Marvel today launched a "Digital Comics" initiative which will offer certain vintage content online for $9.99 a month or $4.99 a month if you stump up for an annual subscription.
Among the stuff on offer is the "first original run of X-Men", and issues one to 100 of both Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, as well as "so much more!"
What you don't get is the latest issues, which won't be made available for six months after their release date - and you can't download material, so it's browser-only perusal of Marvel material.
Tentative it may be, but Reuters describes the Marvel net launch as "the industry's most aggressive web push yet".
It's a natural reaction to kids' changing habits and a market shift away from traditional paper. Marvel prez Dan Buckley, evidently having just come from a meeting with the comapny's Strategy Boutique, said: "You don't have that spinner rack of comic books sitting in the local five-and-dime anymore. We don't have our product intersecting kids in their lifestyle space as much as we used to."
Other comic outfits currently attempting to intersect with kids in their lifestyle space are Dark Horse Comics, which is punting itself down at MySpace, and DC Comics allegedly has issues available on the world's premier hilarious amateur vid site. ®