Despite the tag line, we're not chatting about temporal anomalies this week. Nope. This week I'm thinking of digital distribution models and how this effect comic books.
Recently I had a free trial month for Marvel Comic's digital comics site. Originally, I had a really hard time figuring out what I wanted to look at, because, I'll admit, a lot of modern Marvel titles leave me cold. However, after settling into how the site works, I actually have to admit being really tempted to get a monthly subscription to this site.
Marvel Digital Comics Subscription Page
You can purchase digital comics, or you can read them online, and Marvel is starting to build up their back catalog in digital format. For $60.00 a year, you can read all of the offerings that Marvel manages to put up on the site, including the whole backlog.
Now, they don't have everything up in their old catalog, and they don't hit every new comic when it comes out, but honestly, for five bucks a month, you can check out anything you might be iffy about. That's a pretty good deal. You can't do it when you aren't online, and you don't get your own copies on your own computer, but hey, you get to read the story and look at the art for five bucks a month.
Now, anyone that knows me knows that my heart really lies with DC characters. So let's look at what DC has going one on their digital side of things.
Well, first off, DC comics, in digital form, are available on ComiXology. Why, no, they don't have their own proprietary site. Why do you ask?
DC Comics Store at ComiXology
On that site, you have a hit or miss collection of modern era books and a few really old Golden Age books, lots of gaps in between, and you have to purchase them all separately. All of the "old" comics, i.e. the one's not released on sale date for the same price as the cover price of the physical books, are released at $1.99.
If DC seemed more committed to their back catalog, I might be happier with this approach. For example, today I saw someone reference Mongul, and I wondered if DC had Superman Annual #11 on the site. I probably would have picked that one up for the sake of warm fuzzy childhood memories. Nope. What about the pre-Crisis Doug Moench Batman stories that I loved? Nope.
I point out Batman and Superman because, well, let's face it, whose catalog do you really want to get fleshed out. And I don't know how important other people consider Moench's pre-Crisis Batman run (its one of my favorite runs of Batman/Detective from my point of view), but Superman Annual #11? It's one of the best Superman stories ever, written by none other than Alan Moore! With Dave Gibbons art no less!
I will say, without reservation, I might go as high as $15.00 bucks a month if I could do the same thing with a site filled with DC comics that I can with Marvel. If they showed a commitment to putting up the rest of their catalog, at least.
Divorcing the discussion from characters, stories, or reboots, I think that at this point in time Marvel is just a better run company. They may do stupid things (really stupid things), but they somehow gloss over those stupid things with the next shinny thing, and move on. DC seems to make a mistake, trip over it, apologize for it, make the mistake again, remind everyone that they made the mistake just about the time everyone forgets about it, etc.
I'm hoping that someone at DC is, for once, really looking to copy Marvel, but not for storylines or crossovers, but just basic business model.
Hell, DC would still get some of my money after their "not a reboot" with this model, and if I was paying a flat rate, I might even take a look at some of the "not a reboot" titles.
Perchance, to dream.
Because I've heard a lot of good things about the title, and because it was on sale on Thwipster, I picked up the hardcover collection of Invincible, so I'll be looking forward to checking out this title.