Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marvel and DC Duke It out in the Digital Realm

As a business student and comics fan, I enjoy watching how the two big players in the oligarchy of comics react to one another. It is hard to call it coincidence that both Marvel and DC have both made strives in the past week to up their game in the digital world, and I have a feeling the actions take by one of them will be copied and altered by the other and vice-versa.

Marvel Infinite's logo
Last week, DC unveiled its new website to go with its new logo and its new universe, isn't rebranding the best? Yet, this rebranding is more of a facelift rather than a restructuring. The same titles are being written, with similar stories, and similar writers, they are not bad, but most are not all that new. The website, is both massive, and attractive to browse. The DC site has taken a page out of Apple's book with an ample amount of whitespace and a sleek tone. The website features links with social media, character pages outlining their bios and major appearances, and information about upcoming issues, games, movies and tv. The character pages are currently lacking, they only feature mainstream heroes at the moment, but I have a feeling it will be updated in time. DC's new site effectively seeks to take all the resources taken from third-party sites and bring it under an official DC umbrella. Marvel could learn a thing or two from DC's site. While Marvel's site isn't atrocious, browsing through it can often become tedious and it is difficult to find a specific thing when searching.

DC's "controversial" new logo

As I wrote yesterday, Marvel is taking big steps toward total integration between their digital world and their print world. You can check out the whole article here. With the added digital copies to their $3.99 titles, the new augmented reality app, and digitally exclusive comics, Marvel both added to their product line and increased the value of their already existing products. While most of DC's titles still only cost $2.99, most would agree that they could stand to increase the connection between their print and digital medium. While AR is just a novelty for now, I would not be surprised to see smartphone and tablet users jump at the idea of buying some of Marvel's upcoming Avengers v. X-Men. While AR is not a priority, DC should pay close attention to how the free digital copies affect Marvel's sales in comic shops, as they may want to, I hope they do, get in on the print+digital idea.

While it may not be wise to clone your main competition right after they try something new, I would not mind seeing Marvel and DC exchange ideas, as both have something to contribute and something to gain from an increase in digital quality.