Saturday, November 22, 2008

MONSTERS, MYTHS and MARVELS ... a Mystery Maybe Made Manifest?

OK. Annnnd, we're back.
(Hopefully, I've exorcised the ghosts from my last attempt at this post.)

This entry is about a bit of a mystery and I'd appreciate any information that you kind readers might be able to share.

Marvel (as you may know) have been offering many of their old comics in an online format (not cbr or cbz or even pdf - as some out there might be familiar with), but via an online "reader" that can only "see" the comics and not download them to your computer.
At a price of either a year's subscription ($4.99 a month but billed in a one-lump sum of $59.88) or as a by-the-month deal ($9.99 per month), you can read whatever comics they have on their server - and that number is getting to be fairly sizable.

The major downsides to all this are:

1) the interface has problems (as the wailing and gnashing of teeth online offers testament)

2) the scan quality (which is poorer than the illegal downloads that some "comic-archivers" are used to).

and lastly (and the most egregious sin)
3) you can only "save" (in a digital collection) your comics on their server. And only as long as you pay for your "subscription".
The moment you stop paying, all those comics are completely cut off to you.
You keep nothing. You were only paying to "peek" into their server.

This service they have labeled the Marvel "Digital Comics Unlimited"
(the Marvel D.C.U. ...yeah, I know. *ouch*)

We on the same page here?


Now, in a bid to increase their subscriber base (and beef up the offerings online) Marvel has started to produce "online exclusive" content.
The first of these is a title called:

It's supposed to be the Marvel comic's equivalent of those cable tv shows that debunk mysteries and such.

Their first urban legend being Galactus.

Preview teaser artwork has appeared online and in two such pages (for issues # 1 and # 3 of the online edition) there have been panels featuring MAN-THING and DOCTOR STRANGE.

Here ya go.

What is shown here seems to be an intro page and a cross-section of Marvel characters being interviewed by a bothersome reporter.

However, the FEBRUARY shipping comics (solicited now) include this item (as I had listed in my last "preview" post - here):

Written by FRANK TIERI
Pencils & Cover by JUAN SANTACRUZ
Welcome to MARVELS CHANNEL, where you can get all the 411 on the 616. In this episode of MONSTERS, MYTHS and MARVELS, we explore one of the greatest threats mankind has ever faced: GALACTUS. But is he really the planet-eating celestial being we’ve come to fear with every fiber of our being? Or is he the construct of a super hero team desperate for headlines? Join host Gordon Allsworth as he exposes the truth behind Galactus, and the greatest hoax ever pulled on humankind.
48 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

This is the same creative team and premise as the "online exclusive", but just with a slightly altered title.

Has anyone here subscribed to the Marvel "digital comics unlimited"?
Can you offer any insight to this?

It WOULD make sense for them to try to cast the net around as big a pond as possible, so printing these "online exclusives" can reach a broader audience and pull in some extra revenue.

So, then these are "exclusive" to the online servers only for a short while, and then they're released to the masses?

I can live with that.
Just as long as no content is lost.

It would suck if the online versions had extra content or were animated (a factor that has never been mentioned in any article online).

Now, I'm pretty sure that I'd be ALL FOR a digital comics future.
Save the trees and stop having to build forts out of my longboxes.
As shown by those old "Marvel Library" collections, the amount of comics that could be kept on a single DVD is truly fabulous. Sometimes, whole 40 or 50 year runs!
However, sadly, until the Marvel "D.C.U." is something that I can pay for to KEEP (download and backup to a disc) then I won't be subscribing.

However, as a die-hard lover, reader and collector of MAN-THING & DOCTOR STRANGE, I NEED to see this. I just don't see myself subscribing to do so. Not now anyway.
I don't mind waiting the extra few months for the content to be made available to the non-digital world. I can be patient - sometimes.
However, I need to know... are these being released in their totality or is it some sort of teaser program to get subscribers back to their online comics service?

ANY info that I can get on these installments of their "exclusives" like
would be GREATLY appreciated.



~P~ said...

I have an * UPDATE * but instead of posting it with the main entry, I'll toss it down here in the comments section (an "Easter egg", if you will).

My question was answered by a friend (I'll let them be anonymous) who has a subscription, and via very detailed page-by-page description of the contents has assured me of two things:

1) the Doc & Manny appearances are hardly even termed as "cameo" appearances - at best.
Nothing to seek out ardently.

2) that the online comics are INDEED what is being compiled together into one issue and sold in print (which is what the solicitation that I posted is all about).

So, MYSTERY solved!


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