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iComics? Marvel Announces Online Comics Service



  • VirralVirral Registered User regular
    edited November 2007
    Ok, I did some investigation into this (by grabbing a couple of screens via the image cache).

    My monitor is 15inch and using 1280x1024 resolution. This is what I learned:

    1) Grabbing the images is extremely easy once you know where to look.
    2) The images appear to be 1500x1000 pixels each, 72dpi and weigh in at around 200-300k per page.
    3) In newer comics, the text is all added in a separate layer using Flash. Presumably this flash layer is also how they control the smart panel reader.
    4) In older comics where they probably no longer have access to the un-lettered copy, they are more traditional scans with the text included.
    5) The problems with reading the text are not due to image quality, they are 100% the fault of the Reader software.

    To demonstrate I have made an example file using Uncanny X-Men #1. I zoomed in using the reader, and then zoomed in the same amount using windows picture viewer. See the difference:


    As you can see, the Viewer does some wierd pixelating thing to the images, regardless of how much you zoom in or out. When the entire page is on a screen it makes everything look kind of jaggy, and it gets worse the closer in you get.

    So it isn't image quality that is the problem, they aren't amazing by any means but they are more than serviceable. No, the problem is the wierd viewer screwing with the images (probably some poor effort to make them "sharper"). It doesn't just hurt the text, it makes the entire image seem kind of "off" and of a lower quality than it actually is.

    It is less of a problem on newer comics because the text is in a separate layer. This is something that seems to impact the image itself, so in the newer comics the text stands out as much clearer than the actual image, and no matter how much you zoom in the text of these newer pictures stays at a high resolution.

    Virral on
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Very late to the party on this one, but I am fucking giddy about this service, I just subscribed today. I've always wanted to catch up on older comics, Spider-Man, Captain America, etc. The general outlines I had before just weren't doing it for me. And this is a much more cost-effective alternative than spending large amounts of cash on those compendium books, or sacrificing color prints for the cheaper alternatives. I'm also pretty against pirating, especially in such a struggling medium anyway.

    I really, really hope DC does this.

    UnbreakableVow on
  • arcatharcath Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I just dunno.

    I subscribed to to support it, but I don't know how long I will though.

    Having to wait for issues kinda blows, they need to be quicker in coming out with back issues than what they are currently.

    Two, I am not impressed with the quality of the scans in the least bit. Although the smart panels are awesome, the scan quality could be much better. I understand some of the reasons why they are doing this, so they can save on bandwidth and all, but still.

    Three, if I am actually going to pay, I want to be able to download it and bring it with me on trips, or where ever I am. I don't have internet access everywhere I go so this would nice.

    Overall it is a good start, and if marvel actually listens to what people want, it can only get better. I wonder how long it will be before DC hops on the bandwagon and if they will provide a better service seeing how the community has responded to Marvel's service.

    arcath on
  • emutheelfemutheelf Dr. Wankenstein Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    The only two complaints I have so far are (1) the viewer and (2) the jumps in issue numbers. The 2nd complaint is pretty big considering you might get 2/5 of an arc and then you're left hanging. I think the "not hurting trade sales" reasoning is about on par with the "downloads hurt cd sales" reasoning. If anything, I'd buy more trades if I get to try out the series online first.

    emutheelf on
    Current Game Rotation: Life is Strange, Super Mario Odyssey, Spelunky
  • ShimShamShimSham Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Having just tried one of the free samples, that's awful. I don't know if I was doing it wrong or what, but the window you're forced to view the image in runs slow (for me at least) there's a lot of zooming backing up. Unnecessary page flip animations. It's just choppy and bad.

    CDisplay is a million times better in my experience. I've never had to zoom to read anything, I can scroll down a page with the wheel, and click page down for the next page. All without slowing things down, zooming in and out, having to be online, and page animations.

    I'm sure most of you knew that already but I just started typing and didn't stop.

    ShimSham on
  • UnbreakableVowUnbreakableVow Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    To those hating the browser, are you using the smart panel option? I pretty much hated the browser while using the sample comics until I found that. Read Amazing Fantasy #15 using it and was sold.

    UnbreakableVow on
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