One month before the launch of AMC's The Walking Dead TV series, the comic on which it's based has gone day-and-date digital.
As iFanboy noticed yesterday, this week's print issue of The Walking Dead #77 was released concurrently -- and for the same $2.99 price -- on the Image app and Comics by ComiXology app for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch. The digital version of the issue was also offered on the Comics by ComiXology website, which is part of the same platform.
Newsarama contacted ComiXology and found out this wasn't a mistake, and is now Image's plan going forward.
"As of yesterday, The Walking Dead was released the same time as print," said David Steinberger, CEO of ComiXology. "I expect it's going to be that way ongoing. We're not making a big deal out of it because we don't think it's all that big of a deal. It's just one more step in the progression of making things available when and where people want them."
Created by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead is the successful zombie series from Image Comics that shows what happens weeks, months and even years after the world is overrun by flesh-eating zombies.
Back issues of The Walking Dead were among the earliest issues to appear on Comics by ComiXology, as part of an exclusive deal between the digital company and Kirkman. Digital readers have been slowly catching up on the series, which is also offered digitally in "collections."
Last month, Image Comics offered The Walking Dead upon the launch of its own digital app developed by ComiXology .
Over time, digital issues of The Walking Dead have been catching up to the current series. As of this week, all issues of The Walking Dead that are available in print are also available digitally through the Image and Comics by ComiXology apps.
So-called "day-and-date" releases are a controversial issue in the comic book industry, because some retailers and other professionals are concerned the digital market will cut sales in the print market. As a result of this concern, very few well-known titles are sold day-and-date, although DC is trying the concept with its bi-weekly Justice League: Generation Lost.
Steinberger said The Walking Dead has been, and continues to be, one of his app's best-sellers, even though Marvel and DC comics were added earlier this year.
But Steinberger emphasized that the digital issues of The Walking Dad are reaching a new audience, according to statistics.
"You can take a look at the print numbers and see that we've not made a dent in them," Steinberger said. "I think this is only additive to the market. If you do any kind of comparison, The Walking Dead just becomes more and more popular in general, and we reach a big mainstream audience that loves things like Wanted and Kick-Ass and those types of media properties."
"The Walking Dead," he said, "fits right into that as it gains popularity, as the buzz builds around the TV show."
The Walking Dead television series will premiere on October 31st on AMC.