Unless you've been living under a rock for the past five years (and if you have been, we apologize for offending you and hope we do not become the subject of a Twitter and Tumblr witch hunt by angry rock-dwellers accusing us of a deep-rooted anti-hermit bias), you are well aware that the comic book direct market, a system of comic book sales and distribution consisting of the monopolistic Diamond Comics Distributors, several giant mail order mega-corporations, and thousands of local comic shops (and these are the good guys), has been under siege by a small but radical group of online retailers selling cheap, flimsy digital comics to readers in an attempt to drive the physical retailers out of business. To what end digital retailers, who have recently been joined by corporate overlords Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple, wish to destroy local comic shops, no one knows, but we know it's what they want because hysterical xenophobes have been saying it would happen as soon as the first digital comic appeared on a tablet screen. Today, a huge shot was fired in this epic war by digital retailers, as all of DC Comics' digital books reportedly became available hours before most comic shops opened this morning, and some of Marvel's books became available on Comixology as well.
"This is a devastating blow to our forces," said Panicky Pete, a comic book retailer. "Do you know how many comic book readers may have coincidentally woken up early this morning, checked out Amazon.com on a whim, saw that DC's comics were available hours before shops open, and switched their entire reading paradigm over to digital, abandoning the wholesome embrace of physical comics forever? Dozens! It's a disaster!"
News of the battle quickly resulted in hundreds of smaller skirmishes all over the internet, on message boards and social media, with digital readers calling physical readers "aging dinosaurs who refuse to embrace the future of media," and physical readers calling digital readers "radical upstarts who will probably all end up with a nasty case eye strain." As with most conflicts on the internet, the battles all ended indecisively.
In fear of direct market forces retaliation for the early release, Marvel comics released a statement claiming that comics became available on Comixology at 8:35 AM, less than a half hour before most retail stores opened. However, Robot 6 claims to have purchased a DC comic before 6AM. Though Marvel blamed the early availability on "a technical glitch," DC has refused to comment, leading many to believe they have allied themselves with the digital rebels.
It is unknown whether the early release schedule was simply a testing of the waters, or a permanent change that will become the new status quo, but digital rebel forces leader, Hugo "El Lectore" Digitevez, released the following pre-recorded statement via YouTube video, taking credit for the attacks:
The Outhouse will keep readers updated with any developments in this extremely serious war for the future of our industry. Many analysts believe that comic book readership may consist of as many as 100,000 people in this country alone, or .0003% of the population of the United States, though some estimate that the entire readership consists of three older gentlemen in Peoria, Illinois who buy a lot of variant covers. In any case, this is serious, serious business, and The Outhouse is right on top of it, because we are serious people.