‘The Walking Dead’ Marches on With Simultaneous Digital and Print Releases
Despite the continued strides made by digital comics, I admit that I’ve trained myself not to count on — much less seek out — day and date releases of higher profile comics. That’s why when iFanboy‘s Josh Flanagan pointed out the quiet day and date ascension of Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn’s “The Walking Dead” #77 on comiXology, it came as a welcome change of pace. Are we finally getting past the point where a simultaneous print/digital release requires a press release? Maybe. But the fact that TWD’s TV adaptation premieres on AMC on October 31 certainly didn’t hurt the relatively swift digital conversion of its full 77 and counting issues.The day and date release isn’t without its drawbacks, however, as TWD now carries a $2.99 digital cover price, which is equal to its print counterpart, but a dollar higher than the series’ previously released digital single issues.
When asked if Image planned to continue its new simultaneous release schedule in print and on comiXology at the $2.99 price point, publisher Eric Stephenson explained the new strategy’s practical applications.
“In terms of scheduling, the digital version of the series has caught up to print version, so it makes sense to release both simultaneously. With the debut of the AMC television series only weeks away at this point, our aim is to make ‘The Walking Dead’ as widely available as possible, in all formats, and I believe everyone involved will ultimately find this beneficial.”
We asked Stephenson if and when other Image titles might follow suit and he replied that while TWD is currently Image’s focus, other simultaneous schedules are possible.
At 77 issues, it’s interesting to consider that books with much longer ongoing runs than TWD will eventually catch up with their print schedules. Publishers are inching closer to a world where even a nearly 900 issue series like “Action Comics” could conceivably be picked up on an IPad or PC in a few simple clicks. Provided fans respond to pricing and availability accordingly, TWD’s chill day and date publishing shift could potentially chase other major titles in a similar digital direction.