The Editor’s Notes is an opinion column allowing our writers to express their truest feelings about comic books, the comic book industry, and all that it inspires. The views expressed within belong solely to their author.
Back in February, I wrote an article about Marvel “updating” their Buy Print, Get Digital redemption code program. They changed the program into a wasteful marketing strategy where print issue consumers were given the chance to redeem codes for two or three entry point comics. The big problem was this switch meant instead of getting a digital copy of a comic you were actually interested in, you were getting the opportunity across however many Marvel books you read to redeem the exact same two or three comics.
The change forced me to reconsider what Marvel books I pulled each week because I did not want to spend $3.99 or $4.99 on comics that I may not read for months. I was reading a lot of comics on-the-go, and the Buy Print, Get Digital program afforded me the opportunity to pick up books and not worry about when or how I would read them. I could read an issue on my iPad during lunch and continue the next issue in the hard copy at home. I felt like a spoiled prince in a land of leisurely comic reading.
Here we are four months later and I’ve readjusted my comic reading lifestyle. I was in a dark valley climbing a steep incline to get on top of my “need to read” stack. I still had to finish the issues of the comics I already eliminated from my pull so I wouldn’t have to look at their covers anymore, wondering what was happening in those series I was refusing to keep buying because they were’t one of my top 10 favorite/must-read-right-this-second series. Eventually, I quit crying and whining over the whole thing. Let’s say, I found my inner peace with this digital comics dilemma.
Marvel Comics, however, wasn’t finished. Like an ex who calls to check in, make sure you’re okay, and let you know that the whole, big, ugly mistake they made — the one that altered the way we bought comics; the one that made your local comic book shop retailer not want to look you in the eye; the one that made you skip out on decent stories that you just couldn’t find the time for — that mistake was just a momentary lapse in judgement! And as of May 3rd, 2017, the Buy Print, Get Digital program is back. The last four months have been Secret Wars‘d away and everything is back to the status quo (well, not everything, <cough> Captain America <cough>).
Here’s the thing though… comic readers are actually coming out ahead on this whole redemption code retcon because Marvel is also providing a free copy of a comic that serves as a jumping-on-point for another series. What we have now is the perfect combination of the unbroken, much-loved system and the terrible market decision that began 2017. We get our digital copies, Marvel gets to push specific series onto new readers — plus! because of this whole debacle, DC has started offering their own digital redemption options.
We had a bad break-up Marvel, but you reached out. You listened. You changed. And you brought new friends into the relationship. I’m willing to work with you, but we’ve got more things to work on before you earn my trust completely. Still, it’s a good start.