Marvel’s Digital Disarray

Two weeks ago, we had one of the most thoughtful and passionate discussions I’ve seen in a very long time about the status quo of Superman. That piece was originally supposed to involve two discussions on status quo, but as I kept typing, it became very clear that the piece was best suited to discussing the maligned superhero.  Let’s move onto the second part of the piece.

While discussing the first issue of Avengers vs. X-Men, we talked a lot about what could very well be another new status quo in comics — the extra “augmented reality” feature in the printed book.  For those of you who haven’t picked it up, throughout the issue there appeared this little “AR” graphic on various panels, with zero explanation, until you got to the end of the book.  The logo was actually a visual cue for you (and, ultimately, a mobile phone application), that would show extra content on the phone screen, floating above the comic book’s printed page — an augmentation of reality, an extra layer of information that was supposed to enhance the experience displayed on the page.

Yes, it’s a gimmick. And yes, many of us rolled our eyes when we realized what it was, and, quite frankly, I am embarrassed that I was so close-minded about it — at least Marvel tried something that was different and added value to the printed comic book format. Was the experience great? No. It was hard to use and when it “worked,” the results were kind of lame. Could it be cool eventually? Perhaps, sure. I like the idea of perhaps an interview with the artist discussing a particular panel, or some other insight into the creative process other than “hey, this is what this page looked like without colors.” I don’t need to see some editor walking onto the page and talk to me, but I applaud Marvel for the attempt.

Is this AR thing comics? Maybe. Perhaps now things like this are going to be part of modern comics. Again, this content did not show up in the digital version, which I found kind of shocking. It would be a better experience if this added content was in the digital version, because the experience would be better (it was really hard to use the camera to “hit” the page the right way and make the content appear), but, for now, this makes the printed book a bit more fun and unique.

Could it have been done better? Oh yeah, sure. You’d think there would have been a banner on the cover promising “a whole new experience” that would excite people into opening the comic. Marvel could have told the reader what the AR logo stood for at the beginning of the book rather than the end. They could  have included a QR code that downloaded the AR app for your phone automatically, at the very least.

The most important question, of course, is whether or not this kind of trick will bring in new readers?  Doubtful. I think, personally, that it’s a natural fit for the digital version and assume that eventually this kind of bonus content will be part and parcel with digital comics, that this is just a first step.  Will new readers actually get something out of it? Personally, I’d like to bring back the flexi-discs, but that’s another article.

As I step back, however, I realize that this “first step” is typical of Marvel’s embrace of new and not-so-new paradigm shifts in printed comics. In addition to the AR feature, many of Marvel’s comics are including a coupon for a free digital version of the same printed comic you just read.

I don’t know about you, but, much to my chagrin, I rarely read my comics a second time. I have long boxes of comics that I have not opened in over a year that show that part of me believes I will, but so far, this has not happened.  My gut feeling tells me that the coupon should be for the next comic in the series, for a reduced price, to drive readers to the Marvel digital storefront.  None of the books that I have read where this coupon is given to me have been good enough for me to want to look at them ever again (which truly is another article), let alone take up space on my iPad to remind me that I paid cash money for the issue in the first place.

I don’t understand what Marvel is doing. On one hand, they are trying to show that they are adding value to the printed comic with a wonky augmented reality experience while including a free digital version of that comic without the extra content, which would actually work better in the digital format.  If anything, the coupon should point users to exactly that: an enhanced digital comic that can “start a different conversation” with reader, showing how exciting digital comics can be, as opposed to trying to make printed comics more interesting using the same device the user could be reading the very same comic on!

Scratch that: I know what Marvel is doing. They are trying to have it both ways. They want to make retailers feel better by providing them books that have extra flair beyond the printed comic, but at the same time, they are encouraging readers to get used to reading the comics digitally, which, in the end, will hurt the retailers, making them feel worse.

One thing that is consistent is the inconstancy of the comics industry. Yes, it’s easy to rip on Marvel for their clumsy digital strategy. But like I said before, I have to applaud them for at least trying new things. I don’t know if providing additional content to the printed page will make much of a difference (how long will the videos and such stay on their servers, by the way?) to their readership. I bet that most Marvel Zombies would appreciate books that are less expensive, without the peeling digital comics coupon and AR content, which, let’s face it, while adding a new experience, also distracts from the story’s flow.

