Tag Archives: digital comics

The Comics Are All Right: Digital Codes Aren’t the Answer. Digital Comics Are.

bonusdigitalcontent_0201The narrative for the last few months is that local comic shops are falling apart facing mass closures in 2017 in a sky is falling narrative that hasn’t been backed up much with hard numbers. 2016 looks to be a growth year (though final estimates are waiting to be released) for Diamond Comics Distributor, the primary comic distribution company, so someone is buying comics. That’s not to say a bubble didn’t pop, or stores didn’t extend themselves, but right now, the numbers haven’t really backed up the narrative that’s being pushed. I have my own theories, but that’s an article for another time.

But, publishers have taken notice and a spirited discussion happened.

BOOM! Studios’ Ross Richie pled with individuals to help #boostyourlcs by going out and buying a trade paperback to help their sales. Marvel took another route, one that left quite a few folks scratching their heads including myself.

In 2011-2012 Marvel launched a digital code program in a way to justify the increase of comic prices from $2.99 to $3.99. Along with the print copy of the comic a digital redemption code would be offered as well and the code could be redeemed through Marvel’s digital comic app as well as comiXology.

Last week, Marvel announced they would be changing up the program, in part to help boost physical retailers:

Marvel is proud to announce that, beginning February 2017, all Marvel digital redeem codes found within the pages of Marvel Universe titles will unlock two or more BONUS DIGITAL COMICS on the Marvel Comics app for iPhone®, iPad®, iPhone® and select Android devices* at no additional cost!

Starting this year with Marvel Universe titles (excluding all-ages comics), only available within your local comic shop, the Marvel digital code will be upgraded to unlock two or more additional digital Marvel comics – stretching your dollars’ worth!

“Marvel is continuing our commitment by offering our fans the best value in comics along with honoring our cornerstone of the comic book industry – the retailers,” said David Gabriel, SVP of Sales, Marvel Publishing. “Our intent in evolving our digital code program is to offer our fans more value per dollar spent.  Replacing the free digital copy, our BONUS DIGITAL COMICS will offer fans free entry points for current on sale collected editions and, in turn, invite additional and repeat traffic into our trusted retailers.”

Beginning February 1st, Marvel fans that enter the doors of their local comic retailer will now be rewarded when they purchase Marvel titles with a digital code that unlocks existing moments into the Marvel Universe they may have missed in the past.

To get people to buy physical product at their local comic shop, the publisher is doubling down on their “bonus” digital offerings. What’s the logic behind that?

The idea is that Marvel will offer a relevant comic in hopes it’ll get individuals interested in a series or wanting to go buy a trade and that individuals will do that at local comic shops.

“Marvel will always be a brand that looks to excite our fans as well as drive traffic to our tried-and-true retailers,” said Jim Nausedas, Sales Director, Marvel Publishing. “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. Then, each week, new BONUS DIGITAL COMICS codes, available only in your local comic shop, will offer fans additional pathways into the Marvel Universe, promote Marvel’s monthly trades, and create repeat retailer customers and Marvel readers for life.”

I underlined the relevant parts in the quote above.

I have my doubts that anyone will benefit other than Marvel. I’m not going to just criticize, my plan is to offer a better idea that WILL likely benefit local comic book shops.

Here’s the flow and steps that Marvel envisions:

  1. Person purchases physical comic with a code from local comic shop,
  2. Person redeems code,
  3. Person reads the digital comic,
  4. Person is interesting and returns to the local comic shop,
  5. Local comic shop has items that are being searched for in stock,
  6. Person then purchases item.

bonusdigitalcontent_stickerWith that “workflow” I see points of failure over and over the biggest of which is that local comic shops would need to be psychic to know what Marvel plans on giving away. So, unless they’re being told ahead of time as to what to expect, the time for them to stock up and make sure they have the right items to sale is limited, and that’s even if the correct items are in stock.

But, I actually think Marvel’s change has more to do with the current use/popularity of their digital app. Here’s the data I could turn up.

Marvel Comics App


Download Ranks


Grossing Ranks



Download Ranks


Grossing Ranks


Google Play

Download Ranks


Grossing Ranks


We don’t know the redemption percent of those that had been purchased, but it’s clear something isn’t going right lately. The ranks (which are relative, so others could just be doing that much better) for Marvel’s comics app has been dropping for some time. From these reported stats, they need to do something to change direction. When they initial launched this program it seemed to help some after all.

ipad_initial iphone_initial

So we can see how this benefits Marvel and why they need it. They need more users and interest in redeeming these codes after what looks to be declining interest. But, I have doubts this will actually help local stores.

