DRM-free comics of excellence from Image Comics


Just a slight correction: Marvel doesn’t own Comixology. Comixology is a separate company that provides services to Marvel, DC, Image, and many other small press comics publishers. An appropriate analogy would be to compare Comixology to Amazon’s Kindle - there are lots of different publishers, but they’re all locked into the same distribution system.


Actually, that’s more than a slight correction. While I agree that the DRM used by Comixology sucks, and was originally put in at the request of Marvel, DC, etc., saying that they are owned by Marvel is piss poor reporting, and the whole article would probably have a somewhat different tone without stating that as fact.


I suspect that Image’s decision to go DRM-free had something to do with Comixology’s (temporary) decision not to make Saga #12 available through the iOS version of its store due to concerns over content. It was a pretty good object lesson in what happens when a single, DRM-encumbered vendor dominates a market, and it was just a few months later that Image made its announcement that it would start releasing books through its own site DRM-free.


It’s also important to note that Image has recently teamed up with Dropbox to allow readers to access their PDF, CBR, or CBZ files anywhere. It should be rolled out soon. I would attribute the impetus for the DRM-free choice to both Image’s general publishing culture and Brian K. Vaughan & Marcos Martin’s pay-what-you-want platform.

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Additionally, the Marvel comics app was developed in conjunction with ComiXology and shouldn’t be confused with the ComiXology app itself.

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It’s already rolled out! I was bummed when I realised I’d forgot to buy ‘sex Criminals’ before work last week but I was able to buy it on the way to work and read it straight from Dropbox. A genius addition. Image is getting so much money from me.

I came here for all the corrections that have already been made, so I’ll point everyone reading towards Grindhouse by the wonder Alex De Campi, an anthology which contains a story a similar aesthetic. It’s from Dark Horse, so not available DRM-free sorry.

Sounds like Image has profited from the experience of Baen Books. Now, some people may complain about the political tenor of a large portion of the Baen authors, but Jim Baen’s long-running experiment in DRM-free ebooks stands well as his memorial.



The comics industry is a few years away, if that, of radically changing the way it does business. If Marvel/DC arent careful, they’re going to have a real problem.

There’s no reason that already successful artists and writers have to do anything but create their work and find a place to let everyone know about it, like Twitter/Facebook/Kickstarter. See “Leaving Megalopolis” by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore as reference. Or “The Private Eye” by Brian K Vaughn and Marcos Martin.

Once there’s a consistent place to let people go and find new works, there’s no need for a publishing company the way they exist now. Download digital, and print on demand (and I mean print in the commercial sense- not on personal printers, but hardcover graphic novels or regular comics). And once that community is there, new creators will find an easy way to show off their works.

Marvel/DC will still have it’s amazing characters, but they’ll no longer be the conduit for new creations. And DRM will be a huge problem for them. Good for Image.

I like to imagine that when they coauthor books with each other (which the Baen authors do all the time), they get into huge political arguments constantly. A lot of them are very right-wing or libertarian, but Eric Flint was a union organizer and member of the Socialist Workers Party.

Not really. Eric Flint has his “stable” of proteges, and the other authors have the people THEY work with.

Plus, (OK, I have SOME insider info here, being one of the Baen Barflies), it’s actually fairly collegial. . .

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