(Of course, given the quality of the AvX story so far, perhaps readers appreciate the distraction. ZING!)

I know, that the purists out there will shake their heads and say that comics don’t need this kind of tweaking, that comics are comics and if you don’t like it, too bad. Well, what’s really too bad is that younger readers are not buying comics and tweaks like this might be the only way to at least have a conversation about comics with kids who do not grow up with them. I have been to quite a few comic book stores over the past few months (I have been looking for Punisher MAX #21), and I would say that 98% of the time, there is no one younger than their 20s in the store. It’s no wonder that the status quo of comics is changing so quickly (and so fundamentally) these days — it is getting harder and harder to grow the market. By adding these digital treats to their comics to lure disinterested younger readers, Marvel could very well be alienating their base of readers, who view these efforts as making their comics less like comics.

How about you all? Did you remember to look for the AR panels in last week’s issue of AvX or is the thrill gone? Have you tried to get your free digital copy?  Or is this just 1200 words of “shrug?”

 


Mike Romo acts (with kittens!) in Los Angeles. You can reach him through email, visit his facebook page, and gobble up his tweets on twitter.

Comments

  1. Personally, I think the Marvel AR is an incredibly cool concept.
    It’s completely innovative! It allows you to delve even deeper into your comic book. It’s a whole new way for readers to get more out of their comics…for free!
    Was it a little clunky? Sure! But come on, this is a brand new thing that they’re trying out for the first time. And I’ll be damned if it wasn’t the coolest thing to see the cover come to life and start moving!
    And the little “Marvel AR” logo at the bottom of the panels didn’t distract me AT ALL. In fact, I didn’t even notice that they were there until a friend pointed them out.
    I think Marvel is trying something new to get readers excited about their comics, and I applaud them for it.

    • I think this AR feature needs to be wedded to the Motion-Comic thing… the bit on AvX#1 AR was the awsome trailer with SFX and animation and lightning. The cover came to life and provided a trailer for the event. How awsome would a splash page of Thor laying the smack down on the wrecking crew be if the AR for it actually showed the hammer/lightning strike with motion and lightning and a big crash SFX. It would also be cool if the app could help lead you to backstory stuff either on the Marvel Wiki or linking to related backissues in the Marvel Digital Store. Don’t know who Hope is? Here is her bio. Want more? Tap this button for the option to buy the Messiah Complex trade and digital back issues of Generation Hope…

  2. I get all my comics digitally so I didn’t see the Marvel AR app firsthand until AvX 2. Oddly enough it was in that issue but not #1 and it was weird shooting an iphone at ipad to get content that didn’t really enhance the story.

    The digital conversation that I find so weird is the pricing problem. I have cut back on several Marvel books that are $3.99. I don’t really care if I have a physical copy as I am reading for the stories and not as a collector but it is increasingly difficult to rationalize 4 bucks for a 20 page comic. Marvel’s pricing two-tiered pricing strategy and digital giveaways is probably the biggest detriment to my getting more of their titles. It might not seem like much but that extra dollar feels significant.

    • On the same topic of pricing, I wonder why Marvel doesn’t drop prices of their new releases like other publishers do. Why does Ultimate Fallout, as a random example, still cost $3.99, when other publishers would have dropped the price a dollar as soon as the next issue came out?

    • Is Marvel’s digital pricing similar to DC’s in that it’s a dollar less after a month of the book being on the shelves? Because that, to me, is a very appealing aspect of DC’s digital program. Given that so many of Marvel’s books are 3.99, I think they would benefit from a similar discount system. I read more Image and DC books than Marvel widely because of the pricing, and having grown up a Marvel reader, it feels unusual to me buying only 3 books out of 20 that are Marvel.

    • @koryrosh ah, you answered my question! guess I should’ve reloaded my page before commenting haha. What other publishers besides DC have that system? That gives them a huge edge over Marvel’s digital plan right out of the gate in my opinion.

