IDW Trying Out Day-and-Date Digital Releases?

If you're a user of Playstation Digital Comics, you may have noticed something fairly revolutionary quietly snuck onto the menu the other day. A quick but diligent scouring of the web didn’t turn up any announcements, press releases, or even tweets about it (UPDATE: oops) but an eagle-eyed member of the iFanboy Nation pointed out to us that G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds from IDW appears to have been released digitally within 24 hours of being sold in comics shops.

I’m not mistaken about this, am I? That came out this Wednesday, didn’t it? And there it is, selling for two bucks online this afternoon?

That’s kind of a big deal, isn’t it? This is something the “big” companies just don’t do.

Thanks to the Bendis Tapes and Augie de Blieck, there has been renewed talk lately about comic book publishers’ digital strategies. No matter how many people vocally clamor for day-and-date digital releases—my favorite method is screaming, “I would give you all my money. Why do you not want my money?” at my monitor a couple of times a month with handfuls of hair from my temples—publishers are still fussily tending the bonsai garden that is the “Direct Market.” They are terrified of losing the world’s eleven remaining comic book shops, so they fail to offer their products to 298 million other potential customers in any meaningful way. Marvel has done some encouraging but half-assed dabbling, offering a smattering of six-month-old comics digitally with some significant gaps. DC has no digital initiative whatsoever, but they did recently print a series as a newspaper. (No, seriously. That’s what they did.)

IDW, on the other hand, has really thrown down the gauntlet. They have their own app; they’re in other people’s apps; and they have been committed to making their comics available digitally within a month or less from their publication date. But… there’s “a month or less,” and then there’s “just stay home on Wednesday.”

If you want to see this initiative pick up steam, I strongly encourage you to keep an eye on IDW and maybe reward them with a couple of dollars next time you have a light week. It’s really the only vote you have under the circumstances, and IDW is one of the few publishers actually listening to you.

Oh, and their comics are almost uniformly great. That doesn’t hurt.
 

Comments

  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Major props to IDW.

    I keep hearing about their PSP creator commentaries for books like Locke & Key too, which I think is a fascinating idea. 

  2. this sounds awesome. It just takes one to make real change. Look at how Apple changed the music business…I’ve never even heard of Playstation Digital Comics. Is it good? I might have to look into it. 

  3. That is extremely cool news. Anyone know if IDW is doing this on any other platforms? IPad or Phone apps, etc.?

  4. I ask the above question because I would purchase this digitally right now, if its on a platform I can use, like my phone or my desktop…

  5. Awesome! (I don’t know what Playstation Digital Comics is. Is that only available on a PS3?)

  6. Yes! Looking to see if it made it to the iphone app. I don’t really like reading on the iPhone, but if it’s there I’ll buy it just so they know I want more.

  7. it’s not on the iPhone app yet; hopefully this means it’ll be there soon.

  8. I’m glad someone has taken the first step towards day-and-date releases. I wouldn’t mind if I never had to go to the shop again. Now if only Marvel and DC would get their heads out their asses we’d be all set.

  9. Well, I can’t find hearts and minds on the iPhone app. Makes me wonder if they have a special deal with Sony or if someone messed up.

  10. This is cool! But I still prefer printed comics… 

  11. " DC has no digital initiative whatsoever, but they did recently print a series as a newspaper. (No, seriously. That’s what they did"

    LOL. That was hilarious. Thanks for that

    I don;t blame BMB for toeing the company line. It would be inappropriate for him to say anything else while representing Marvel in public. At the end of the day, i would expect that even he would love to see people enjoying Marvel’s work (and his own creator owned projects) by a much larger audience and that’s what the promise of day and date digital comics offers. 

     

  12. @daccampo – Rush beat me to it.  I found it funny when I saw this on Wednesday and the next day IDW announced the month delay on print to digital.

  13. I can also confirm that this is not on the iPad app.  Playstation Digital Comics is for the PSP for those who are wondering.

  14. @jmstump–AHHH thats why i haven’t heard it. I rock the PS3. 

    what do some of you guys think of the price point? Part of me thinks that if you want to really make Digital Comics a crazy success, offer them up for .99 like apple does with iTunes singles.  

  15. @wallythegreenmonster: $1.99 is fine for new books. The audience isn’t big enough to make $0.99 profitable. If the audience scales up then the price can come down.

  16. thats a good point. Apple can sell a few hundred thousand lady gaga singles and make some money for most everyone involved. I guess they’d be hard pressed to duplicate that kinda volume with comics. I’m just glad a publisher is trying it out. 

  17. Awesome. This makes me want a PSP.

  18. Not sure how the PSP store works, but IDW’s got a pretty decent selection of 99 cent issues in its iDevice store. Buying those is a no-brainer, IMO.

  19. IDW already have Kill Shakespeare for iPad and iPhone for download which were available at least within a week of being released.

  20. I’ll tell you that I don’t like computers and think technology will be a tool towards our demise.  That being said, a digital comic has no soul.  It is ether.  It is sex with a lady of the night, quick and pretty from a distance, but there’s no kissing.

     

    Make mine paper.

  21. @Preacher It is sex with a lady of the night, quick and pretty from a distance, but there’s no kissing.

    Also, much like a prostitute, it’s inexpensive, available on demand for those days when I get out of work too late to make it to the LCS and won’t take up space in my apartment.  Meanwhile, paper comics take up space and require maintenance (like bagging and boarding and storage), and I can never find exactly the one I need when I need it, which makes them a lot like some of the women I’ve dated.  Your metaphor holds, sir.  I approve.

