Marvel announces same-day digital delivery; brick-and-mortar stores, fans freak out

After Marvel Comics announced last Wednesday (aka, the day that most comics hit the stores in the U.S.) that it would be offering Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 as a digital download on the same day as its regular print release, the blogosphere went into a tizzy and hasn’t fully recovered yet.

Written by Matt Fraction with art by Carmine Di Giandomenico, the annual will include a story about the Mandarin’s origins, which to date has never really been explored.

Reaction hit the ‘net on Friday, and I think the best place to find a nuanced argument would be courtesy of Dirk Deppey at The Comics Journal‘s Journalista! who today writes:

[You] need to keep in mind that no legacy media, — film, television, music or print — has found a proven and stable way to make the Internet pay for itself in the same way as has their previous business models. While it’s difficult to get firm music-industry statistics without paying for them, Wikipedia notes that record sales shrank by close to 40% in the United States between 2000 and 2007. A 2009 Yankee Group report makes the claim that television advertising revenue is dropping faster than the increase in advertising revenue for online video. This isn’t a swamp into which a content publisher leaps lightly, especially is you’re a division in a larger company, and doubly so if that larger company in turn is owned by Disney.

I personally don’t have a large enough cellphone screen to make reading comics on it a rational decision, but I can totally understand and get behind being able to get the newest release of a favorite book or series fed directly to my computer on a subscription basis. Once I finally decide between an iPhone and a Droid, however, this is definitely something that will become a concern.

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