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Sage Freehaven said on November 23rd, 2007 at 3:08 pm

How is it possible? Anything’s possible — hell, for all we know, DC’s preparing a similar service that could fail even harder than Marvel’s.

I think that the advent of the Digital Age (the Internet, P2P, etc.) caught old-school business off-guard, and now they’re scrambling to try and “fit in” with the rest of us by offering things like Marvel’s not-quite-so-good comic service. While some companies get the Digital Age and make it work (see: iTunes), some companies have never — and will never — get it, and they’ll do anything in their power to try and stop the Digital Age before they believe it gets entrenched just so they can protect their old models of business.

Embracing and accepting the Digital Age is very useful in business today, especially for companies with a huge backlog of content to share with willing customers (like, say, Marvel). However, when you half-ass the attempt at embracing the Digital Age (shitty comic download service) and simultaneously shun the Digital Age userbase (killing sites like Z-Cult), you’re screwing the pooch both ways.

Plus ten points to Marvel for looking at their backlog of comics, saying “Hey, people might not be able to buy all of these, so why don’t we make these available to customers on our website for a reasonable fee?” Minus several million points for the overall choice of comics available and the execution of the service itself.

(Oh, and on the off-chance anyone reading this blog is signed up for the service, I recommend the Great Lakes Avengers mini. SQUIRREL GIRL FOREVER~!)

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Milkman Dan said on November 23rd, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Feh. I figured I’d finally check it out, and see if anything was changed from months ago when I last checked the free comics section, and the site is still down. I guess those upgrades couldn’t handle the traffic after all.

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I can’t think of a poorer model to emulate than the music industry’s re: illegal downloads. The log line came down to “CORPORATE GIANTS SUE SINGLE MOTHER FOR SEVERAL HUNDRED THOUSAND,” and that’s just not a PR battle you can win. Ever. It makes you look like a scumbag, which isn’t so hard, because you are a scumbag.

The non-stupid thing, of course, is to effectively make piracy obsolete — by moving into the market and providing a superior service delivered in a similar fashion. I have many problems with iTunes and never buy anything from there if I can possibly help it, but it is a leg up from what was going on before it showed up.

Alternately, you can put your castoff comics in a shitty delivery and show contempt for large segments of your audience, and see how that works out for you. Good luck on that, Marvel!

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The music injury went after a dead person (I forget if it was a man or woman), and then, upon finding said person was dead, went after the family of the deceased for money.

I was sent a generic e-mail talking about how an Alberta school was fined $450,000 because someone used the school’s network for filesharing. I went googling, but I couldn’t turn anything up so maybe it was just a scare tactic on the part of the college.

But we all know about the horror stories about the music industry going after downloaders.

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y’know, I’m actually kind of glad zcult has been gutted. I’ve been a member there for years; Every year my comic collection (trades and singles) has tripled. This isn’t to mention the trades I’ve bought twice, as gifts, or single issues I’d downloaded and hadn’t cared for, then bought for friends who would enjoy them. This is the first time I’m dropping my mainstream comic habit somewhat involuntarily; I’ll no doubt return when I get sucked back in by circumstance or boredom. That said, I expect it’s going to take me a while to get bored with all the extra money I’ll suddenly have. I guess I’ll just have to funnel that money into video games, and I’ll likely do it over Steam – they’re at least taking their business seriously.

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mygif

After the spider-clone fiasco, you have to ask how Marvel could fuck up?

The answer is simple. They’ve had practice.

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But how long can they keep finding new and stupider ways to fuck up???

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Tornado Ninja Fan #1 said on November 24th, 2007 at 3:56 pm

Never underestimate the amount and creativity of human stupidity.

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[...] Anyhow, Chris and I got to talking about the current state of the comics industry and his most recent blog post. I don’t want to misrepresent Mr. Bird’s position so I’ll only talk about my own: [...]

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I considered posting a comment about what I thought Z-Cult could do next, but it looked like they’d folded like a card table and I didn’t want to be looking like I advocated such activity, after all….

And they did it anyway.

(Actually, my first thought was that Z-Cult should point its users/scanners/distributors to an established and thriving torrent site, like TPB, and watch the Marvel/DC lawyers flail against a wall that’s stood up against international frothing and litigation for quite some time. This was close enough in spirit, I think.)

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OtherOneTrueGod said on November 25th, 2007 at 11:54 am

I’m a computer professional, I’ve been using computers for thirty years, was very active in the BBS scene of the pre-public Internet, and have used the Internet since 1990, and I’ll tell you: the Internet took *me* by surprise. It took most people who were into computers by surprise. It changed -everything- and it did it over about 3 or 4 years, and it’s still causing me to change and rethink my business strategies.

And I’m not the only one.

If the internet can take computer professionals by surprise, I can’t even imagine how old media companies are trying to fit it into their lives and the panic they must be in. While they seem to be fumbling around, that’s because they are fumbling around. They know that things are changing, but they can’t fit that into their world view. It’s going to be a very painful transition, and one that will likely take another decade to settle.

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When Marvel announced the site, I admit I was pleased. Money concerns have ended my comic-collecting days, excepting the odd trade once in a great while. To have free run through massive swaths of the back catalogue and fairly new stuff for a not-too-bad fee? Hells yeah!

CrossGen did it, and it was good stuff. They put up their entire line of comics on a subscription site, with a lag of a few months behind the comic shops. Even though I wasn’t enamored of their comics, I gladly coughed up for the site, and it did lead to me buying a couple of trades of the books I did like.

So I’m the ideal target for this site: predisposed towards online comic reading, unconcerned about downloadability, a lapsed Marvel fan, and the sort who will buy a trade paperback of a run I enjoyed reading online. I’m very tempted to subscribe, just for the hell of it.

But, as you said, their selection for the library is nuts. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but the “buy the trade” impulse for me only comes up when I’ve read the *whole dang story* and know I want it in permanent form. One issue of “The Immortal Iron Fist” is not going to get me to buy a trade of it. As currently structured, there’s little chance that I’d buy anything due to the Marvel online project.

Whoopsy.

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