ComiXology’s reeling servers have forced the end of the Marvel 1st promotions announced at SXSW, where Marvel was making 700 of its first and landmark issues available for free from comiXology.

ComiXology’s head, David Steinberger, offered this statement on the comiXology blog:

To our customers:

It’s been a whirlwind weekend, and we’re fresh from SXSW where Marvel Comics launched their Marvel #1 promotion featuring over 700 free comics distributed via our platform.

We expected a high degree of excitement for the Marvel initiative – and had believed ourselves prepared – but unfortunately we became overwhelmed by the immense response. We’re still struggling to keep our systems up.

The result is that you aren’t getting your comics when and where you want.

We don’t like letting you down. Our teams are working around the clock to resolve these issues so that you can have the experience you’ve come to expect.

To that end, we’re pausing the Marvel Comics #1 promotion for the time being. For those of you that want to take advantage of the offer – you will get your comics! Until we are able to reinstate this program in our systems, please click here and fill out this simple form, so you can be informed as soon as there is an update.

We’ll be communicating with you as often as we can and deeply appreciate the outpouring of support we’ve seen from our customers while we right the ship.

David Steinberger 
CEO and co-founder 

The move seemed inevitable, given the crush. The support Twitter feed is trying its best to keep up, but a lot of people want Marvel comics, it seems. Marvel’s Agent M was playing Kid to comiXology’s Captain Mifune in the attempts to defend Zion Gate comiXology’s servers.

Meanwhile, Agent M, aka Ryan Penagos offered this:

Which sounded cool except based on what’s happening, even a longer period of availability might not result in greater access.

Our own efforts to pick up some free reading were stymied by…forgetting our comiXology password. No chance for resetting it under this strain.

While the promotion was definitely a success in terms of visibility for Marvel, it also stymied every other publisher who relies on comiXology–no one else’s digital books are going out either. And even retailers’ digital storefronts have been shut down.


  1. Just checked my iPhone. The prices ae back to normal. But my 725 purchases are still hung in the que. I own ’em, but it might take a while to download and enjoy them. S’ok with me. This was a great way to download massive content on old stories I wanted to read–but didn’t know if I actually wanted to purchase. At the comic shop I can look through books and decide if I want to invest on the product. This was a great idea. Hopefully, they will borrow some server muscle from amazon or something next go around! Cheers!! I hope the site rights itself quickly so I can check some new stuff out tomorrow!!

  2. If I were Marvel or Comixology, I’d be delighted the site and the apps got overwhelmed with traffic. Whatever inconvenience Comixology or its customers experienced is nothing compared to the excitement of driving the digital demand.

  3. Don’t kid yourself, people. When stuff is FREE people come out of the woodwork to get a piece, even if they had no interest in the product beforehand…

  4. Yes “SniktSnakt” we know how it works. However, having worked promotions in a number of different capacities, I can tell you that there are just some things you can’t even give away, to most people. Some things, you put it in their hands and say, “Here, it’s free!” and they hand it right back. Mild interest has to be indicated to spend the time to go get the download. Even a small percent of that, sticking around to become new readers, is a good thing. Sure, there will be a drop off from that percent, over time, but you also have to factor in that word-of-mouth is coming from from new (converted) sources. Also factor in the publicity from Comixology crashing, which would be breaking news at South X South West (I would have had a backup plan to stage that, even if it didn’t happen) and you’ve got yourself a publicity winner. Don’t kid yourself. Marvel/Disney know exactly what they’re doing.

  5. @jacob lyon goddard

    that would be an old way to make business.
    Having your in house solution means you force users that buy other publisher’s comics too to use more than one platform to buy and read them, giving hassles to your clients is never a good idea :)

  6. I got in through the razor wire and captured about 5 comics. It’s all good.
    Marvel FreeDom will come back once they repair the tarmac. They will give us all more free comic cloud access. And remember, it’s only issue 1 for free, people. Gotta pay money to get other cloud comic access.

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