DC Launches DIGITAL COMIC STORE at DCComics.com

DC Comics Talks Digital Comics Launch

DC Entertainment today launched a digital storefront on its DCComics.com website, fulfilling a digital rollout plan the company announced in June.

The web-based digital comic store is part of DC's partnership with ComiXology, the company that also launched its iPhone/iPad app. DC also maintains a dedicated web-based store as part of the Comics by ComiXology site.

Consumers who buy comics on the DCComics.com store or the Apple-based DC stores will be able to read them on both platforms.

"We've made sure that our storefront is powered by ComiXology," co-publisher Jim Lee posted on DC's "The Source" blog today, "which means if you buy a DC digital comic like the chart-busting Death of Superman on your Mac or PC at home, you can read the very same series on-the-go using your iPhone, iPad or laptop, using our DC app, without paying a penny more or creating any new logins. Or vice versa.

"We call it convergence. You will find it simply easy," Lee said.

This "convergence" is something DC's rival, Marvel, doesn't have between web and hand-held platforms, instead offering a subscription service on Marvel.com that is separate from its other digital comics. John Rood, DC's executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development, pointed out that difference to Newsarama earlier this year.

"Consumers have told us that convergence matters a great deal, and they've told us by their words, and they've told us by what they've chosen not to subscribe to," Rood said.

Today's DCComics.com storefront launch included several new titles, like Dark Knight Returns, Identity Crisis, Death of Superman, Transmetropolitan, The Invisibles, The Authority, Superman: For Tomorrow and 100 Bullets. The web-based store also offers all DC titles that were already being offered on the ComiXology platform via iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

The selection of new titles that are launching the site — which includes several different genres — lines up with DC's ongoing strategy toward the digital audience, approaching it as a more mainstream market.

"We spent a lot of time coming up with a pretty diverse slate," Lee said of the comics offered on its digital outlets. "If you look at the offerings, it gives you a peek at the sort of thinking we have as we jump into the digital arena, and who we think the digital consumer is going to be. We think that consumer is not going to be one category of early adopters."

The new DCComics.com storefront will also include the bi-weekly Justice League: Generation Lost, which is being released at the same time as its print version — something that has been in place since June on other ComiXology platforms and the Sony PlayStation Network. (Marvel has also released day-and-date titles, though sporadically, and the Image title Walking Dead is currently available digitally as a day-and-date release.)

DC Entertainment representatives have maintained that they do not intend for digital sales to take away from existing sales of print comics, calling its digital initiative "additive." To emphasize this point, DC announced that representatives from the retailer organization ComicsPRO were consulted before the initial digital launch in June.

But DC also said in June that it planned to eventually launch a "retailer affiliate program" that would offer a way for brick-and-mortar comic stores to benefit from digital sales. As of today's DC storefront announcement, the publisher has not defined what that affiliate program will be, and there's no official word on whether the DCComics.com store will be included in that program.

Today's launch of the DC website store also further enhances ComiXology's leading position in the digital comics industry. Both Marvel and DC have chosen ComiXology as a partner in their digital program, and the company is working with more than 30 other publishers, as well as holding exclusives with more than one creator, via its Comics by ComiXology app and ComiXology website.

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