Can I Have a Digital Spidey Comic With My Latte?
At this writing, more than 400 Web sites -- many of the business-related -- have polluted the Internet with stories about Marvel.com's latest venture into the digital world. It started with USA Today's page one piece in Tuesday's Life section, then creeped into the pages of the Washington Post (my boss told me to mention this one), Motley Fool and the Associated Press, not to mention the arbiters of funnybook opinions, meaning The Beat and the fine folks at Blog@Newsarama.
If you're a comics fan, you're probably living in one of two camps:
1. The kind of folks who hit downloading sites to read their comics, and, perhaps, buy a trade paperback or two at their local comic book store if the reading is worth it. To them, the content is what matters to them the most.
2. Folks who spend too much time on the computer -- more than a couple of hours a day at work (and on an ol' Windoze box if you've been very bad in a previous life at that) -- and still relish the idea of picking up old fashioned books made (until the coming of Soylent Green in 20 years or so) of paper and actually talking to people who make decent livings making, distributing and selling them. To them, it's the total experience.
However, what if a smart comics company -- like DC or Marvel -- wanted to get their comics in front as many eyeballs as they could? Not the already converted, like the many of you who read this space, or, gulp, the people who sell them but the folks out there whose lone experiences with comics are the movies, the DVDs and the games they watch and play?
That's the audience Marvel is courting. That's the audience they should be courting...
What about everybody else who has yet to appreciate the smell of newsprint? Will they pay to read digital comics they don't own, like renting music a la Rhapsody? Don't know about that one.
But here's the thing... News Corp. has said it wants to unlock the doors to its next media possession, the Wall Street Journal, betting that selling ads will make up the difference in revenues generated by here-to-fore paying online subscribers (like me) in short order.
Now, that model sounds interesting... In the meantime, check out all the free stuff, for now...