  22. I agree with Preacher. Call me names or that I’m old fashioned or I’m part of the problem or whatever. I don’t care. I want to hold something, art just looks so much better on paper. I just can’t get behind this. My favorite part about buying comics is hanging in comic stores and discussing them with my other LCS customers. I love having boxes of comics. It’s a hobby. Then again, I’m also a vinyl record enthusiast and I’m sure a ton of you think MP3s are a great music listening format……..

  23. The PSP is a great device for comics. At first I wasn’t sure about it but the reader works very well and there’s a nice library available. I am anxiously awaiting the upcoming Android IDW app.

    I’m ready to move away from paper. There are no great LCS in my area and the paper just clutters up my home. Most of the comics I read are via direct subscription and are given away once I’m finished.The digital approach works better for me.

  24. Fun fact: People don’t read newspapers. Most people read it on their desktops/laptops/phones. It is highly presumptous to assume that people don’t want to read comics on every one of those platforms as well. But the current cathartic, "there’s an app for every little thing", non-portable method is broken and it is sad that the publishing industry is not going to learn the lesson from the music industry. It is just going to go through the same motions, and arrive at the same point 5-10 years later. Till the time when we get buy DRM-free CBRs/EPubs/any other competent format, I say shun this nonsense.

    I also, dont see why there has to be dichotomy. Print and digital can coexist, at least in the medium of comics.

    @SirCox:

    I never had an LCS. Most of my comics are already digital. The others are trades bought online or hardcovers bought from the bookstores. Am I doing it wrong? Or you have a hard time wrapping your head around the fact that not everyone is like you? Every one of those things you described are learned behaviour. 

    Another fun fact: Most of the art that "looks better on paper" is either done completely or atleast finished on an inferior computer screen. Rarely, when it isn’t, it gets scaned in for printing.

    also, I don’t think the preacher guy was serious. Because the alternative is too ironic to be even funny.

  25. @muddi900 Also the art most definitely does NOT look better on paper for the most part. If you get your hands on a non-scanned digital version (IE how it’s seen originally) it looks better. Colours are more accurate, the image is bigger, it’s just better looking all around. 

    Most of the time you’re seeing shitty digital versions is because someone scanned it poorly.

    @SirCox: Obviously mp3s don’t sound better than vinyl (or at least not as rich and organic) but the convenience and portability make it an equally valid format.  Especially if you go with 256bit or higher. I can’t listen to a record walking down the street or in my car.

  26. IDW is short sighted as well. Only one platform? And one that doesn’t have that many users compared to PC, iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad?  Come on IDW, offer your stuff on Graphic.ly or Longbox or iPad/iPod!

  27. @gobo

    Well yes and no. Since most art is done for print, its done in CMYK, correct? So they are just as good. And then there is the issue of screens. Most artist create on IPS LCD panels like the ones that come with Macs and sold by Dell. They have great colour reproduction, but are expensive, and will not be found in most homes. They also have low response times, making them quite useless to gamers like me. Print offers more depth in that regard. I would also say that while there are a lot of crappy pirated scans, if you look for high-quality ones, they are better than any of the legal alternatives.

    Also, the reason MP3’s are still popular in 2010 because the market leader in portable-media players refuse to support a lossless formats like Flac or even the classic Wav.

  28. I think there is room for comics to exist in both printed and digital formats. Give consumers a choice…its not really an us vs. them kinda thing. You can watch a movie different ways, you should be able to read a comic different ways.

    The issue of paper and sustainability is valid, but the stuff they print most comics on are at the bottom of the paper quality scale full of plastics, chemicals and filler. I’ve heard they’re actually not recyclable its that low in paper content just like junk mail. There is probably more wood pulp in your toilet paper than your comics. 

    The biggest concerns with digital delivery are a standardized format and controlling what users see. Make everything universal like a PDF and they’ll thrive. Tying it to a proprietary format that only a small base has access too is a recipe for failure. As far as color…everyone’s monitor is different and color calibrated differently. No two people will ever see a digital comic exactly the same way. Print is still superior in being the closest to the creator’s original intent.  

  29. @muddi900

     

    Well yeah you are right. One perk to this is getting more comics in to hands of people who normally wouldn’t be able to get them. I live in New Jersey, there are a decent amount of LCS but I do know most people aren’t that lucky to live by a LCS. I still can’t imagine staring at a screen reading a comic. I personally am very against buying things that are intangible(aka downloads). Yes I know not everyone is like me. 

     

    Personally, the reason why no one supports FLAC is because the files are huge and if you do have a high quality V0 or V2 mp3 rip, unless you have an awesome ear and really good speakers/headphones, you are not hearing a difference. 

  30. Go IDW!!! Now, if only PSP comics were available to me here in Canada 🙁

  31. @sircox
    This is 2010, grandpa, its the year we made contact, get with the program!

    Seriously, every one has 5 times the bandwidth the 10 years ago and storage is 10 times as cheap. File-sizes should be a non-issue!

    As far as intangibility is concerned, how much did you pay for your OS? ever bought a cellphone app? A game off steam? XBLA? PSN? wiiware?

  32. I downloaded the Marvel App last night for my wife’s iPad and read the first 14 issues of Brubakers run on Captain America.

    I flippin’ loved the experience. I really like the panel-to-panel flow.

    If new (or even a couple weeks old) comics were available this way, I’d be THRILLED.