    • @MisterKyleW I know Image and IDW discount after one month. That’s how I’ve been buying MORNING GLORIES and the STAR TREK ongoing…

    • @srh1son it’s interesting that with DC and Image at least (I’m not too familiar with how IDW’s books are priced), where several of their titles (at least the ones I buy) are 2.99, they adopt the discount whereas Marvel, who has a catalogue with several 3.99 titles doesn’t have it. Seems odd.

    • I thought I read something somewhere about Marvel not wanting to devalue the product. Though I’m sick and not thinking straight, so I could be wrong.

      The thing is, I don’t feel like a digital version of a comic HAS the same value as a physical copy, which is why I think the one month discount plan works.

    • I totally agree. I only read digital now, and the only Marvel comic I read is Uncanny X-Force, and Issue #19 is still $3.99. It’s nearly 5 months old! I understand that they want/think there comics to be more valuable, but the main reason I don’t read any Marvel is because of the price point, and the fact that they don’t go down in price. It’s just seems pompous to me.

  3. What i found odd about the AR thing, is that they were offering it to the wrong customer. I know i’m painting with a large brush, but print focussed wednesday warriors seem less likely to be interested in digital add ons. They want their books to bag and board and put in a longbox. Its the digital customers that might really like that kinda extra stuff.

    I’ve worked professionally with augmented reality. We took over a few storefronts with branding and interactive stuff. In the meetings everyone was super excited about the potential. When we actually designed and installed it, there were so many unforeseen variables, and from our hidden camera, case study documentation, people hardly seemed interested in it for more than 30 seconds before they got bored or frustrated. It was an incredibly expensive experiment that really wasn’t very effective. Augmented reality is one of those things thats hot in Design Master’s programs and academic theory, but its rare to see it implemented in the real world in any kind of effective case study.

    I’ve watched the videos for marvel’s AR thing and honestly i have no interest in it Just seems like a really awkward pain in the arse way to get some bonus content. BUT i would be very very interested in bonus added value content to digital offerings.

    Also that Nova Infinite thing had great potential. That’s the real winner right there.

    • Lotsa good in there Wally. You’ve really nailed the way I feel about things, even without really agreeing with my stance.

      I like em in print. I haven’t even thought once about checking the AR thing out. Not that I’m against it. I’ve literally not even had the thought. The Nova thing? I wouldn’t have minded it in print, but I was frustrated by not being able to access it on my computer (without buying it, bastard Marvel). They let me have the digital version of my comic on my PC, but not Nova. So then I wrangle out one of them IPads and there Nova is, just waiting for me. I see the differences. I see the potential for different types of readers… But I woulda rather read that Nova story in print. I woulda paid money for it. I’m not likely to check out the digital stuff anymore till it’s a lot easier. Why can’t I access my content on my PC? That is just weird. I didn’t want to use the IPad. It’s a first generation and is seriously slow and annoying.

      I think some of my frustration is inline with this article’s title, but covers different ground than the actual article’s content. But yea… Digital disarray for sure.

    • i think the problem is they are trying to tinker with a core product that doesn’t need tinkering with (print comics) and not really making the digital comics into a truly unique product that could get new customers, but also entire existing customers to double dip and get in on all that cool stuff.

      Sometimes you leave the classic cheeseburger alone, and create something fresh and innovative to put along side it.

  4. The AR thing sounds like it has loads of potential, but doesn’t seem to be there quite yet. Like anything new though, it’ll probably take them a few tries to figure out what they have. I haven’t used it myself, but being able to see an artist talking about the process behind the page you’re looking out sounds really cool to me. I’d love content like that.
    And I am totally with you on the free digital download. I love the idea of making it apply to the next issue in the series, or even just any digital download of a Marvel Comic. I wouldn’t even mind if they limited which comic i downloaded for free to just the 2.99 books or whatever system would work best, but spending an extra dollar to get another version of the same product doesn’t interest me. It’s why I dropped off of Avenging Spider-Man early, sadly, and one of the reasons I’m avoiding AvX.
    As an industry that’s competing with film, TV, video games and other digital media, it’s totally necessary to at least try these things out. It might even be worth paying more for, but it has to be done well and done in a way that is interesting and engaging to the consumer in order for it to be worth spending time, money and resources on. It’s awesome that they’re at least trying to get to that place and experimenting with these things.

