More on Marvel’s subscription service
In an interview between ICv2 and Marvel president Dan Buckley, the following exchange takes place:
Do you plan to put up all new issues of the titles that are on the "Current Favorites" or "Young Reader Series" lists?
No, we do not plan on putting up the new issues of "Current Favorites" nor do we plan on keeping complete runs of top selling trades like Astonishing X-Men up on the site for prolonged periods of time.
Did you catch that? We don’t plan on keeping complete runs up for prolonged periods of time. In other words, they plan to remove titles after you’ve already paid for your subscription. If those titles are too successful, you should go out and buy the trade in addition to the money you’ve already paid for the subscription. Nice.
And from our earlier article about Marvel’s new online archive, we quoted Marvel president Dan Buckley from USA Today saying "We did not want to get caught flat-footed." What he should have said is that Marvel didn’t want to get caught flat footed with the Internet again.
Marvel has never been the fastest company to adopt to the Internet. They weren’t the original registrants of marvel.com, for starters. That had already been registered by a software company in Washington by 1995, and later had to be acquired by legal manuverings. Nor were they the original registrants of what the obvious fallback name was, marvelcomics.com.
I registered the domain name marvelcomics.com on June 9th, 1995, registration number NIC-950609.1106, as a favor to my friend Steve Saffel, who was working for Marvel at the time (and you should really get Steve’s new book on Spider-Man, by the way). I was a partner in a company providing Internet services to businesses, trying to convince them that there was money for Marvel on this Web thing (Spider-Man? Web? Web-crawler? Web-slinger?) and all the people who were surfing it. (The Silver Surfer? Hello? Are you guys hearing me out there?)
Marvel corporate, at the time, was completely clueless. Didn’t want to know about licensing characters to computer companies, didn’t want to hear about setting up a site, nothing. Steve wanted to grab the name for Marvel to keep it safe, and he knew I was a trustworthy fellow. A few months later, Steve left Marvel for Del Rey books, and the matter was backburnered until February of 1996, when I was contacted by some lawyers about the name. I said I’d gotten the name at the request of a Marvel employee who was no longer there, and now that they had the resources to deal with the domain, I transferred it to them on February 14, 1996. A little Valentine’s Day present to Marvel from me.
So when you hear about Marvel not wanting to be caught flat-footed, and after you’re finally able to connect to their overloaded website to pay for a subscription model that was passe when Hawkeye was still alive, just know that it’s a grand tradition at the House of Idea.