Excelsior! Marvel Launches Digital Comic Archive
The comics industry has suffered through years of flagging readership and lower demand for titles, but Marvel may have powered up a way to a resurgence for their work.
An online subscription model that permits the reading of thousands of long out of print comics could be the key to a cash infusion at Marvel. Anyone with nostalgia for the early days of Spider-Man, or a desire to catch up on some more recent titles, will be the target audience.
With customary superheroic drama, the publisher has dubbed the program Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. They offer monthly and annual subscription options, the annual option priced under $60.
The new program seems to have found plenty of interest on the Internet, as accessing Marvel’s website at times proved impossible. Marvel did make some 250 comics available for free reading online, as an enticement to pony up for a subscription.
New and very recent titles won’t be part of the program, as Marvel sensibly does not want to undercut the comic stores, on and offline, that sell them. However, making older titles available for an inexpensive subscription could hamper demand for the printed version of now-rare issues.
Such relatively inexpensive and broad availability of titles that made their marks on a younger audience may find favor with those now-grownup and working people. On a personal note, I’m looking forward to re-reading the first 24 issues of Excalibur, from the time when Alan Davis and Chris Claremont worked on the title, as well as Warren Ellis’ two-year run.