RB: Knee-jerk reactions to the news: I’m stoked. I’m already a Marvel Unlimited member (and daily reader), but Scribd seems like a cheaper (by $1/month), more casual way to get access to more than just Marvel can offer. A veritable smorgasbord of comic options.
CO: That $1 is crucial! No, it certainly seems like a good deal, I mean personally, I don’t care too much because I can’t stand reading books or comics on a screen. But it seems like a potentially cool way to give people already using Scribd an easy way to jump into comics, in case that first trip to the comic store is intimidating. I did some quick googling, and it looks like this is the comprehensive list of publishers Scribd have a deal with, for now.
- Archie Comics
- Boom Studios!
- Dynamite Entertainment
- IDW Publishing
- Kingstone Media
- Space Goat Productions Inc.
- Top Cow Productions Inc.
- Valiant Comics
- Zenescope Entertainment
I’m sure this number will grow at some point, but kinda interesting how DC isn’t on this list. Seems really weird.
RB: What I’m interested in discovering is how comprehensive the backstocks of these comic brands will be on the service. Marvel Unlimited is EVERYTHING. You can read Captain America from the Hitler-punching debut issue all the way to this month’s brand new issue. I suspect Scribd will be an editor selection of each of these publishers, which explains the lower price. The lack of DC is interesting! Not only that but no Dark Horse and no Mirage either (but pics of TMNT are all over the Scribd site). Only so many companies seem to want to play in the sandbox; the rest are probably wanting to keep it all under their own roof. Not gonna say I’m surprised (especially on the DC front). It makes me wonder the possibility of this blowing up and more publishers wanting to jump on board or if we’re gonna see new apps cropping up to compete on this more inclusive, kind of omnibus scale.
CO: No Image comics either (which in my opinion is some of the best stuff out there). Why are you not surprised about the lack of DC though? I can kinda understand smaller publishers like Image not being a part of this, because they might actually lose money based on how cheap the service is. I bet for a big company like Marvel the investment to get more exposure in the long run is worth it. But I could be totally misunderstanding it too.
RB: DC just doesn’t seem quite as ahead of the curve or in tune with their audience to me (mostly speaking from experience as a moviegoer) as, say, Marvel does. Marvel’s always been the more progressive big comic company between the two and it comes from little deals like this that end up paying off huge for them. It is intriguing to me to see Scribd being what makes the big news now, when a lot of these companies already have their own apps on the marketplace. Perhaps Scribd will bring some kind of new micro-transaction dynamic to the reading experience that sets it apart? Other than that it seems tertiary and wouldn’t add much value for the anti-brick-and-mortar comic reader if not for the cheaper price tag.
CO: The DC hate is strong with you Robert, I’m a Marvel fanboy anyway, but I still find it strange that all the articles I’ve read about this deal didn’t even mention DC’s absence. The question is whether or not they’ll jump on it at some point or not.
That’s a great point that most of these companies already have their own apps, I remember it was supposed to be a big deal years ago when Marvel started offering their comics online...and then I kinda didn’t hear about it again. I think the difference with the Scribd deal is it’s a service that, until now, caters to non-comic readers. So this deal could bring in new comic book readers.
RB: Everyone is still blinded by the amount of publishers in the initial offering, which is quite strong for a great price you’ve gotta admit! And yeah this is a pretty cool market-bridging opportunity, reaching out to just ‘readers’ rather than specifying to ‘comic readers’, which is smart; they’ve got the potential to blow open the amount of people who start regularly reading comics - comics have slowly been bridging the gap from just pulpy kids’ stuff towards more serious writing and storytelling over the past 30 years, but somehow still carries the weight and reputation of seeming like childish picture books (obviously with many many exceptions). I wanna see those 40-50 year-old moms chatting it up about the Winter Soldier, Modok, or the Power Pack over morning coffee on their way to work or at the bi-weekly book club!
CO: Hearing soccer moms debate which Ed Brubaker Captain America arc is the best would be truly something. I think we’re a long way from that though, but we can dream. Comics have come a ways in the public consciousness, to the point where I think most people in our demographic, comic readers or not, don’t view comics as only child fare anymore. Cultural opinion for our generation is pretty accepting of comics (in my experience). Which is why this app could work so well, there’s probably a lot of young readers who don’t need too much convincing to get into comics, just easy access.
Well that about wraps up our discussion on the new Scribd deal, I think everyone in the comic industry will be keeping a close eye on how it plays out.