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?

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).


The Hulk apparently has a weblog.

There is a comic book store down the street that at one point was a house. The interior had been rennovated to make it into a shopping-style environment, but it still looked like a house from the outside. So a couple years ago they hired a construction firm to come in and take out a portion of the store and remodel the exterior to expand the space and get rid of the house-like image.

So of course with this big pile of rubble surrounding the store they went with the obvious explanation on their sign, “Hulk smash!”

The Stan Lee Solution

This turns out to be many months old, but just randomly surfing today was the first time I’d seen Meryl Yourish’s The Stan Lee Solution:

The problem: The world media is extremely biased against Israel, choosing to yammer about massacres without evidence while subsequently ignoring the evidence that there was no massacre. People like Robert Fisk make up facts on a regular basis, while Oxford poets discuss their desires to see “Brooklyn-born Jews” shot. American newspapers ignore major pro-Israel rallies and put on the front page pro-Palestinian rallies, even if only sparsely attended.

The solution: Hulk smash puny newspaper men! Hulk smash puny editors! Hulk hate Daily Bugle! Daily Bugle mean to Hulk! Hulk SMASH!

And she’s got more problems that all involve similar solutions by the green guy. ROTFLMAO!