Marvel Comics is preparing to offer digital versions of numerous back catalogue items, USA Today reports. Launching November 13, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited sees products such as the first 100 issues of "The Amazing Spider-Man" sold online in purely digital form.
The move comes after years of discussion amongst fans and professionals about an intuitive and legal alternative to downloading pirated comics. Marvel's plan would seem to address such concerns, but with what's sure to be a contentious caveat: for $9.99 a month or $59.88 a year, Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited products will be viewable only in a Web browser and not downloadable.
Readers will be able to read Marvel's digital comics page-to-page or navigate frame-by-frame with the "Smart Panel" viewing option, and subscribers also have the ability to zoom-in on artwork.
Marvel launches Digital Comics Unlimited with a free sampler of 250 titles. Going forward, additional content will not include new comics until six months after their print publication, as, said Peter David, "If [Marvel] put their monthly comics online at the same time, they'd be cutting their own throats and undercutting the retailers."
Stay with CBR News in the coming days for more on this story.
UPDATE 11/13 4:00 PM - Our partners at MySpace Comic Books have posted an interview with Marvel's Joe Quesada and John Dokes about this new initiative.