Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited - Where's WoodGod?

Well, Monday/Tuesday, Marvel announced their Digital Comics Unlimited - their first REAL venture into the world of Digital Comics (I don't really count the previous versions as anything but mere Flash advertising campaigns.)

Since this announcement, my fastmail inbox has been swamped with e-mails from various friends asking me for my opinion on Marvel's site.

I wanted to get an article out as quickly as possible, but as it turned out, the launch date of the site corresponded with my wife's Fencing Practice night, so I was in charge of watching our 2 year old daughter all night. (Which was actually a lot of fun, because we went and saw the Bee Movie, which we both enjoyed.)

ASIDE: The Bee Movie is quite awesome. Do yourself a big favor and go see it. :)

The launch of the site was preceded by a rather awkward bit of internet journalism as Newsarama broke the news from a Canadian news agency, only to have to retract it and post an update.

Regardless, the post on the news from Newsarama quickly blew up into a huge thread with most posters all wondering why Marvel wasn't going to let you download the comics. Site unseen, the Flash interface for reading these new comics was getting condemned, and to be honest, I must admit, I was one of the guys throwing stones at the press release.

Anyway, I hope I was able to tide all the loyal readers of this blog with links to the opinions from Phil Looney and Jason Wright.

As the week progresses, if other Flashback creators comment (see image <-- ) on the site, I'll be sure to post either their comments or links to their blogs here. :)

So, with all that aside, let us dissect this puppy...

Things that made WoodGod Happy...

Yeah, I'm gonna start with the good things about this new site, because I actually think there are quite a number of them. However there is also some *room for improvement* and *areas of opportunity* for the whole site, so bear with me.

1) The price seems fair - for $60 I can have access to a wide array of Marvel comics on my computer without taking up any hard disk space. That's really nice.

2) They seem to have a nice assortment of titles on the site. I saw comics ranging from the 60's to the Modern Day. Strangely, I even saw a few that seem to violate the 6 Month Publication date rule (Omega, The Unknown)

3) The scans are really top notch! I viewed a Bronze Age Captain America comic and was amazed at the clarity of both the colors and lettering. NOTE: I did have to fiddle with my browser size to get the page to appear sharp, but I suspect on a 17 inch monitor, no such tweaking would be necessary.

Things that made WoodGod go WTF..

Got this message while exploring the site and it pretty much killed the whole experience for me, as I was unable to access the site from then on. it just me, or do you only ever see this message when sites are using MySql? Seriously - can anyone send me a similar message from a Microsoft SQL Server?

I'm sure in the right environment, MySQL has it's uses...'s just not for me.

Still, I think it really says something about the validity of such an idea (Digital Comics) that for the first two days the site has been running, the server's been too busy to accomodate all the requests to the site.

On the flipside, people don't like paying a monthly fee for a site they can't access!

Not to mention the CRUCIAL loss of good first impressions Marvel needed to make with this launch.

Things that made WoodGod Mad...

1) No downloadable comics - Wow, did you see that one coming? Seriously, has anyone at Marvel Corporate looked at the history of such sites as People, especially us greedy Americans, really like to KEEP what we buy, and not being able to download and store your comics from the Marvel site seems like a huge oversite.

2) That interface is still pretty awkward. I've noticed quite a number of people saying the found the interface difficult to understand or clumsy. You don't hear prople say that about CDisplay.

3) This is NOT the iTunes of Comics we were hoping for. With all the media hype that this site is getting, I'm afraid the idea of Marvel delivering their comics in a nice downloadable cbr format are pretty much gone. I also suspect that DC will probably do something similar, so we end up having to read the complete I, Vampire or Black Orchid in some ghastly Zuda interface.

4) No Woodgod. - Nuff Said.


As long as the keep posting things like this:

...I'll probably keep checking out the site, but I'll be wishing I could download the comics everytime. :D


JayDubya said...

Can't DL comics = must have net access when I feel like reading -> not ideal. CAN DL comics = $4.99 and I can have Marvel's entire collection of comics -> why am I still subscribing? ...also, if you scroll down with a mouse wheel, you usually get the bottom of the pages chopped off (at least I did).

I think the best thing to come of this is the show of interest. Having so many ppl show up for your grand opening says one thing: we want what you're offering and that to us (read: ppl who like comics on their comps) is great because iComics can't be that far down the line.

I, for one, am very optimistic about this whole thing (though I probably won't be subscribing to it) and what it's sure to bring in the future.

P.S. About my post from the other day, if I had questions about writing for the Flashback U., is there an e-mail I should be sending to rather than through the comments section?

Jim Shelley said...


yeah, use my e-mail address to pitch me ideas.

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