Back in early 2020, before anyone knew that the direct market portion of the comics industry would essentially stop for a few months as a result of a Diamond Comics shutdown, Marvel announced How to Read Comics the Marvel Way. The series from writer Christopher Hastings, artist Scott Koblish, colorist Nolan Woodard, letterer Travis Lanham, and cover artist David Nakayama takes a humorous look at the mechanics of comic book storytelling by following Spider-Man on a comic-fueled adventure against Mysterio. After the return from the aforementioned shutdown, How to Read Comics the Marvel Way disappeared from Marvel’s shipping schedule, and has been MIA ever since, but this week Marvel quietly added the series to the Marvel Unlimited app, and today all four issues are available to purchase digitally via Comixology.
The digital arrival of How to Read Comics is notable for a number of reasons. The long delay between the book’s original release date and it’s digital release is the longest thus far of any of the shutdown-delayed Marvel titles. A number of other series that were impacted by the shutdown, including Valkyrie: Jane Foster and Ghost-Spider, made there way out as digital-only titles before arriving in print in collections, but that was also eighteen months ago. An Amazon listing for a print collection of the series has the book making its physical debut in September of 2022.
But most interesting is Marvel deciding to again digitally release a series that was cancelled physically, particularly given the recent discussion around the publisher’s abrupt cancellation of the three-issue Luke Cage: City of Fire series, which was set to debut next month. Fans and industry pundits have speculated that the cancellation may have been more due to Marvel getting cold feet over the series’ content than to low preorders from retailers. If the publisher was willing to release How to Read Comics the Marvel Way digitally after a year+ delay, surely there’s hope for City of Fire getting a similar release (and all three issues of City of Fire still have digital release dates in January and February according to Comixology, so hopefully that is the case).
All four issues of How to Read Comics the Marvel Way are available to read now via Marvel Unlimited, and to purchase via Comixology.