Marvel Comixology iPad App Revealed

When the iPad was released, comics fans were stunned by Marvel's incredibly lax response of wait-and-see and no-big-deal, especially given the fact that Marvel is owned by Disney, where Steve Jobs sits on the Board of Directors.

Yet last night, the earliest iPad reviews started going up, and people started noticed a little Marvel icon on the device's screen.  Then Chicago Sun-Times writer Andy Ihnatko, a technology writer, and noted comics fan, showed it on, as well as posted this article, going into as many details as he was able.  The full review will have to wait until the app's release. As of now, it's not in the app store.

Here's what we know.  The app was developed with Comixology, known for their iPhone apps. It's based largely on the aesthetic of the iBookstore, and offers upright viewing mode like a traditional comics page, but at 7.5 inches instead of 10.  Turning the iPad to landscape, gives you different viewing options, like zooming in to the page and panels.

What we don't know is what the content will be.  Will it be the current offerings from Marvel's Digital Content Unlimited, and if so, will users have to stay connected to the web in order to use it?  Marvel has made some of their stories available for the various digital comics companies that have sprung up, but will this cover the same ground, or something else?

In any case, it's clear that Marvel has made an early splash, and will jumping in, if not head first, than at least feet first into the iPad and digiatal realm, so they see the potential.


  1. oh man.  now I’m being swayed. Between this, the netflix streaming app and the rumored hulu app I may have to buy one. 

  2. My first reaction is that this is pretty awesome. But then, the more I think about it, the more skeptical I get about how great it really is until we get more details. Right now on the Comixology app on the iPhone, you can get tons of Marvel comics. The big shortcoming is that it is all older stuff that is still priced at $1.99. If that’s the same offering on the iPad, I don’t plan on buying anything.

  3. @kwoktalk I totally agree, I’d pay $1.99 in a heartbeat for new comics, but that price annoys me when I look at a random Fantastic Four arc from 4 years ago and see it’s going to cost me $10 to read it.  $1.99-$2.99 for recent or particularly excellent issues, $0.99 for older stuff (and possibly also for beginnings of newer arcs) makes sense to me.  I’m sure there will be some stuff worth buying at launch, if not from Marvel from other publishers, but the most interesting part is what will happen in 6-12 months.

  4. Longbox, Longbox.  Where art thou Longbox?  I’m starting to consider it vaporware at this point.  But in the end, it’s what i really want.  The "iTunes" of comics.  I get my comics there, i can read them there, or i could sync them to my mobile product and read them there.  The option of reading on my desktop or mobile is the key, at one price point.  This reeks of "buy it on your iPad, and AGAIN on your desktop!"  

    Plus it all depends on the content.  If i can’t get new comics…it’s just not appealing 

  5. If Marvel gets rolling with a big head of steam in the digital comics market it is going to be challenging for DC to catch up.  They need to get moving or they may get left behind (survival of the fittest).  

    I think/hope the quality of the story will remain the driving force behind sales (if it is now), but digital comics decrease both the direct ($) and indirect (time) cost of buying a comic for consumers.  If you offer me a 5 star book for $4.00 and a 4 star book for $2.00 I am going to have to think very hard about which one to buy.

  6. im speachless that this app will come pre-loaded onto the iPad. when i first heard that this morning i thought it was an april fool’s joke. Seriously though, if it is actually PRE-LOADED then that is truly phenomenal! this sort of thinking will help grow the comic market!

  7. Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited is already way cheaper. 


    In this video review you can see some art from the upcoming avengers series for a split second ..what this suggests ..well, who knows. But its promising.

  9. @DWarren You can use Longbox now in beta form

  10. @mikegraham6 My understanding is that it is not preloaded for us normal people.  Reviewers who got ipads early had some beta apps pre-installed in order to fully review the product.



  11. @KickAss Im not interested in the service that Marvels site offers. Now, this on the other release comics and i’m there!

  12. @KickAss Renting is always cheaper than buying

  13. @Torgelfi If that’s true then this significantly lowers my initial excitement. I’ve always said that i think comic reader apps are a barrier to the casual audiences who would buy a single comic on a whim/impulse purchase basis. Expand the market by putting your product on the iBook store proper!

  14. I haven’t seen it said anywhere that this will be pre-loaded on consumer iPads.  I’ll tell you Saturday.

  15. April Fools?

  16. @mikegraham6 well, preloaded or not, the iBook store will have a graphic novel section right on top for everyone to see.  Also, the comic reader apps will presumably continue to be free downloads.  I’m not sure there’s that big of a gap between the number of people who would see a Marvel reader app already installed on their iPad who would load the app and buy a comic and the number of people who would browse the iBooks graphic novels or download one of the free reader apps and buy a comic that way.  And I would bet Marvel will be smart enough to promote the hell out of their app in the weeks leading up to Iron Man 2.

  17. I kind of hope it isn’t pre-loaded from a personal preference standpoint. I kind of hate how I can’t get rid of some of those pre-loaded apps on my iPhone (ex: Youtube, compass)

  18. i guess i just assumed it was pre-loaded since it was on the review copies… now im sad

  19. If this is an actual download system and not a rental system like their Marvel DCU… I’m sold (and provided that all new books are actually released in a timely fashion and for a reasonable price…$0.99)

  20. I love compass.  But then I live in NYC, and sometimes when I get off the train, I can’t get my bearings.

  21. @gobo How does one get in on that?  I’m n the beta, but I really want to try Longbox as i think it’s the buisness model i’m more into.

  22. Your move dc

  23. Its not going to be 99c -look at Marvels other offerings. 2$ seems to be it. Which is great for me – 2.50$ Aus is a lot better than 8.50$ thats for sure..

    @dwarren- im pretty sure longbox is  doing a public beta now.

    just checked..yep. 

  24. Well don’t i look foolish.  Thanks guys!

  25. Let’s be honest here. In the future, we all will own a ipad tab device. Similar to how we all came to own cel phones. Except this will be much shorter adoption time. Deep down, we all know this to be true.

  26. If the iBookstore takes off, I don’t see why publishers would use a different app than one tied directly into the device itself like iBookstore unless they are getting great deals for licensing with the app developers – I’d like to see publishers just push to use the iBookstore, this would be easiest for consumers and I think would ultimatley cover a much larger audience base than having this fragmented distribution system of a handfull of different apps…

  27. I’m not a complete fan of digital comics, but I would support the medium to supplement my weekly pulls. If I owned an ipad, I would be okay with paying 99 cents or 1.99 for books I wouldn’t normally buy at my LCS, but would like to read. Especially books that weren’t on my radar, but were mentioned on the POTW podcast.

  28. It appears to be the same books available through the Comixology iphone app, but I’ve only seen a couple of brief looks at the library. 

    I really want comics via ipad.  That’s a big part of the reason I bought one.  However, $1.99 for old issues is not the right price point.  Like others, I’d be willing to pay .99 for back issues and $1.99 for new issues.  Hopefully, this will get worked out in the next few months as Marvel sees other publishers selling tons of .99 comics.  

  29. $2. Ugh.

  30. Looks like it’s in the app store already under the iPad section. Awesome.

  31. There’s also one for IDW, GI Joe Cobra II here I come.

  32. if you look at ~25 minute mark of macbreak weekly video podcast you’ll see the app..

  33. fyi the app is available for free right now for the ipod touch and iphone.  


  34. Looks like it’s really just a rebranded Comixology app with only Marvel on it, no real reason to buy it if you already have the Comixology Comics app.

  35. And by buy it I just mean download it. (I just woke up, give me a break)