Before anime torrents, World of Warcraft and even before the internet itself, fantasy seeking geeks were fortunate enough to pour over the genius and inspiration of writers and artists like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. With the exception of Ben Affleck's lackluster display in Daredevil, almost every classic Marvel title has produced an equally epic blockbuster movie hit. The Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Wolverine and The Punisher are as thrilling to audiences now as they were in their comic book form. And this past weekend, Marvel announced plans to offer its products via a number of iPhone applications.
The Comixology, Panelfly and iVerse apps are all boasting the release of Marvel titles to US iPhone users. Select issues from Iron Man, X-Men and the Amazing Spider-Man series' are available for between 99 cents and $1.99 per issue.
Take Comics is attempting a slightly different approach to delivery. Recently launched to a roomful of entrepreneurs and investors at TechStars' Silicon Valley demo day, Take Comics offers a frictionless comic distribution platform for publishers. Rather than selling titles piecemeal, larger publishers like Marvel and indie publishers like Last Gasp can offer titles across platforms. The company aims to create an iTunes-like experience specific to comics. But there's a catch - after purchasing users can view their favorite titles on the device of their choosing. The service renders comics on a panel-by-panel basis for easy perusal on mobile devices. As for up-selling, users receive publisher alerts on new issues and recommendations to complete their collections.While these services are likely to get their fair share of individual downloads, comic book service
While comic publishers stand to earn more on a short term basis through individual downloads, it will be interesting to see if they opt for long term loyalty via the more user-friendly cross-device route.