  5. My first experience with Marvel’s digital coupons was unpleasant–my copy of Avenging Spider-man #2 had a digital code in it that I did not use at the time. Maybe 6-8 weeks later I remembered I had the code and went to redeem it so I could have the issue in my digital collection. It turns out, I learned, that the digital code had “expired” and could no longer be redeemed. I had just missed the time limit. Finding that I couldn’t take advantage of my digital code because I’d waited too long was a real sour note for my first time using one of their codes. I believe Marvel has subsequently implemented much more reasonable expiration times–the X-Men Season 1 book had a time limit on the code of a year, which seems reasonable, though I wonder what happens if you buy that book new sometime next spring.

    I’m surprised this article doesn’t really address the craziest thing about Marvel’s digital strategy–the price. $3.99 for a significant portion of their comics is a tough sell to begin with, but it is especially ridiculous that, unlike DC, they do not appear to reduce the price of their books over time. Want to read New Avengers #17, a six month old issue? That’ll still be $3.99. Want to catch up on that last arc from #17-23? $28 to pick up those 7 issues. Much as I don’t like it, I understand the $3.99 price on current digital issues as a way to avoid upsetting retailers. But are there really store owners out there who have that much old inventory laying around that they think a $1.99 price point is going to affect their business, much less a $2.99 price?

    I’m very much looking forward to 5 years or so from now when this system will inevitably become somewhat more rational.

    • It’s not that they never reduce their price; its that its so arbitrary. I missed out on the beginning of the Jonathan Hickman run of Fantastic Four and those issues, starting in the 580s are $1.99. That’s a nice surprise. But other stuff never drops.

  6. I like the idea that Marvel tried something new, but I hated the fact that it was right in the middle of the story. If they want to throw something like that in at the end, great. But right when you’re in the middle of the story? Thanks, but no. Can you imagine watching the Avengers movie and having little icons pop up in the corner of the screen: “Click here to see how Mark Ruffalo felt about filming this scene!”? And yes, I know they were small, and I know no one forced me to use the app or whatever, but there were still noticeable enough to take me out of the story.

  7. I’ll tell you what Marvel digital initiative really worked for me: AvX Infinite. After reading that single (half) issue, I was hard to go back to my regular hum-drum digital comics. Everything needs to start adopting that style

  8. Mike Romo stated, “…They (Marvel) want to make retailers feel better by providing them books that have extra flair beyond the printed comic, but at the same time, they are encouraging readers to get used to reading the comics digitally, which, in the end, will hurt the retailers, making them feel worse.”

    To the old, comics are to be owned, read, protected, collected, traded, shared and admired. To the new, comics are files to be leased, read, exited and disposed.

    We have had the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and the Modern Age. We are in the beginning stages of the ‘Ice Age’ of comics.

    • We’re in the ‘ice age’ because the market and distribution system is changing? Based purely on how we consume it, and not based on the quality or other characteristics of, you know, the medium itself? That is preposterous. Are we in the ice age of music as well?

  9. Frankly, I’m just not turned on by the Marvel AR strategy. It’s a gimmick – plain and simple. If Marvel was truly serious about attracting new readers they would lower their digital prices to $1.99 – like DC, Image, and so many others have done. When DC introduced the new 52, I purchased an iPad 2 so that I could read comics digitally. I wait a month to read new issues so that I get the $1.99 price. The only comics that I still buy in print are Marvel and Dark Horse. Marvel used to be the largest percentage of comics that I buy – but now I have diversified my comic reading trying out many other publishers on Comixology who sell their comics for $.99 to $1.99. I rarely will pay for anything digitally for anything over $1.99 – unless it is something exceptional.

  10. MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

    Digital comics should be $1.99. (Even that’s expensive, but I’ll give it to them)
    Printed comics should be $3.49, with a link to freely download the digital copy.

