What’s Next for Marvel Comics on DVD

Despite Wired’s insistence that digital distribution of comic books is non-existent, the other day I picked up the 40 Years of Avengers DVD-Rom.

On the one hand, the problem with distributing these on DVD-ROM is they use dual layer DVDs and only 2 of the 5 DVD drives I have would properly read the DVD. On the other hand, that’s balanced by the fact that there’s almost no DRM so once you find a DVD drive that works, you can copy these to an HD and archive the DVD.

Notice I said “almost no DRM.” The comics are in PDF format, so the August 1972 issue of Avenger is in a single PDF file. The only DRM restriction is that there is a watermark that appears when you print the file, and you have to have at least Adobe Acrobat 6.0 or you’ll see the watermark on the screen. You can get around that restriction by using any old screen capture program, so I’ve never understood what the point of this half-assed DRM is.

And, of course, the price is right. The DVD includes full scans of 535 Avengers comics and I paid just over $50 for it — or less than a dime per comic. Compared to alleged “bargains” like overpriced, heavily DRMed iTunes downloads, Marvel’s practically giving these away.

Apparently the previous Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and X-Men releases have done enough for Marvel and GTI to plan at least three more comics-on-DVD releases this year. Along with a DVD version of the previously CD-only Spider-Man package, a 2006 release schedule included on the DVD touts,

  • 40 Years of The Incredible Hulk
  • 40 Years of Daredevil
  • 40 Years of Captain America

Fine, but where’s my 40 Years of Iron Man?

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