The Marvel Comics app for the iPad is out, offering 500 titles at $1.99 a pop. Reading comics is one of the reasons I’d like to get an iPad but speaking abstractly (I have neither the app nor the iPad), $1.99 is too expensive.
Cover price for a comic these days is $2.99, which occasional spikes to $3.99 for super-sized issues. I’d consider paying $1.50-$1.99 for a current-run title — that’d save me $0.50 to $1 a comic, which isn’t bad.
That’s not what Marvel’s selling online. The books they’re selling through the Marvel app appear to be back issues — in some cases, 4-5 year old back issues. I’m interested in buying older digital comics — in fact it could be a great way to read those titles I skipped because they were tangential to my collection — but I’m not going to spend $1.99 for the privilege. The price descripency becomes even more glaring when you realize that the Marvel Comics Unlimited subscription service for digital back issues gives you full access to 5,000 comics for $9.99 a month (or $4.99/month with an annual subscription).
I’d much rather see a Marvel app that ties into that service — and the service itself expanded — then go broke buying a never-ending series of digital comics. That’s what’s got me considering abandoning print comics entirely; I don’t need to recreate that experience online.
Unfortunately, you can’t just use Marvel Comics Unlimited on your iPad, and ignore the whole app question because — wait for it — it uses Flash.