  11. I haven’t done this yet, but my intention with the digital codes was to post them on my Tumblr blog and whoever used it first (if anyone) gets a free comic. I’m not sure if Ultimate Spider-man 8 is much of a gateway book for someone, but you never know!

    • and then a bunch of storm troopers wearing mouseketeer hats bust through your front door and make you the face of comics piracy…

    • MadCowDzz (@DarylFritz) says:

      I realize what you’re doing is in essence “free-advertising”, but I feel like this is exactly what keeps publishers skittish about digital distribution to begin with. I like to think of the digital codes as more of a long-term readable copy of my book, which means I can store my physical copy safely away as a collector’s item.

    • i think i may need a link to your blog, Ken 😉

    • @wally and @MadCowDzz: I’m not sure there’s any kind of legal issue though (and if there is, please not that I have yet to actually do this).

      I bought the comic and accompanying digital download code. The code is only good for one download. Why should Marvel care if I’m the one who downloads the comic or if someone who follows me on tumblr downloads the comic (I’m not that popular, so it’s a small candidate pool), they’ve already got the money for that particular download, and exposure to the Marvel digital store could theoretically lead to future purchases.

      Now, I wouldn’t want to risk ridicule by applying logic to digital comics, but it seems like sharing the digital codes with potential new readers could only be a good thing. At least better than me keeping digital copies of paper comics I already have at hand.

      Or let’s flip it — if I used the digital download and gave the paper comic to my buddy, who’d have a problem?

      @mikegraham6: kenohno.tumblr.com

    • @ken–i think its the same reason why its perfectly legal for you to rip a CD you bought (remember those) and put it on your personal iPod, but it becomes illegal when you give that rip to a friend.

    • @wally – I don’t think it’s the same thing for a few reasons.

      If I rip a track from a cd, that ripped file has absolutely zero DRM or other anti-piracy protocols. That’s why sharing ripped media files is considered illegal.

      On the other hand, the digital download code is only good for a single download of a specific comic book and only from Marvel’s app. Once downloaded, it’s associated with one account and can’t be shared.

      And because the digital code is part of the package (along with the book), I’ve paid for that download as much as I’ve paid for the book itself. When you buy a CD, that’s all you’re buying. It’s why the process of copying audio tracks into MP3 is called “ripping” — even though there are many legitimate reasons to do so, the CD technology was not designed for you to do that (DVD is a better example of this, but the concept still works).

      All that said, it may still be prohibited in the Terms and Conditions of redeeming the digital code. I’ll have to double check the small print in the next book I get with a code, but if Marvel has prohibited people who bought the book from giving away the digital code, I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot.

    • @ken–yeah you’re right on that…couldn’t think of a good comparison. I”m sure its in the TOS somewhere…i’d be so surprised if The Mouse allowed you to give your digital copy away to someone else legally.

    • Just found this in the Marvel Comics App License Agreement and Terms of Use”

      “Limitations. Unless otherwise stated in writing by Marvel, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, stream, sublicense, transfer, or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove or modify any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not bypass, modify, defeat, or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.”

      So if I were to post a digital code to my blog (which I have not done yet!), I could theoretically be in violation of the app’s Terms of Use because I’d be “tranfer[ring], or otherwise assign[ing] any rights to the Digital Content […] to any third party.”

      So unless there’s a lawyer around here who says I’m interpreting that incorrectly, I’m not gonna do it. But it seems like Marvel might be missing an opportunity here to let their fans evangelize for them with free digital comics for new readers!

    • @Wally-Seeing as there is no money involved, and no real damages/injury that could be demonstrated, I really do not know what the mouse could do besides a strongly worded ‘cease and desist’ letter. I really do not know what the legal department could do besides get a declaratory judgment. This isn’t something that is infinitely repeatable. Person ‘A’ buys it and gives it to person ‘B’. Person ‘B’ and only person ‘B’ can then access it. I really do not know what DisneyCorp could do that has any teeth.

      That much having been said, this isn’t my area of legal expertise, so I would welcome any reliable information regarding this subject. Ken brings up a really intriguing idea.

    • @Ken-Hi, newbie lawyer here. Marvel can prohibit anything that they want. I am just unsure of the ramifications of you violating the prohibition. This is no different than buying an issue and immediately re-selling it before you access the digital copy. You are not re-creating or re-selling something. You are giving it away. You are giving away something that Marvel itself was giving away. You are not taking anything that Marvel would be benefiting from. One of the first things that you learn in law school is that to sue, you must demonstrate damages. I just do not see how they could prove that up. But again, I am not an IP attorney, so maybe the rules are a little different from the general rule.

      To be clear, I am not saying that you should do this. I am saying that I am not sure what Marvel could legally do about the particular scenario that you have put forth.

    • using Ken’s scenario, they’d probably just send scary legal letters to tumblr, who’d close the account down for violating their TOS, and then they’d use the secret Mouse_Stappo to watch you and follow you and then send a Buzz Lightyear death-squad to terminate you if you keep on with it. =p

    • Yeah, that makes sense. Corporations are deathly afraid of other corporations suing them. Not to mention the whole ‘professional courtesy’ angle.

      I would rather a Buzz Lightyear deathsquad as opposed to a Pirate or an army of animated brooms! 😉

  12. I love the idea of digital comics, but not the execution. I want the media delivered to me in a format I can consume via any method I wish. I don’t want it to only “work” through a proprietary device or viewer. It should be in a raw format that can be moved from PC to iPad to whatever comes next. I should own it and it should never require any license key or DMA key.

  13. Hi. I just joined so I could comment. And cause I just got an Ipad and am finally buying comics again after years of not doing so. =D

    The gimmick mentioned sounds silly. I would think the answer is obvious. At least for me. The only extra content I care about in comics is artwork. Like ryan ottleys art at the of invincible trades, I looove that stuff. He writes about his decisions and why he drew it like that. It’s great. Give me more artwork as bonus content please. =) Hell, have collectable digital character cards or something. whatever.

    As for the price discussion. Yeah, I don’t many comics cause they’re pricey, its why I was really looking forward to going digital, (like a digimon. 8|) But 3 bucks is totally reasonable. alot work goes into a comic, just becasue wrtwork is digital instead of printed doesnt make it less valuable. but yeah, 4.00 is too much. sorry marvel.

  14. I knew about the AR app ahead of time, so wasn’t bothered by the AR icons on panel.(Mike, you work for iFanboy and hadn’t read the Marvel’s SXSW announcement about how AR would change the world?) yes, it’s a gimmick, except for the man speaking in my headphones before he walked onscreen and scaring the crap out of me. as for redeeming the ‘free’ digital copy, it’s not driving me to the $3.99 books, but I like that I can put it on my ipad for my commute and leave the physical copy at home. And when i donate the comic, I like that i still have the digital copied saved, makes me feel like i didn’t completely throw away my money, even if i never read it again

  15. I didn’t realize that you had to shoot a picture of the AR code to get it to activate on a separate app. I bought AvX #’s 1 and 2 on comixology, and I didn’t even realize what it was. Also, there was no mention of the AR on the digital copy, so not only did I not see the symbol, I wouldn’t have even known what to do with it if I had. Honestly, I tried clicking on my digital copy last week thinking that’s how you activated it, and nothing happened. This seems an overly complicated process for something so slight in the final showing.

    Now, if you want to do more bang for the buck, look at what Double Feature Comics from 4 Star Studioes are doing. You can read the comic as normal, but you can also see the various layers of process if you’re into that. You also get commentary from the creators. And it’s all included with the price of purchase, and it’s all easily navigated because it’s integrated into the creation process, not being added onto a product of another medium.

    And the AvX Infinity comic was a much better step in the direction of what “digital comics” should be. Still a lot of static images that could have been better animated, but the transitions and layering and effects that were used were tremendous.

