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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Remember when this place was just flame-throwers and rotating knives? I miss that."
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November 14 2007

Your friendly neighborhood interwebslinger. Marvel Comics goes digital, including Joss' Astonishing X-Men run and BKV's Runaways.

This Comic Book Resources article links to the Marvel website, but unfortunately, the site seems to be running very slowly. And a subscription gives you only online access to the comics, not an actual download. New content won't be uploaded until 6 months after the initial print run.

For those who don't have access to a local comic book store, it'll be a chance to catch up on older comics or try them if you've been reticent about checking out Joss' comic book work.

Most excellent pun, kinpuss.
Hey, Tom of myspace sent out a bulletin about a new thing myspace has called http://news.myspace.com/

So this post is on there

http://news.myspace.com/entertainment/popculture/item/11877666

It is a circle!!!
Great pun, and also, a great idea from Marvel, even though it looks like their servers are having a hard time...
Just out of curiosity, are there royalties in comics ? And will Joss et all get them for this ?

Seems kinds of apropos given the strike situation over new media. Or maybe this is purely "promotional" too ...
I think comic book writers' deals are even suckier than TV/Film writers'. Remember when it was noted that Joss's ideas, and even one whole character, had been taken from Astonishing for the third X-Men movie? They all belonged to Marvel. Joss got no credit.
Yeah but ideas are tricky at the best of times dl - they can't be copyrighted for instance (and the film would presumably be a derivative work which, as I understand it, standard "work-for-hire" contracts don't offer a lot of protection over, in the US at least).

This, however, is the work entire, just with a different delivery mechanism. If the creators do get anything per comic sold (though I have a suspicion they usually don't) then surely the same should apply here ?

(not that i'm necessarily encouraging comics writers to go on strike, i've gotta feed my Jones for Joss somehow ;)
Ideas are tricky, but characters are less tricky. If you create a character for a TV series (that you didn't create), you get paid each time the character is used (eg. James Wong and Glen Morgan got paid each time the Lone Gunmen were used on The X Files, whether or not they wrote the script - and were compensated when the spin-off was made without them.)

As for the Myspace News thing that Anonymous1 linked to - I don't think I've ever seen such blatantly inappropriate use of other people's websites as Myspace News giving its own unique link and sidebar for content that is not its own. There's even a resource for commenting there rather than here. That's kind of appalling.
Wonder if there's some kind of "cross-medium" derivative works get-out clause from e.g. comics to film that doesn't operate from TV to ... more TV ?

More likely I guess that, as others have noted, comics writers just get the shaft (and in fairness, given the crossed-over, multiple-titles, decades-of-back-story universes of comics, it makes sense from Marvel's POV to automagically "own" any characters created in their books - thinking about it in fact, avoiding that trap is what the whole "creator owned" movement has been about since the 80s/90s).
I was going to post this last night but the Marvel server was going belly up every 10 seconds. Anyhow Astonishing X-Men #1 and Runaways #25 can be read for free and there's currently 8 issues of Astonishing X-Men available when you sign up for the monthly thing (though curiously it's not the first 8 issues).
I remember Jane E talking about the character-pay issue in her commentary for "Room w/a View," and how apparently she didn't get paid in future episodes because Dennis never "appeared"--what a gyp. But she got a lot of monetary mileage from seemingly one-off Warren, no?

I don't like the idea of having to read comics online without being able to keep a copy. I understand the motivation behind it I suppose, although I don't think it's exactly going to stop pirates....

And yes this does sound very much like the writer right situation.

(During X-Men 3, I remember exclaiming joyfully to my friend, "That character there! Dr. Rao! That's Joss' creation!" and then she proceeded to have two or so lines, both of which were fairly dumb. Principle aside, I'm not sure it's a bad thing that Joss didn't get credit.)
I heard about this on the news last night!

I...must...join...

Though I wouldn't actually own the comics.
OK, wtf, they are basically putting our site within their frameset. Not good. Not happy with that. Time for some javascript trickery.
For anybody who is a regular comic book reader, the online subscription isn't going to be very appealing. We can hardly wait for new issues of Joss' comic work from month to month, so I can't see anybody waiting 6 months to read a comic book.

But I might give it a try, to see if there are other series that are worth a read. Still, if I love something, I'm going to need to buy the issues or graphic novel anyway.

The comics biz has always been tough on its creators and artists -- they all work as freelancers and get no benefits whatsoever unless they own/run their own companies, a very risky business. Profit margins in the retail comics business are probably going to get squeezed out of business with the rise of digital media. OTOH, if a digital Marvel is reaching more people, that means they can demand higher advertising rates. And comics creators/artists ought to be compensated accordingly. FYI, Joe Quesada says that is the plan, for creators to get royalties for online media, but he doesn't elaborate -- it's in the interview linked at the bottom of the Comics Resources article.

These are...interesting times.

And I live to pun!
It's a pretty terrible idea. I'm not sure why anyone would sign up for it. You're paying to get 6-month-old comics that you don't get to keep, and have to read in a crappy viewer.

I don't know why Marvel and DC can't really figure out how to use the internet. They have the talent and the advertisers already. Why not get their creators to make comics specifically for the web, put them online for free and sell advertising on that space? They could use it to showcase/test out new talent and characters who wouldn't normally sell enough to warrant a print run. Let the print stuff stand on its own and use the web to supplement that--not replace it. There are webcomics already that use that model successfully, and they started from nothing.
Well, DC is doing exactly that with Zuda. As for this:
You're paying to get 6-month-old comics that you don't get to keep, and have to read in a crappy viewer.

The appeal lies mostly in the convenience of getting to read from Marvel's back catalog, not so much the most recently-published stuff. You don't get to keep the comic, but a) having a constant internet connection is becoming more & more common, and b) services like GameTap work along the same lines. I could see this becoming pretty popular, actually.

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