That's the biggest thing that they could do to make a profit on this. No matter how great the quality is on pirate scans, there isn't some bigass, well-organized website with huge servers that people download comics from. Marvel/DC could provide that, and they'd have a service people would be willing to pay for.

    And there's no way DC could provide anything higher-quality than pirate comics, considering all you need is a scanner and photoshop and you can probably replicate the images as they were when they were sent to the printer at Diamond or whoever actually prints the comics. They need to give up on having a higher-tech format, because they can't provide that. Again, what they can provide is the pathway to the digital comic. Bandwidth and ease of use.

    Mai-Kero on
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    wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    This is pretty much for me, I guess. I can sacrifice $5 a month from my budget in order to subscribe to this thing. I'm also heavily invested in Marvel, so I can go back and read the books I couldn't afford to buy. I think i can live with the six month time difference, but I seriously wish they'd have all of the archives instead of just the recent stuff.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Mai-Kero wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    They just need to hire the main pirate organization to do this shit for them. Just email up whoever leads it nowadays and be like "Give us your scans to sell on our website in your format, and we will give you the comics early so you can get them up on Wednesday at midnight." and then let people download them from high speed servers. That's the biggest thing that they could do to make a profit on this. No matter how great the quality is on pirate scans, there isn't some bigass, well-organized website with huge servers that people download comics from. Marvel/DC could provide that, and they'd have a service people would be willing to pay for.

    And there's no way DC could provide anything higher-quality than pirate comics, considering all you need is a scanner and photoshop and you can probably replicate the images as they were when they were sent to the printer at Diamond or whoever actually prints the comics. They need to give up on having a higher-tech format, because they can't provide that. Again, what they can provide is the pathway to the digital comic. Bandwidth and ease of use.


    Yea, comics aren't as big in the pirate world as movies, music, and TV shows, so they're not that hard to get but it is a bit harder to find where you get them from. Delivery service is the only advantage the companies have, since they can just post them up on a webpage without worrying about it getting sued and shut down.


    It's sort of funny...they want to protect sales of paper copies, and they've certainly succeeded at that.

    Scooter on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    That's like saying Apple shouldn't have bothered with the iTunes store, because people could already pirate music for free... and yet that and other music download services don't exactly seem to be going down the toilet...

    I care about the industry but I buy things in trades, not single issues. If there was a way for me to support the industry and read single issues sooner online, followed by buying the trades later, I would be all over that shit. Especially considering I like to wait for the big marvel hardcovers, I can be waiting a year plus for new content!

    Don't just write this off because you personally don't see the point in paying for something if you can pirate it for free. Believe it or not there are a lot of people out there who actually prefer to pay for something rather than pirate it assuming the company gives them the choice.

    Virral on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Also, this is something that the pirates can't give you, and assuming it works I am really interested in this bit:
    or navigate a battle against Dr. Doom frame-by-frame with a ‘Smart Panel’ viewing feature

    That sounds like it could actually make reading comics digitally a tolerable process, rather than an eye-destroying exercise in zooming, scrolling and dragging pictures files around a screen.

    Virral on
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Virral wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    That's like saying Apple shouldn't have bothered with the iTunes store, because people could already pirate music for free... and yet that and other music download services don't exactly seem to be going down the toilet...

    I care about the industry but I buy things in trades, not single issues. If there was a way for me to support the industry and read single issues sooner online, followed by buying the trades later, I would be all over that shit. Especially considering I like to wait for the big marvel hardcovers, I can be waiting a year plus for new content!

    Don't just write this off because you personally don't see the point in paying for something if you can pirate it for free. Believe it or not there are a lot of people out there who actually prefer to pay for something rather than pirate it assuming the company gives them the choice.

    The thing is, with this system you don't even get the comics. This is like if iTunes let you listen to a streaming song online, but didn't let you put it on your iPod or anything. And official music releases are usually of a higher quality than pirate versions, while the online comics I've seen on Marvel's website in the past are just a huge pain to read.

    They can't compete with free product when their offering is a pile of dogshit that you have to pay for.

    Scooter on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Scooter wrote: »
    Virral wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    That's like saying Apple shouldn't have bothered with the iTunes store, because people could already pirate music for free... and yet that and other music download services don't exactly seem to be going down the toilet...

    I care about the industry but I buy things in trades, not single issues. If there was a way for me to support the industry and read single issues sooner online, followed by buying the trades later, I would be all over that shit. Especially considering I like to wait for the big marvel hardcovers, I can be waiting a year plus for new content!

    Don't just write this off because you personally don't see the point in paying for something if you can pirate it for free. Believe it or not there are a lot of people out there who actually prefer to pay for something rather than pirate it assuming the company gives them the choice.