  16. I noticed the AR icon while reading the book, but forgot about it by the end and didn’t notice the page explaining it… what can I say, I read it at work and was not paying 100% attention 🙂 Now I’ve gone back and read AvX #1 using the app, and I have to admit I am ridiculously excited about the potential here. The best pages are the ones that explained things that a new reader wouldn’t know (the bio on Hope, and the roster for the JG school). In my store, I have Magic players looking over the comics all the time, and the #1 thing potential readers say is “This looks cool, but I don’t want to have to read *those* (motioning to the trade shelves) to understand what’s going on…” And with storylines that are literally dragging on for months and years, this is not only a legitimate concern, but a major stumbling block. Marvel has stepped up to solve it, and I love the result. Whether or not you appreciate the value of your free extras is not really the point, they’re free and some people enjoy seeing them.. But the chance to lessen the knowledge gap for new readers without adding extra pages of cost AND keeping it in a physical form is fantastic. To be honest, I don’t understand why the content wasn’t made available in the digital copies, but I don’t think it will be too long before it is added in to the equation.

  17. It the Google Glass project and things like it take off by …say 2020, AR will be a lot more common-place.
    Imagine how the comic book reading experience will change.

  18. I always download the comics digitally when it gives me the chance and I get mad when it doesn’t work sometimes.

  19. I think the AR thing is pretty neat and agree with some that it has potential to be way better. And I didnt need to go through the book to figure out what the AR logo was thanks to sites like this and marvels press about it from SXSW. I had the app downloaded in the store before I even bought the book. Granted I know that ‘new readers’ or people who dont follow comic news wouldnt have known about it.

    As for the free digital code, Im also lost as to what that’s about. I personally prefer floppies over everything and do not foresee ever switching completely to digital (due in part to not having a credit card of any kind or a decent enough device to view them.) What gets me about titles I buy with the code in every issue (namely Avenging Spider Man) is if you offer me this as a way to have the issues all collected neatly together why would I ever go back and buy a trade? I know trades arent only for people who buy singles but some (like myself) do to have them in a nice collected format to read together. If Marvel gives me that for free wouldnt that hurt sales for the book in the long run? At least a little bit?

  20. Am I the only one here who doesn’t have an iPad/pod/smart phone/etc?

  21. When I got my iPhone, The Marvel App and Marvel AR were two of the first apps I got.

    I was underwhelmed by both.

    The AR app just opens as a camera, instead of first directing you to a list of upcoming comics that will feature AR content. Great. Well, let’s search the web for a list. Hmm, even Marvel’s site just has press releases telling me how great it’s going to be. No list of upcoming comics with AR content. OK, I guess I’ll check back in six months. Yawn.

    The Marvel App itself looks kind of cool, but the iPhone is too small for reading comic books. Comic strips, maybe, but comic books, no way. I was almost thinking about trying to find Karl Kesel’s Lost 1940s Captain America Comic Strip to see if that looked cool, but then some shiny object distracted me. No doubt it was someone “Like”ing my clever Facebook repartee or <3ing one of my amazing Instagram photos. Thank Cupertino for constant instant alerts!

    In short, underwhelmed. I'll check in again when I get my iPad.

  22. Marvel spent tons of money–and COUNTLESS man hours setting up their Marvel Digital Unlimited program.
    Then, just a few years later, phone devices, ect developed into the new digital source. Marvel took inroads into this medium relatively quickly but was understandably a bit cautious. Still, they had books on comixology before the other major publishers (DC and Image) and had date and day books on the platform before those publishers too. Those publishers one upped marvel in the very significant way of having all their books day and date several months before marvel got there.
    Otherwise, Marvel has been much more proactive in exploring new digital strategies than DC or Image. And that is continuing now with Infinite Comics and probably far less notably, added AR content.

  23. Not mentioning Infinite Comics in this article was quite an oversight.
    2 years from now, these early experiments with Infinite comics will certainly be remembered as a worthwhile endevour in marvel’s digital strategy. AR is an added content gimmick. Could be good for some but also probably not for most readers.

  24. I buy my printed comics for 2 reasons: story and art. They’re ruining the art because of that large AR logo. I hope Marvel reads this article and get a clue. Couldn’t they just leave all the extra content at the back of the comic book cause it’s really distracting. This is a comic book, not a Blu-Ray disc.