Marvel Comic Book Library CD-ROM

Last year on Jim Roepcke’s site, I outlined my desire for some sort of online subscription service by Marvel or DC that would offer access to comic book back issues and/or on DVD. It turns out someone at Marvel had the same idea and the result is the excellent Marvel Comic Book Library Vol. 1 on CD-ROM.

Selling for about $20, Vol. 1 features 100 different Silver Age comic books — the first 10 issues each of Spider-Man, Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Tales of Suspense (Iron Man), Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, and X-Men.

The comics are viewed in Internet Explorer using a plug-in (wouldn’t work for me under Mozilla — one of the few drawbacks). The plug-in itself is surprisingly well done, letting you not only zoom, rotate, etc. but also allowing you to switch between the full-colored page and an alternate view with just the penciled versions.

There doesn’t seem to be any copy protection on the disk — I was able to just tell Alcohol 120% to copy the disk as-is into an ISO file so I can run it on a virtual drive on my laptop pretty much anywhere.

I just can’t say enough about how cool this is. I own a lot of these books in paperback/hardback graphic novel format, but a) this is a much cheaper way to buy these back-issues (especially for some of them, like the Captain America, where I’d like to have them but I’d probably never put down the money for Marvel’s expensive Masterworks full-color reproductions), and b) I don’t have to come up with more bookshelf space for yet another comic book collection.

I haven’t found much information about how well this sold, but hopefully there will be a Vol. 2 and so on (and one big suggestion — the superheroes are cool, but what I’d really love to see is materials like The Tomb of Dracula included as well).

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