Marvel has been inching closer and closer to the Digital Distribution pool, and it looks like it’s finally decided to go in past the point of no return.
The point of no return being when you get just deep enough for the bottom of your bathing suit to get wet and capillary action is starting to draw the water up anyway so you may as well go in up to your shoulders because now it’s just a question of whether you want to get your hair wet.
Marvel has announced that it’s planning to go day-and-date digital across all of its major titles by March of next year. At that point, the books of the three largest comic publishers in the American market, DC, Marvel, and Image, will be available online the same day they are in stores. Marvel will be gradually rolling out day-and-date for different titles as their story arcs end and new ones begin, presumably so that they can interest new digital customers in starting a story afresh instead of hopping on in the middle.
Of course, interesting new customers requires another thing: advertising, and I wonder how much of that sort of thing is actually going to go on for a slower piecemeal unveiling day-and-date across all titles simultaenously. Yes, it is inevitable (and imperative, I think) that this be compared to DC. A Gizmodo notes, Marvel may technically have gone day-and-date first with the Ultimate universe, but they were considerably upstaged by the New 52.
The most original element of Marvel’s distribution method is that they will be including a code in every physical comic that allows you to gain access to a digital copy of it, an offer that DC is still asking people to pay a dollar extra over the price of the physical comic for. As a primary DC reader, I’d love for DC to adopt this policy.
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