    The thing is, with this system you don't even get the comics. This is like if iTunes let you listen to a streaming song online, but didn't let you put it on your iPod or anything. And official music releases are usually of a higher quality than pirate versions, while the online comics I've seen on Marvel's website in the past are just a huge pain to read.

    They can't compete with free product when their offering is a pile of dogshit that you have to pay for.

    Wow, thanks for that totally unbiased description, it really supports yours argument! Come on, it might not be the ideal proposal but you can hardly call it a "pile of dogshit" if you claim that the product pirates will give you for "free" (read: illegally) are of a quality that match anything that the publisher can hope to provide :roll:

    So, if you want to be pedantic, iTunes isn't the perfect analogy (although my point was you're claiming that noone will want this because they can already obtain pirated copies for free, which is total bullshit). Instead, why not visit a website called Gametap. Gee... a monthly $10 fee to play whatever games they offer as much as you like as long as you are subscribed Sound familiar? There are plenty of subscription music services too, I'm just too lazy to look them up.

    This is not a new concept, and it's hardly the first industry who wants to put the brakes on piracy while attracting new customers via online channels. It's been managed quite successfully with music and games, so I can totally understand why Marvel want in.

    Virral on
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    WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Virral wrote: »
    Also, this is something that the pirates can't give you, and assuming it works I am really interested in this bit:
    or navigate a battle against Dr. Doom frame-by-frame with a ‘Smart Panel’ viewing feature
    That sounds like it could actually make reading comics digitally a tolerable process, rather than an eye-destroying exercise in zooming, scrolling and dragging pictures files around a screen.
    I've used that smart panel on the small number of digital comics they had on Marvel's site, and to be honest it needs some work.

    Wildcat on
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    Magus DarkstarMagus Darkstar Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    All I want to know is if I can read the entire run of Generation X and Spider-Man 2099

    If so, it's on

    [edit]
    welp, here's the list. I didn't realize the service was already up. Two issues of Spider-Man 2099. Jeeze. I really wish they had full runs from the get-go. Now it just makes me want to wait until more is out before I subscribe.

    Magus Darkstar on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    It's interesting, but needs some serious work on the catalog. What's the point of adding like one or two issues of a miniseries? Or having Exiles 1-4, 6, 9, 12, 14-20, 21 etc etc? Kind of random...

    If it was me I would either not release a series until the entire thing was ready, or I would make sure the first issues of each series were there and then steadily release them in chronological order. It doesn't make sense to release random issues scattered through a books life.

    Still... very interesting if they can work out the kinks. There are a hell of a lot of new and old books I can think of that I wouldn't mind reading, but that either aren't out in trades or I wouldn't go so far as to buy in trades when there is so much other stuff I want.

    Virral on
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    DeicistDeicist Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'd be interested to know how much of Marvel's revenue actually comes from the comics and how much is from licensing their intellectual property.

    Also, strangely, I was developing a piece of software called iComic until I realised how stupid it sounded and changed the name of it. I thought this thread was about me for a second there.

    Deicist on
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    Mr PinkMr Pink I got cats for youRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I got really excited when I first saw this. I'd love to be able to take a crapload of comics on a plane with my laptop so that I didn't look like a bored eight year old. But only being able to read them online shot that down pretty fast.

    Mr Pink on
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    ScooterScooter Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Virral wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    Virral wrote: »
    Scooter wrote: »
    Given that their main competition in the online world is pirates, and pirates are (a) free, (b) have new comics the day of release, or within 1-2 after, and (c) usually do comics as simple jpgs and without any pain-in-the-ass viewers or browers, and (d) you can keep them and copy them forever...well, this isn't going to get them any business from the people who already download their comics online. And people who care about the industry getting money would just keep buying paper copies.


    Why bother with this? Even if they have higher-quality scans than pirates, the browser and online-only parts of it kill the advantage.

    That's like saying Apple shouldn't have bothered with the iTunes store, because people could already pirate music for free... and yet that and other music download services don't exactly seem to be going down the toilet...

    I care about the industry but I buy things in trades, not single issues. If there was a way for me to support the industry and read single issues sooner online, followed by buying the trades later, I would be all over that shit. Especially considering I like to wait for the big marvel hardcovers, I can be waiting a year plus for new content!

    Don't just write this off because you personally don't see the point in paying for something if you can pirate it for free. Believe it or not there are a lot of people out there who actually prefer to pay for something rather than pirate it assuming the company gives them the choice.

    The thing is, with this system you don't even get the comics. This is like if iTunes let you listen to a streaming song online, but didn't let you put it on your iPod or anything. And official music releases are usually of a higher quality than pirate versions, while the online comics I've seen on Marvel's website in the past are just a huge pain to read.

