|Image credit : Scott Beale / Laughing Squid|
Marvel Entertainment, home to the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers has made 700 first issues available to digital readers for free, through the Marvel app and the company’s website in a project called ‘Marvel #1’.
The titles range from the 1960s Silver Age to contemporary issues with characters including Wasp, Mr. Fantastic, Power Man and Iron Fist.
David Gabriel, senior vice-president of sales, said: “This is aimed at attracting fans from all walks of life — those who know our characters from the big screen, those who were readers but fell out of the habit and our long-term fans too. We believe that if we get those fans in the door, they’ll stay and help grow this industry, with purchases both in comic stores and via digital comic outlets.”
Until late Tuesday night, you can download 700 different #1 comics for free as digital issues in the Marvel Comics app. UPDATE: The launch has been delayed. The massive consumer demand for the free comics has melted down the servers operated by digital comics distributer ComiXology, and the company is working to try to restore service. “We don’t like letting you down,” ComiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger said in a blog post Monday. “We’re pausing the Marvel Comics #1 promotion for the time being. For those of you that want to take advantage of the offer – you will get your comics!” Steinberger urges those who still want to take part to enter an e-mail address into a web form so the company can send an update when the promotion is available again.
Also, Marvel will be releasing weekly content in the Infinite Comics format specifically designed for mobile devices. Finally, the publisher will add adaptive audio soundtracks to its digital comics through an initiative called Project Gamma.
The window for free #1 comics began on Sunday, and was supposed to last through 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 12, until the server crash occurred. The 700 comics range from classics to recent issues, and while Marvel SVP of Sales David Gabriel told Wired that readers will still have access to any comics they download when the promotion ends, “after Marvel #1 ends the comics will return to their regular price, so we encourage fans to download as many as they can.”