Instead here’s some ways for Marvel to actually help local stores.

Use Their Email List to Drive Individuals to Stores – Each Monday Marvel sends an email for their Marvel Unlimited releases each week, how about an email on Wednesdays announcing their new releases? But, better than that, using zip codes/IP tracking to include addresses for local shops for people to go to?

I estimated that Marvel’s email list is about 2.5 to 3 million individuals. If just a small fraction of new individuals went to their shop that’s a massive impact. If just 1% converts, that’s 30 new customers a week, $100+ if each purchases 1 comic.

The ability to provide specific data based on an individual’s location is easy with numerous services providing the tools for what would amount to pocket change for Marvel. The returns in purchases would pay for itself eventually.

Follow Up on those Redemptions – Because these are digital accounts, Marvel should have the location of their users based off of their zip codes and/or IP address. It’d be easy enough to create a robust email program that leverages this data to provide a kicker and get individuals to go to their local shop. Again, just 1% of 3 million individuals would make a hell of an impact.

Add the Comic Shop Locator to Digital Comics – Reading digital comics is an advertisement to really read more digital comics. The ease of “now” would make me expect the real behavior of these digital codes would be to see the digital reader redeem the code, then buy more digital comics while they’re there. Why wait for the shop? And if they’re online, wouldn’t a cheaper online store such as Amazon be more convenient and immediate?

How about using the digital comic itself as an advertising platform for local stores? At the end of the reading experience a page can be delivered so that a zip code can be typed in and shops looked up, or better yet the data can be auto-populated. They’re reading the digital comic, use that to give them the information needed. Better yet, do this for ALL Marvel digital comics sold and really get people out to their local shops.


We’ve seen that physical sales and digital sales can live side by side and as one increases the other does too. One doesn’t necessarily cannibalize the other. What’s unspoken is the vast amounts of data that’s been collected. How about to save comic shops we leverage that?

comiXology Unlimited’s Comings and Goings in January

comixology unlimitedComiXology has announced the latest addition and subtractions from their comiXology Unlimited platform. The service allows unlimited reading from a curated set of titles for just $5.99 a month. The service also provides a 30 day free trial for individuals.

Check below for the full list of what’s coming and going in January 2017.


Alphagirl #1-2 by Jean-Paul Bonjour, Jeff Roenning and Robert Love (Image Comics)

Armor Hunters Vol. 1 and #1-4 by Robert Venditti, Cafu and Doug Braithwaite (Valiant Entertainment)

Complete Battlefields Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, Russ Braun, Carlos Ezquerra, Hector Ezquerra and Peter Snejbjerg (Dynamite)

The Complete Elfquest Vol. 1: The Original Quest Vol. 1 by Richard Pini and Wendy Pini (Dark Horse Comics)

Copperhead #1-3 by Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski (Image Comics)

Courtney Crumrin and the Coven of Mystics Vol. 2 and #1-4 by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press)

Damsels #1-6 by Leah Moore, John Reppion and Aneke (Dynamite)

Evil Ernie Vol. 1 and #1-6 by Jesse Blaze Snider and Jason Craig, Kyle Hotz and Stephen Segovia (Dynamite)

Fairy Quest collection & #1-2 by Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos (BOOM! Studios)

G-Man: Learning to Fly by Chris Giarrusso (Image Comics)

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Down Town collection and #1-5 by Jim Butcher, Mark Powers and Carlos Gomez (Dynamite)

Kaijumax Vol.1 and #1-6 by Zander Cannon (Oni Press)

King: Price Valiant #1-4 by Nate Cosby and Ron Salas (Dynamite)

Kiss #1 by Amy Chu and Kewber Baal (Dynamite)

Megahex by Simon Hanselmann (Fantagraphics)

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2 by Kyle Higgins and Hendry Prasetya (BOOM! Studios)

Nancy in Hell #1-4 by El Torres and Juan Jose Ryp (Image Comics)

Pantha Vol. 1 and #1-6 by Brandon Jerwa and Pow Podrix (Dynamite)

Quantum and Woody Vol. 1-2 and #5-8 by James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Ming Doyle (Valiant Entertainment)

Red Sonja Vol. 2: The Art of Blood and Fire by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani and Ivan Rodriguez (Dynamite)

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time: Eye of the World #1-6 by Chuck Dixon, Robert Jordan and Chase Conley (Dynamite)

Shadowman (1997-1998) #1-8 by Garth Ennis, Ashley Wood and Charlie Allard (Valiant Entertainment)

The Beauty #1-3 by Jeremy Haun and Jason Hurley (Image Comics)

