Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Digital Comics Update--Marvel brings Back DVDs

Well, Sunday I did an extensive comparison of the GIT Corp DVD-ROM collections of Marvel comics, and Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited online service.

So of course, two days later Marvel decides to change the equation.

As the GIT DVD's are discontinued and disappearing from shelves, Marvel has decided to publish its own DVDs. From September's solicits:

You saw the movie--buy the DVD!IRON MAN: DVD DIGITAL COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES 1 Written by STAN LEE, LARRY LIEBER, ROY THOMAS, ROBERT BERNSTEIN, DON RICO & AL HARTLEY Penciled by DON HECK, GENE COLAN, JACK KIRBY & STEVE DITKO Slipcase Art by ADI GRANOV DVD Case Art by JACK KIRBY CONTAINS THE FIRST FIFTY ISSUES OF IRON MAN COMICS! As the Marvel Age of Comics exploded on the pop-culture scene, super hero after super hero that redefined the genre leaped forth from the imagination of the Marvel Bullpen. Adventurers and innovators, scientists and high-school bookworms, they were amazing men and women with all the failings and foibles of you and me. And there are none that touch both that adventurer ideal and human reality as Tony Stark, the Invincible Iron Man. A jet-setter, playboy and brilliant scientist, Tony is cut down to Earth when a battlefield explosion rips into his heart. Only by creating the amazing Iron Man armor can he stay alive! Packed with the debonair and debutantes, Cold War monsters and sultry super-spies, this DVD-ROM collection presents the stories of one of comics’ most intriguing characters from the very beginning! Featuring the first appearances of such classic Marvel characters as the Mandarin, the Black Widow, Hawkeye, the Crimson Dynamo and the Titanium Man in lushly-illustrated stories by “Dazzling” Don Heck, Gene “The Dean” Colan and scripted by no less than Stan “The Man” Lee himself, this is go-to volume for the Iron Man fan. Including the exclusive Marvel Digital Comics Reader versions of TALES OF SUSPENSE #39-88 and TALES TO ASTONISH #82, plus bonuses galore! ALL AGES...$29.99

Answer: Monster
HULK: DVD DIGITAL COMIC BOOK ARCHIVES 1 Written by STAN LEE & GARY FRIEDRICH Penciled by JACK KIRBY, STEVE DITKO, MARIE SEVERIN, GIL KANE, BILL EVERETT, JOHN BUSCEMA, JOHN ROMITA, DICK AYERS, MIKE ESPOSITO & BOB POWELL Slipcase Art by ALEX ROSS DVD Case Art by JACK KIBRY CONTAINS THE FIRST FIFTY ISSUES OF HULK COMICS! Dr. Robert Bruce Banner may have the appearance of a mild-mannered scientist, but after being caught in gamma bomb explosion, he became the unstoppable engine of destruction know as the Incredible Hulk! Marvel is proud to present the tales of the everyone’s favorite man-monster from the very beginning: From the earliest Stan Lee and Jack Kirby issues that put an irradiated angle on the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde complex to the Steve Ditko’s psychological slobbernockers in TALES TO ASTONISH and the Jade Giant’s return to his solo series, this DVD-ROM collection is the foundation for every purple-pants’d adventure ever! Featuring artwork by a who’s who of Marvel Age luminaries and scripts by Stan “The Man” Lee, they’ll introduce to you to General Thunderbolt Ross; the tortured woman who loves both the man and the monster, Betty Ross; the Leader; the Abomination; and a series of earth-shaking fights between the Hulk and the Silver Surfer, Thor, Giant-Man, Namor, Hercules and more! Including the exclusive Marvel Digital Comics Reader versions of INCREDIBLE HULK #1-6, TALES TO ASTONISH #59-101 and INCREDIBLE HULK #102 — plus bonuses galore! ALL AGES...$29.99

Well, well, well.

These aren't out yet, I haven't seen the contents, but a couple of points:
  • These issues all ALL already available online at MDCU. $60 for a one year, all-you-can-eat subscription, the same as you'd pay for both DVD's.
  • Since Marvel already has these cleaned up and digitized, I presume that you'll be getting the same versions as are on MDCU, which means cleaner and brighter that the GIT DVDs, but without ads, letter columns, etc. Although the solicit promises "bonuses galore..."? And it will use the same interface as MDCU online, as opposed to the Adobe Reader version GIT used.
  • Holy shit, Marvel, you greedy bastards! What's with that price point? $30 for 50 issues? Hell, you can get 500+ issues on the GIT discs for only $50 list (although given that they're out of print, prices have started going up--Iron Man is $90, if you can find it...but still, it's a FAR better per issue deal than the new Marvel DVD's). Given that Marvel already did all the work to clean these up and digitize them for MDCU, there's really no justification for limiting each disc to an arbitrary 50 issues and charging an outrageous amount for them. Assuming Marvel sticks to 50 issues per disc, you'll end up paying over $300 for the same issues GIT gave you on one disc for 1/6 of the price. Granted, it's cleaner and brighter...but is it worth 6 times the price?!?
Again, you've got a choice of formats...but Marvel's new DVD's seem to give you so much less for so much more money, I've got to ask if it's at all a good deal, especially as compared to the MDCU versions, or even the still-available-for-now GIT DVDs.

And yet again, the question remains: WHERE THE HELL IS DC???? I recently saw an interview with Paul Levitz admitting that DC was far behind marvel on the digital issues, and that they would have something coming soon. Well????


Siskoid said...

But is says 12¢ right there on the DVD cover!

De said...

Thanks for the update, Snell. Unfortunately, I'll be biting when the Marvel DVD program meanders over to titles I don't have like Daredevil, Thor, etc.

I'm almost finished picking up the GIT discs. Just need the Avengers, Ghost Rider, and X-Men. I'd like the House of M and Civil War discs but I won't go too nuts if they slip away.

Mike said...

I signed up for Marvel's online comics after a lot of waffling. For DC I would sign up in a heartbeat.

smacky said...

Is there some big watermark on the Marvel DVD issues, as on GIT? Can the ones on the DVD be printed (sometimes a cover is just so cool you want it on paper)?

The answers to these questions will determine my decision, because you're right, $30 for 50 issues SUCKS.

snell said...

siskoid--yes, I'm sure the clerk at my local comics emporium will fall for that.

smacky--unknown. I'm just spitballin' here, as obviously I haven't seen what's on the discs. I assume that, because it's going to use the "exclusive Marvel Digital Comics Reader," it's going to function pretty much like the online version, which doesn't allow you to print directly (although you can screen-cap your way around that, if you so choose). Than again, they promise "bonuses galore," so who knows what he hell that means?

For what it's worth, I never found the watermark in the GITs to be too terribly distracting...but then again I never printed out very much (ink is expensive!!)

Anonymous said...

This is so... not... cool.

I live near Baltimore and am going to give Joe Quesada hell about this at Baltimore Comic Con in September.

snell said...

Anonymous--just remember that it might not be Quesada's call...I wouldn't be surprised to find that it goes higher up the corporate chain.