Feeds

Marvel: 'Come and get 'em! 700 first-issue comics! FREE!'

But hurry: Downloads for the low, low price of zero end on Tuesday

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

SXSW Comics-juggernaut Marvel's servers may be overheating at this very moment: it's currently giving away over 700 first issues of some of its most famous comics to anyone with an internet connection.

The company announced the deal at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday and downloaders have until Tuesday 11pm ET (Wednesday 3am UTC) to conclude their data slurp. First issues of Spider Man, The Fantastic Four, Captain America, and many more are up for grabs via Marvel's iOS and Android apps.

"Do we expect folks to try and download [every first issue]? We encourage it!" said David Gabriel, Marvel's VP of sales, digital & print in a statement

So what's the reason for this outpouring of largess from Marvel? Could it be the company is embarrassed at this week's deposition of a 90 year-old Stan Lee in the ongoing court case over the rights to the popular characters he created? Sadly for the tin-foil hat brigade, the truth is far more prosaic.

"This is the perfect way to show everyone how much we believe in our material by letting them try the first issues for free, because we're sure once they start, they won't stop," Gabriel said.

An addiction to comics – for a time at least – is something many of us go through, and comic book stores are increasingly full of more well-heeled adult consumers as well. With Marvel's digital promotion, there's the opportunity to hook lots of new fish and reawaken some long-buried appetites.

Marvel is no stranger to the digital comics market, first dipping its toes in the water in 2007. But the move helped the company rise from near-bankruptcy in 1996 to being bought out by Disney for $4bn three years ago – although the success of film franchise such as The X-Men, Spider Man, and The Avengers have helped a lot, too.

Sadly, those whose first exposure to the Marvel Universe is via film may find the experience of the first issues somewhat more low tech than what they are used to. Things have changed a lot over the years.

X-Men, then and now

From low-rez to high-tech

While Gabriel said he hoped this promotion would encourage both digital and print customers, it's clear that the enlarging of Marvel's digital empire is more bad news for the struggling comic store industry. There will always be a few collectors that prefer the paper versions, but based on current trends the struggling stores haven't yet bottomed out. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.