The Boys Vol. 3: Good for the Soul by Garth Ennis, Tony Avina and Darick Robertson (Dynamite)

Vampirella Vol. 2: A Murder of Crows by Brandon Jerwa, Eric Trautmann, Johnny Desjardins, Heubert Khan Michael and Fabiano Neves (Dynamite)


Abe Sapien: Dark and Terrible #1-3 by Scott Allie, Mike Mignola and Max Fiumara (Dark Horse Comics)

Aliens: More than Human collection and #1-4 by John Arcudi, Gabriel Andrade and Zach Howard (Dark Horse Comics)

Amanda Hocking’s The Hollows: A Hollowland Graphic Novel collection and #1-10 by Amanda Hocking, Tony Lee and Steve Uy (Dynamite)

Ares & Aphrodite #1-3 by Jamie S. Rich and Megan Levens (Oni Press)

Bad Medicine #1-3 by Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir and Christopher Mitten (Oni Press)

Charismagic Vol. 1 and #1-6 by Vince Hernandez and Khary Randolph (Aspen Comics)

Dark Corridor #1-3 by Rich Tommaso (Image Comics)

Dark Engine Vol. 1 and #1-5 by Ryan Burton and John Bivens (Image Comics)

Mass Effect: Redemption #1-4 by John Jackson Miller, Mac Walters and Omar Francia (Dark Horse Comics)

Wasteland #7-14 by Antony Johnston, Carla Speed McNeil and Christopher Mitten (Oni Press)

Preview: Life With Kevin #3


Script: Dan Parent
Art: Dan Parent, J. Bone, Jack Morelli
Cover: Dan Parent
On Sale: 12/28
24-page, digital comic
$3.99 U.S.

Kevin’s keeping himself busy in the big city–so busy he almost doesn’t have enough time to socialize! To succeed in New York, he’s going to have to learn how to make time for dating while juggling a high-pressure journalism gig. Plus, will he keep his promise to a very special fan? Find out in Life with Kevin #3!


Celebrate the Holidays with NorthStars!

The hit of the holiday season, NorthStars Vol. 1: Welcome to Snowville, is available on comiXology.

Join Holly, the daughter of Santa Claus, and Frostina, a Yeti Princess, as they explore the magical wonders of the land of Polaris.  Holly and Frostina journey to the subterranean city of Undertown to investigate trouble in Troggie Town, and stumble upon an evil creature scheming right below Snowville… a being that threatens Christmas itself!

Written by Jim & Haigen Shelley with art by Anna Liisa Jones you can buy the comic or read it for free on comiXology Unlimited.


Marvel’s Holiday Digital Comic Sale


Get in the holiday spirit and kick off 2017 with some of the best digital collection and trades from the House of Ideas, Marvel Comics! Through January 2nd, Marvel Digital Comics Shop is holding a mega-sized sale offering up to 75% OFF top-selling Marvel Comics collections!

With incredible discounts on over 350 TITLES, you’ll be blown away by the possibilities! Want to read an entire event like 2015’s Secret Wars? Or take part in the cosmic collisions of Infinity? How about a crucially-acclaimed Marvel title like Frank Miller’s Daredevil? Or maybe you need to catch up on some of 2016’s most buzzed about series —Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther or Jason Aaron’s Thor!

All purchases in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop are added to your personal digital library in the Marvel Comics app on compatible mobile devices and make great companions for your holiday travel.

Gift yourself or that comics fan brand new collections for a brand new year! Take part in the Marvel Collections Sale, running today through January 2nd, 11 PM ET!

ComicBlitz’s Android Public Beta Kicks Off

As announced last week, ComicBlitz, often called the “Netflix of digital comic books,” opens up an exclusive testing opportunity of their long awaited Android beta test to comics fans beginning today.

ComicBlitz sprung from it’s founder’s lifelong love of comics, and seeks to provide an alternative to existing platforms, putting the end user ahead of all other interests to provide the premier digital comics reading experience.

ComicBlitz’s new Android beta app gives users unlimited access to over 4,000 digital comics and graphic novels from top tier publishers like IDW, Top Cow, Dynamite, Valiant Entertainment, and more!

Comic fans can visit comicblitz.com today to sign up for this exclusive opportunity to beta test the upcoming ComicBlitz Android app!


True Patriot Presents is Now Digital First

Chapterhouse Comics has announced that True Patriot Presents is now a Digital First series!

True Patriot Presents, the anthology of Canadian superheroes, was spearheaded by comic book writer J. Torres and features some of Canada’s biggest and brightest comic book creators.

Chapterhouse has promised more Digital First comics coming soon.

