By Bruce Lidl
Following immediately on the conclusion of the second Image Comics Humble Bundle, Archie Comics has joined the Humble Bundle comics movement with its first release. Humble Bundles are curated collections of digital comics available under a “pay what you want” revenue model. Customers can choose their payment amount for the basic pack, or spend extra money for additional content. Customers can also choose what percentage of their payment goes to the publisher, to the Humble Bundle company and to a charity picked for the bundle, in this case either the Hero Initiative or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Also, all Humble Bundle comic collections are sold in variety of formats, with absolutely no DRM restrictions embedded in them.
Past digital comics Humble Bundles have proven very popular and generated considerable revenue for publishers and charities. The first Image Humble Bundle in April 2014 received almost $400,000 in payments, while the just completed Image bundle got over $450,000, and appears to have been the highest grossing comics bundle so far. [EDIT: I’ve been informed that the highest comics Humble Bundle to date was actually the IDW Doctor Who bundle which made $562,539.]
Today’s Archie bundle contains Afterlife With Archie Magazine #1, The Fox: Freak Magnet, Sonic/Mega Man: Worlds Collide Vol. 1, and The Best of Archie Book One. Customers that pay more than the going average price also get The Death of Archie, Archie Meets KISS, The Best of Archie Book Two, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1, and Sonic/Mega Man: Worlds Collide Vol. 2., while those who pay $15 or more will receive all of the above plus Afterlife With Archie Vol. 1: Escape From Riverdale, Archie Comics Spectacular: Party Time, Archie: The Married Life Vol. 1, and Sonic/Mega Man: Worlds Collide Vol. 3. Other incentive titles will likely get added over the course of the bundle’s two week run.
At this point, the sole remaining publisher holdouts from Humble Bundle appear to be Marvel and DC. While initially designed for independent video gaming publishers, even rather large gaming companies have used Humble Bundle since its inception in 2010, including EA and THQ. Interestingly, Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment participated in a gaming Humble Bundle in November 2013 that included comics themed games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, distributed through the Steam gaming platform. Whether that might indicate a broader Warner Brothers/DC openness to the Humble Bundle philosophy remains to be seen.