Marvel is revising its free digital comics program.  Since 2012, every regular Marvel superhero comic came with a code for a free digital copy of that same issue.  But now, the publisher is changing this up and offering something new.  Each comic will now include codes for at least two back issues!

These codes will be released on a weekly basis, meaning that all of Marvel’s “mainline superhero” books released in a particular week will feature the same codes, but even so, in the average month that equals eight back issues… for FREE!  This will allow fans to catch events they might have missed or check out titles they might never have paid their hard-earned cash for, but might have been curious about.

Marvel Publishing’s senior vp sales, David Gabriel explained:

“Marvel is continuing our commitment by offering our fans the best value in comics along with honoring our cornerstone of the comic book industry — the retailers.  Our intent in evolving our digital code program is to offer our fans more value per dollar spent. Replacing the free digital copy, our bonus digital comics will offer fans free entry points for current on sale collected editions and, in turn, invite additional and repeat traffic into our trusted retailers.”

Marvel Publishing sales director Jim Nausedas added:

“[The new program will] offer fans additional pathways into the Marvel Universe, promote Marvel’s monthly trades and create repeat retailer customers and Marvel readers for life.”

It appears that Marvel will stick with its average $3.99 price point, which, as stated, used to include a free digital copy of the same issue.  Personally, I never understood the point.  Why do I need two copies of the same comic?  Even if one is digital?

On the other hand, the opportunity to sample two (or more) new comics each week seems much more enticing.  As Gabriel stated, the samplers will be for current collected editions, i.e. trade paperbacks or graphic novels.  The idea isn’t simply to give away free comics, but to hopefully get readers to try out chapters of these trades in hopes that they will be intrigued enough to buy them to read in their entirety.

The first freebie will be ‘Civil War II’ #0, in February, meant to promote the release of the collected edition of Marvel’s most recent event miniseries.

What do you think?  Did you like getting a free digital version of the same paper comic you bought?  Do you think these new free back issues are a treat or just a ploy to drive sales?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter