Marvel has been including a digital code in their monthly books for some time but they’ve also started filtering into select Marvel hardcovers; my most recent volumes was Hulk Season One. There’s a handy ad sticker on the book’s plastic wrap, designed to keep the digital code from prying eyes. Inside the book is a small card with your digital code and instructions.


A few items worth noting. Marvel gives about thirteen months from printing of the book for the digital code to be redeemed. The Marvel Comics App for iOS and Android are mentioned but since the code works for both if a new platform stormed the market and Marvel released an app the code would most likely work there as well since it’s all managed by Comixology anyway. The small print mentions “free with purchase of the graphic novel” but doesn’t give the normal “not for resale” blurb that happens with inserts or giveaways from other markets.

So far I’ve had three of these and diligently downloaded them to my iPad. Since I read the printed graphic novel these digital editions have languished. I’m thinking at some point I’ll reread them and at that point will take advantage of the digital version but for now it’s a perk I’m not using.

What I like about these digital code inserts is how handy they are to give away or sell. What’s that, the idea of a market for digital codes hadn’t crossed your mind? It’s certainly a way to offset the cost of your purchase if the digital code on a nice card can be sold for a few dollars. A quick check of eBay didn’t show any code cards on their own but maybe it’s more underground, or isn’t happening enough to break into the mainstream.

My bookshelves at home are groaning with lines of hardcovers and the digital edition is a surefire way to alleviate that, but I’m still concerned about locking a purchase into a format I can’t back up. If Comixology goes belly up no one will have access to the digital comics they bought; of course technically you’re not buying them, just paying for access.

The altruist in me will start thinking about gifting some digital codes, to friends or family that are reading digitally but want to take a look at comics. Perhaps the best route to strengthen the hobby would be for reading clubs to swap codes, to get people interested in new titles.

How are you using your Marvel digital codes?