Comics Publishers Should Free Their Archives

from the monetize-those-eyeballs dept

Marvel is apparently dipping its toe into online distribution by offering some of its older comics for online viewing. Apparently, for $60 people can get a year's access to "the first 100 issues of Stan Lee's 1963 creation 'Amazing Spider-Man' at their leisure, along with more recent titles like 'House of M' and 'Young Avengers.'" It's a good idea, and I hope they'll be more aggressive about it. Putting household names like Spider-Man online is obviously the first priority, but Marvel and its competitors have enormous catalogs of less well-known comics spanning much of the 20th century. But they should also follow Time' lead and make their entire catalog of lesser-known, out-of-print comics available for free online.

The most obvious benefit to this would be to generate some advertising revenue from out-of-print content. It might slightly hurt used comic book dealers, but that's not Marvel's problem, and it could actually have the opposite effect by sparking renewed interest from collectors for hard-to-find originals. But the more subtle—and in the long run, more important—benefit is that it would get a lot more comic book nerds reading and discussing out-of-print comics, and doing it on Marvel's website. For example, Techdirt Insight Community member Julian Sanchez recently penned a great article for the American Prospect discussing the evolution of political themes in comic books over the decades. It would have been great—both for his article and for Marvel—if Julian had been able to provide his readers with links to archives of the relevant comics. Such increased traffic would provide Marvel with all sorts of indirect benefits, including opportunities to advertise new products, increase consumers' brand loyalty, and create spin-offs of old comics that enjoy renewed popularity online. Right now, those comics are just collecting dust, so it's hard to see what they have to lose.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: comics, online
Companies: marvel

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Amster, 4 Aug 2008 @ 6:52am


    The book first lady president follows the accusations, counter-accusations, and election campaign speeches of both candidates at various venues and on various issues, including the burning issues of the war on terror, a war in a middle eastern country, weapons of mass destruction, the use of military force, involvement of the UN , and domestic issues like education, social security, and health care.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.