We all know that trading and selling the downloadable comic codes that come with Marvel comics is common among fans and—like giving friends your HBO Go code—not exactly frowned on by the publisher. So here comes comiccodes.com, which launched May 31, 2013. The site offers a database where users can upload their download codes, and others can use them. The codes are one time use and you must upload a code to download a code.
How does the site work? It costs $5 a month to join.
The subscription-based service is, “A code for a code,” according to founder Andy Kirby, “A user can’t claim a code without first submitting one. It’s a one-for-one system. No freeloaders. No code hoarding.”
You can read more in the PR below. Is this legal? Is it a rip-off? Or a reasonable service?
“I love comics,” says Kirby, “but one of the hardest things to do today is explore new titles. I read dozens of comics a month, and I still miss out on some titles. I created Comic Codes because it is something that I want to use. I want to explore new parts of the Marvel Universe and open up other parts to my fellow fans. That’s what Comic Codes is; a site for fans of comics.”
Kirby’s hope is that his site will expand the exposure of lesser known Marvel titles and, in turn, drive up sales of those and other titles. A frequenter of his local comic book store, Kirby says he hopes that his site will aid his and other stores by getting fans excited about new titles.
The system is basically an archive of Marvel digital codes. A subscriber can access this database by submitting a code from a Marvel comic they have already purchased. Kirby addresses the difference between his system and simply swapping codes on the internet:
The problem with just swapping digital codes on the internet is that you don’t know who should send the code first. If you send first, you have no guarantee that the other party will give you his or hers. They may just use yours without giving one back. Comic Codes alleviates this concern by keeping all the codes behind a password on the front end. You can submit as many as you want and with each submission you receive a credit to claim a different code in the library. Use all your credits at once or wait for that one book that you want to show up in the library.
Comic Codes also allows users to report bad codes, which affects the “reputation” of the user who submitted the code. Reputation can be seen by users next to the codes that are available to claim. Users can choose codes submitted based on the submitting party’s reputation.
Comic Codes is a fee-based subscription. For $5.00 a month, users have full access to the database. This is billed monthly and there is no long-term contract. The cost of the subscription covers database upkeep and administration costs.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.