General Marvel

DC and Digital Comics

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It was a question “if” DC was ever going to go digital but when.  Yesterday the bombshell came out of nowhere that you will now be able to catch some of your favorite comic book characters on your iPad and iPods as well as the PlayStation Network and PSP.  A wide selection of books ranging from free to $2.99 now available, including a special free 10-page preview of Superman #700 by J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows.

Jim Lee had this to say:

At DC Comics, it has been a top priority that DC forges a meaningful, forward-looking digital strategy.  As both a comic book creator and Co-Publisher, it was incredibly important that our plan includes not only creator incentive payments, but also an innovative component that supports comic shop owners. We see digital as an opportunity to grow our entire business.

The impressive emphasis is “creator incentive payments” and “innovative component that supports comic shop owners” in this launch.

Payments to creators has been a point of contention with some other publishers as digital distribution usually wasn’t a part of original contracts (most of which existed before this was even an idea).  Bleeding Cool has this angle covered with a copy of the email that DC sent out from Jim Lee and Dan DiDio.

As we make this announcement it’s worth noting that, although DC is not the first major publisher to enter the digital comics arena, we are the first to announce a participation plan for talent, thereby setting the industry standard in that regard. Details of our initial compensation plan will be mailed to you in hard copy for your records and should be arriving next week. In broad strokes, the compensation is calculated on a net receipts basis in order to accommodate the various reporting structures of our digital publishing partners. Most importantly, we assure you that your participation in these digital works will be equal to or exceed the participation levels that you currently receive under our additional compensation plan for print.

When it comes to retail stores, DC’s press included this nugget:

Staying true to comiXology’s support of comic retailers, DC’s partnership with comiXology also includes a first-of-its-kind Retailer Affiliate Program, which will collect a portion of digital revenues to be invested back to and on behalf of comic book retailers in a variety of initiatives.

“The ComicsPRO Board of Directors is looking forward to continuing our dialog with DC Comics to figure out how their digital strategy can lead to new customers for storefront retailers,” said Joe Field, owner/operator of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff, an Eisner-Award winning comic book shop in Concord, California. “We’re pleased to be part of this important conversation about the future of the comics business.”

Bleeding Cool is also reporting that DC will be making Justice League Generation Lost #4 and #5 will be returnable.  It was announced the series would debut online the same day of release and in fact debuted hours before most stores were open yesterday and a day before it’s release in the UK.

Newsarma has reactions from others in the industry.