A stunned world woke up to the news that now you can read Marvel Comics on your iPhone, via the four platforms best known for their comics offerings: Comixology, iVerse, Panelfly and Scrollmotion. A story on Marvel.com talks to EVP, Marvel Digital Media Ira Rubenstien.

Marvel digital comics availability on the iPhone Apps system joins the recently announced venture offering individual classic Marvel comics for download on Sony’s PSP device and, of course, the pioneering Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscription service that launched nearly two years ago and features an ever-expanding selection of over 7,000 comics!

“As technology grows, the ways fans can consume our comics must expand as well,” Rubenstein said. “We’re very cognizant of that and will continue to explore avenues to offer the widest variety of fun ways for fans to read Marvel comics. Stay tuned for announcements coming soon regarding not only more iPhones apps, but ways to enjoy Marvel digital comics on other devices!”

Although what’s available on Scrollmotion wasn’t readily apparent, Bleeding Cool had a rundown of the comics available:

Comixology: (71 issues, $1.99 each)

Age of Apocalypse #1–6
Astonishing X-Men #1–24 (Full Whedon Cassaday run)
Captain America #1–30 (Brubaker, Epting)
Marvel Zombies #1–5
X-23 #1–6

iVerse: (37 issues, $1.99 each)

Age of Apocalypse #1–6
Amazing Spider-Man #519–524
Astonishing X-Men #1–12
Captain America #1–6 (Brubaker, Epting)
Invincible Iron Man #1–6
X-23 #1–6

Panelfly (84 issues, $0.99 each)

Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #1-25 (Lee, Ditko)
Amazing Spider-Man #519-524
Astonishing X-Men #1-24
Invincible Iron Man #1-16
X-23 #1-6
Age Of Apocalypse #1-6

Obviously there is some overlap, but also exclusives for each.

Most interesting, if the email we’ve gotten since the announcement is any indication, is the pricing: Comixology and iVerse have priced comics at $1.99, a dollar more than their usual offerings. Panelfly is sticking with 99 cents.


  1. The idea is good, but the pricing is all wrong. They’ve already sunk the costs of producing the comics (obviously) and digitizing them, so why not go for a mass market at 25 cents a pop – a price most people would feel comfortable with, given that you don’t have an actual issue in their hands? That’s about what those DVD-ROM collections averaged out to – maybe a bit less. 99 cents is at the top end of reasonable, but $1.99 for a reprint in digital form, at no cost to Marvel, seems like they are placing a higher premium on the novelty of the format than it is worth to customers, especially in these times.

  2. Do we know there’s no cost to Marvel? Someone’s gotta get paid to format the work or broker the deal or whatever. And if they are making profit off of the digital copies, does this mean some of it has to go back to the creators? I know DC has royalty payments to some level – does Marvel? Isn’t this similar to why writers in Hollywood went on strike years ago?

    I don’t have any answers, just asking some questions here in hopes someone in the know answers them.

  3. Mikael raises good questions, however their financial plan doesn’t need to be public, so we may only get a glimpse (if that) of how it runs internally.

    That said… it would seem at least starting out with a loss leader campaign would have more impact. Of course, the version they’re using does give a certain value to digital media, so that’s also good.

    What I like best is that this could mark a high tide to lift a few other boats or at least get them in the water. How well the others float is up to the market. In fact, it will be interesting to see how Panelfly does offering similar content for a buck cheaper. Will that prove to be the edge?

    Though it brings up the question… how does one even count success or failure in this medium? Who is the ICV2.com equivalent that we can turn to?

  4. At this time at least for other content providers Comixology and iVerse for all the digital formatting on their own. I don’t know if Marvel has the same deal, but given the proprietary nature of each companies software, my guess is they also format Marvel’s books. That said I can only really speak from our experiences.

  5. Not sure what happened there, it should have said.

    “At this time, and I can’t speak to otherfor other content providers, Comixology and iVerse perform all the digital formatting on their own.”

    Jimmie brings up an awesome point, it will interesting to see a metric whereby we can gauge relative success. That said for us (Th3rd World Studios) we have already found the start of what we are looking for. Any copy sold on there is found money, because there is little to no additional production cost on our end to supply the files to the content providers. On top of that we have seen a decent number of people who have come to us at conventions and online and said, “hey we saw the free issue you have on the Comixology app and wanted to pick up the book.”

  6. It seems reasonable to assume that there’s at least some cost to Marvel in producing files in the correct format for each service provider. For example, somebody presumably has to add the data about which order the panels go in when you’re zooming around a page.

    The choices of material are curious. AMAZING #519-524 is the arc where Spider-Man moves into the Avengers Tower. It’s several years old and deeply connected to other stories from the period. And AGE OF APOCALYPSE #1-6 isn’t the original crossover, but the 2005 sequel. It’s a largely forgotten series which received generally bad reviews when it came out. Neither is an obvious candidate for this programme – certainly not for the first wave.