True Patriot Presents #2 releases January 11, 2017! You can subscribe to it today.


Funcom’s Exclusive Conan Exiles Digital Comic and Live Gameplay Stream this Friday

Funcom and Dark Horse Comics are thrilled to announce that creative teams in both companies are now working on a new Conan Exiles digital comic book that will be made available in January. Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game set in the brutal lands of Conan the Barbarian. By reading the comic, fans will get a unique glimpse into the events that take place in the savage exiled lands. The creative team includes Michael Moreci, José Luis, and Andy Owens, as well as Gavin Whelan, and Anders Finér on the Funcom team.

Funcom and Dark Horse previously worked together on the exclusive digital comic book for Funcom’s 2008 massive multiplayer game, Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures. The comic book was distributed to gamers and Conan fans worldwide and was a key piece in the company’s marketing campaign for the 2008 best-selling game.

Funcom is also excited to announce that the studio will do a live gameplay stream on Twitch.tv/Funcom this Friday, December 16. Creative director Joel Bylos and community manager Jens Erik Vaaler will show the unique thrall gameplay live for the first time. Players will be able to capture enemy bandits, drag them back to their camp, and crush their will in the Wheel of Pain. Players can then place the thralls as guards, archers, and even special blacksmiths, tanners, and other craftsmen to unlock unique new recipes.

Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game set in the brutal lands of Conan the Barbarian, the world’s greatest fantasy hero. The game can be played on private and public servers, in either multiplayer or local single player. In the world of Conan Exiles, survival is more than tracking down food and water. Journey through a vast, seamless world filled with the ruins of ancient civilizations, uncovering its dark history and buried secrets as you seek to conquer and dominate the exiled lands. Start with nothing but your bare hands and forge the legacy of your clan, from simple tools and weapons to gigantic fortresses and entire cities. Enslave the bandits of the exiled lands to do your bidding by breaking them on the grueling Wheel of Pain. Sacrifice the beating hearts of your enemies on the blood-soiled altars of your deity to seize true power and glory. Summon the colossal avatar of your god and see it lay waste to your enemies and their homes. Conan Exiles will be released into Early Access on the PC on January 31, 2017, and will hit the Xbox One Game Preview Program in spring 2017.


Attack on Titan Manga App Launches from Kodansha and Madefire

aot_appiconKodansha Comics has released a manga and newsfeed app on the iTunes store dedicated to its monster-hit property, Attack on Titan. The app comes with a number of unique features:

  • full catalog of all chapters and volumes of the manga, including every spinoff series
  • latest manga chapters available as they come out from Japan
  • free Motion Books viewable only on the app
  • news feeds, including exclusive interviews and video about the Attack on Titan property, with breaking announcements leading up to the Season 2 of the anime
  • bundle packs for new fans to get caught up quick

Until December 20 users who download the app and sign up for a free app account will receive 3 complimentary full-length graphic novels:

  • Attack on Titan volume 1
  • Attack on Titan: Before the Fall volume 1
  • Attack on Titan: Junior High Volume 1

Here is the link to download the app.

The Attack on Titan Manga app, produced by Kodansha Comics’s digital-content arm Kodansha Advanced Media, in partnership with the innovative mobile-comics platform Madefire, using their Motion Book Publisher service, presents a new way to read the biggest manga hit of the decade.

The dark, apocalyptic story of Attack on Titan unexpectedly became the best-selling new manga to come out of Japan in a decade. Published by Kodansha in Japan beginning in 2009, the manga series has since grown into a global phenomenon, inspiring a wildly popular anime series, notorious live-action film, videogames, and other pop-culture forces.

The ongoing manga series currently runs over 85 chapters, collected in 20 volumes to date in English and authoritatively published by Kodansha Comics. The heavily anticipated Season 2 of the anime debuts in April 2017.


ComicBlitz Opens Up Its Android App Beta. App Launching in January.

comicblitzComicBlitz announced today that it would launch an Android version of its App in early 2017. A beta test of that app was announced to begin December 19. ComicBlitz is a “Netflix like” service for digital comics and recently added IDW Publishing to its offerings.

Comic Blitz’s new Android beta app gives users unlimited access to over 4,000 digital comics and graphic novels from top tier publishers like IDW, Top Cow, Dynamite, Valiant Entertainment, and more!

ComicBlitz is an “all you can read” digital comics service that currently has a tiered service from a basic free platform limited to a few dozen comics, 10 comics a month for $3.99, or unlimited reading for $7.99.

Digital comic fans can visit comicblitz.com today to sign up for the opportunity to beta test the upcoming ComicBlitz Android app.

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