Rather than following DC Comics' "New 52" strategy of coupling many of its $2.99 titles with a digital download code for a dollar premium of $3.99, Marvel Comics has taken a different approach with free digital comiXology download codes automatically polybagged with the first, second and third issues of its $3.99 Avenging Spider-Man series. The new ongoing title by writer Zeb Wells and artist Joe follows Spider-Man's Avengers-centric adventures starting with issue #1 on November 9. Marvel had announced plans to include a digital code in the first issue, but has since sold enough copies to merit expanding the promotion through the first three of the series.From Marvel's official press release:

"At New York Comic Con we heard from fans and retailers that this was the most exciting digital comics move of the year because of the added value it gives every copy of Avenging Spider-Man," said David Gabriel, Marvel SVP of Sales. "Based on initial orders of over 100,000 units for the first issue-and the steady increase in orders since we've begun promotion on this plan-we knew that including a code for a free digital copy in future issues of Avenging Spider-Man not only excites our retailers, but incentivizes fans to come into stores for one of the year's hottest new releases. It's a win-win for everyone with no extra cost to readers and an increased revenue share for retailers."

Marvel's somewhat experimental foray into simultaneous print and digital sales is in some ways similar to its approach to same-day digital. Rather than making a decision across its entire line, Marvel has staggered the same-day digital availability of titles on comiXology and the comiXology powered Marvel app on iOS and Android devices.

The promotion is controversial among some traditional retailers, including Comix Experience and Bosco's, who view Marvel's promotion as a subversive means of converting readers to digital. Marvel's promotional materials, on the other hand, make a case for a kind of symbiotic relationship between the formats, listing a number of ways including a digital download code will benefit both fans and retailers.

You can check out covers from the upcoming Avenging Spider-Man issues below:

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