I am and probably always will be a fan of the “digest” format of comics, despite how close I have to hold them to my face these days, even while wearing glasses. This, of course, must stem from childhood where the beloved books were stuffed into backpacks or wedged into the pockets on the backseats of cars. Digests were the thing of long car journeys and were my main ownership of comics.
So it fills me with strange glee that Archie and Marvel Comics have teamed up to produce digests of classic Marvel comics. I’m definitely going to pick some up when they are released, as much for the tactile experience as the stories. It’ll also be a return to newsprint style paper for these comics, which will be another aspect of recurrence in terms of reading experience.
The Marvel Comics Digest will be available from “big box retailers,” newsstand, and comic shops, packaged and distributed by Archie. The publishers are actually hoping to open up avenues for “new and young readers in a captivating way that will create new direct comic book market customers”. In other words, they’re hoping this will produce new comic readers and drive business back to comic shops.
Archie Comics will publish six Marvel digests a year, with four landing in 2017. The collections will feature various eras and stories, with the Amazing Spider-Man and the Avengers arriving first. Marvel Comics Digest: Starring The Amazing Spider-Man, arrives in June. Future digests will feature Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, and the X-Men.
Jon Goldwater, Publisher/CEO of Archie Comics, says:
For years, Archie has made the digest format our bread and butter. We are supremely excited to spotlight iconic characters like Spider-Man and the Avengers through this major partnership with Marvel. These books will serve as a great introduction to the Marvel Universe for new readers and a very special, curated selection of stories for existing fans. It’s a win-win!
Look out for those delightfully packaged digests starting in June! Maybe plan a road trip and make someone else drive just to recreate your childhood. Would that be going too far? Well, you could always share driving duties.