    They can't compete with free product when their offering is a pile of dogshit that you have to pay for.

    Wow, thanks for that totally unbiased description, it really supports yours argument!

    Have you tried using Marvel's online comics viewer? I mean, I haven't in maybe a couple years so maybe it's all awesome now, but the last time I did it sucked some serious ass.

    Scooter on
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    MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I just tried the comic viewer. Still sucks. Ugh, what a waste. Hopefully DC, or one of the small indie companies, will pull it off better.

    Munch on
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    wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Hmmm...I'm really, really tempted to sign up. I need to know more about how often they're adding to the archive, though.

    EDIT: Looks like it'll be 20 comics a week. So now I'm pretty sure I'll be getting a year's subscription, probably next month.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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    DouglasDangerDouglasDanger PennsylvaniaRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Something is terrible, or deeply flawed, and Mask likes it. The surprises never cease.

    DouglasDanger on
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    Mai-KeroMai-Kero Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Munch wrote: »
    I just tried the comic viewer. Still sucks. Ugh, what a waste. Hopefully DC, or one of the small indie companies, will pull it off better.

    The thing is, someone already pulled it off perfect, and it's a free, open-source program at that. All they have to do is incorporate it into a web browser so you don't have to install it, and bam, awesome.

    Mai-Kero on
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    SlagmireSlagmire Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I'm actually a little surprised I'm in the minority when I say that I actually am looking forward to this, but then again, I figured Graphic Violence would be full of hard-core, fully-fledged comic book collectors anyway. I haven't gotten any comic books in a long time, and don't really want to go back into spending so much money a month - so I had stuck with picking up a trade here, trade there on titles I knew I would like. If they archive the books fully, it means I can spend time reading from the beginning on titles that I was curious about, but didn't think to get (definitely thought about Young Avengers and Runaways a couple times before).

    Slagmire on
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    wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Something is terrible, or deeply flawed, and Mask likes it. The surprises never cease.

    The preview comics don't seem so terrible to me, the general idea is one that I've long since decided I'd go for, and the price is right. I'm not really seeing the tragic flaw here. Even the six month turnaround thing doesn't bother me too much.

    Yeah, it'd be awesome if they used CDisplay, but I can understand why they won't. This seems more or less to be a Netflix/Napster for comics. $5 a month is really a very, very small dent in my monthly comics budget, and I'd definitely get more utility out of this service than I currently do out of my Netflix account.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
    Twitter - @liberaltruths | Google+ - http://gplus.to/wwtMask | Occupy Tallahassee
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    AccualtAccualt Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    That smart makes reading comics on the PC not so bad, I like.

    I think I'll subscribe to this next week or so. I'm not sure why you guys are pissing all over the service but, hey, whatever. I'll still want to buy the TPBs of a lot of stuff (probably not as much, though) but this will help me weed out the utter crap before hand. I'm all about this service but only because the smart panel works so well when zoomed in.

    oh snap, this could be amazing on my 40" TV. Now I just need a bigger monitor at work.

    Accualt on
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    SentrySentry Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I do love how piracy is so common place now that the ability to get something you want legitimately can no longer be the sole reason for its existance.

    Sentry on
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    HayasaHayasa Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    I dunno what I think about it. On the upside, it would be a pretty cost effective way to get a handle on world-wide events like Civil War, even if its on delay. And as I'm not in the US, its a lot cheaper than getting actual comics mailed out. But, when I'm reading comics its usually because I don't feel like being on the computer.

    Can you print out the digital comics yourself?

    Hayasa on
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    deadonthestreetdeadonthestreet Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Enough people want to try it that the site is broken.

    deadonthestreet on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Hayasa wrote: »
    Can you print out the digital comics yourself?

    Doubtful, although it's probably a matter of time before someone works out how to grab the comics off the website and view them offline.

    Virral on
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    silkypeasilkypea Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    This idea really isn't a terrible one. Really five bucks a month isn't shit. If you read even 3 comics online a month and enjoy it than it's worth it. Even stuff you thought looked good but didn't want to purchase a year or two ago. Now you can go back and read it. I won't be doing it because I can't stand reading comics on my desktop but if I traveled more or had a notebook I would probably do it.

    silkypea on
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    VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    They need to offer a way for people to read them offline, even within the subscription model that should be possible.

    Virral on
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    Mr PinkMr Pink I got cats for youRegistered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Virral wrote: »
    They need to offer a way for people to read them offline, even within the subscription model that should be possible.

    Thats what I'm saying. Or on an iPod or something.

    Mr Pink on
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