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Marvel Comics Cancels Same Free Digital Issue With Physical Purchase

Posted By:Matt McGloin
Sat, 01/07/2017 - 18:39

Leave it to Marvel Comics to butcher the retail market again.

I haven't been a fan of Marvel Comics since Axel Alonso took over as EIC and destroyed Marvel COSMIC along with Jeph Loeb and Brian Bendis. They, along with Dan Buckley, Joe Quesada and Tom Brevoort, fired Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning off of Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, the two comics that inspired the James Gunn movies. Now seriously think about it, who does that? And they basically steal the titles for themselves? What sort of company rewards their employees for inspiring billion dollar ideas by firing them? I think it's an honest question to ask. It's been six or so years, and to this day it still makes me sick (and no one else but me has asked it). Honestly, I'm so glad Kevin Feige got rid of the Marvel Comics Creative Committee from being involved with the movies. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like working with people who backstab and do this sort of thing.

Okay, end rant.

Now the latest regarding Marvel Comics is that they are cancelling their free same digital issue with purchase of a physical copy.

Marvel announced the news in what sounds like a paid-for-article at Forbes, in which things are heavily spun and made to favor Marvel Comics decision to end the free digital issue that comes with each physical copy of the comics. Marvel announces that instead of getting the same digital issue, they are going to give away two or more copies of past issues digitally.

Now this kind of sounds like a good deal: "Hey, man! Marvel is giving me three issues instead of one!"

Hold on a sec, though.

While it may sound like a good deal, what it's actually doing is putting a stop to readers selling their digital codes of the current comic. As pointed out by Bleeding Cool, a lot of readers sold their codes to offset the high price of Marvel Comics. Marvel admitted a while back they raised the price of their comics, not because of increase of costs, but just because they wanted to see how much their readers would pay. In effect, Marvel Comics knows a lot of their readers are the equivalent of drug addicts (or zombies), so they know they can raise the price of their comics and still get a guaranteed return. Marvel also realizes that readers selling their codes means other readers aren't buying copies of their books, so this new policy completely ends that. However, Marvel may actually be shooting themselves in the foot because I'm betting that some of those readers who sold their codes, used the money to purchase more comics -- and now they won't be doing that.

Here's the blurb:

According to the company, beginning Feb. 1, Marvel fans who purchase Marvel Universe titles (that is, Marvel's standard pantheon of superheroes like the Avengers, Spider-Man and Black Panther, but excluding all-ages comics) at their local retail will receive with a digital code that unlocks existing moments into the Marvel Universe they may have missed in the past. The digital comics are accessible via the Marvel Comics app for iOS and selected Android devices. This replaces the company's current "free digital copy" program, where customers receive a download code for the digital version of the paper copy they buy in the stores, but not any additional issues.

Another problem with this new policy is that it may give you comics you already have and/or might not even want (and nobody else will want them, either). 

One of the free bonus digital comics offered in February will be Civil War II #0 in time to promote the CIVIL WAR II collection on sale that month.

Marvel's argument is that this new digital policy will get readers to purchase more trades at local comic shops, but that remains to be seen if it will be effective. It's sounding more likely that it will backfire as fans are already sounding off that since they can't get their digital code/copy of the current issue, they are dropping the title. Another argument against this new policy is that it's making fans read more comics digitally, which means eventually the reader might stop buying physical copies altogether (hurting their LCS).

I'm not the least bit surprised by this move by Marvel Comics, which in the last few years or so has become one hell of an unfriendly company. Marvel Comics is no longer trying to please the fans, but instead, it's basically become a dumping ground of ideas by the Marvel Comics Creative Committee for their TV and animation department. I'm also guessing it's not going to end soon, because guys like Alonso, Quesada, Loeb and Bendis, they don't seem to give a flying f---. Marvel Comics and TV is run by Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter, and if you have been following any news related to him, you know what a train wreck it is.

I think Marvel Comics fans best bet is to completely boycott the comic book and TV division in its entirety and tell Disney CEO Bob Iger your thoughts and feelings. Note: If you do decide to drop a Marvel comic book, pick up a comic from another publisher so as not to hurt your local comic shop. Also, no need to worry about boycotting the Marvel movies as Marvel Studios is a completely different division than Marvel Comics/TV. 

My wish for the New Year is that Disney completely replaces every exec at Marvel Comics/TV.

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