It was three years ago that Dark Horse Comics first had a simple vision: create a digital comics store and destroy the comic book direct market by offering quality digital comics at the same time as their physical counterparts on multiple platforms for an affordable price. Of course, it's been a widely accepted fact that the end of the industry as we know it is what would happen if something like this existed... and yet, three years later, with the Dark Horse Digital Comics Store in full swing, the direct market still exists. Comic book shops still operate, physical comics are selling higher than ever, and the industry is experiencing more mainstream popularity than it has in years.
What went wrong?
"It seemed like such a sure thing," lamented Dark Horse Editor in Chief Scott Allie in a press release sent out by the company this morning. "I really thought we were gonna do it. I even had a bunch of t-shirts printed up saying 'I ruined the comic book industry by buying digital comics.' The South American peasants wearing those along with their Denver Broncos 2014 Superbowl Champions baseball caps are gonna feel pretty fucking stupid now as they starve to death and die of 19th century diseases."
According to the press release, Dark Horse did everything right:
Dark Horse Comics launched its standalone comic-reader app and digital store on April 27, 2011, and has received incredible accolades from the continuously growing worldwide digital-comics fan base.
Since then, Dark Horse Digital has grown significantly in numbers and readership while featuring its most popular and best-selling titles, including Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity, Hellboy, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Conan, and Mass Effect, as well as exclusive digital-only comics, such as Plants vs. Zombies, Eve: True Stories, and Dragon Age. Dark Horse Digital regularly hosts weekly sales, discounts, and other special promotions for its reader base. We currently offer thousands of comics and are continuing to increase the digital availability of the Dark Horse back catalog.
So why wasn't the comic book industry destroyed? It just doesn't make sense.
"Maybe we could try making the comics even more affordable," Allie mused. "I mean, we don't have to print them or anything like that, so there's no reason to artificially price them at the same point as physical comics, especially when that cost is much higher, proportionally, from the value of competing forms of entertainment from movies, video games, and music. Maybe that would finally destroy the industry?"
To test the waters, Dark Horse will be offering a store-wide 50% off sale on their website, this weekend only. If things work out, and they can make even a few comic book shops go out of business from the sale, the company may press forward with cheaper prices in the future.
Beginning Friday morning, Dark Horse Digital is offering 50 percent off all purchases made through the web store! It doesn’t stop there: confirmed Dark Horse Digital newsletter subscribers will receive an exclusive coupon for an additional 10 percent off. This newsletter coupon stacks with the web store discount, offering an even greater savings on your entire transaction.
In addition, Dark Horse will be giving out free iPads to people who purchase books through the store, sort of like the way the CIA arms rebel insurgents in countries whose governments we want to overthrow:
Beginning Friday, we will be giving away one iPad per day over the course of the weekend. The winners will be given the digital collection of their choosing.
To enter to win, all you need to do is download a comic to your collection! Better yet, with over fifty free comics to choose from, there is no purchase necessary to win.
"Viva la revolution!" shouted Allie as he fired an AK47 wildly in the air after announcing the sale and contest. "Death to comic shops! Death to Dennis Barger Jr. and CoBRA! Death to the industry! Aaayiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!"
The sale and contest begins on Friday and ends at Midnight PST on Sunday. Head over to the Digital Store to participate, and sign up for the Dark Horse Newsletter for an additional 10% off, and to receive advance notice of troop movements and planned insurgent activities.
Here's the fine print about the contest:
No purchase necessary. One entry per person per Dark Horse Digital account per day. Any digital comic entitlement added to a Dark Horse Digital account during April 25, 2014, to April 27, 2014, will constitute an entry to win. Must be eighteen (18) years of age or older as of entry date. Entries only accepted if submitted by 11:59 p.m. (PST), April 27, 2014. Three winners will be selected randomly (as determined at Dark Horse’s sole discretion) from all applicable entries and will be notified by May 2, 2014. Entry constitutes agreement by winners to be publicized and permission to use each winner’s name for the purposes of promotion of the Sweepstakes without further compensation. Sweepstakes void where prohibited. Odds of winning dependent on number of entrants. If you are the owner or an employee of a local comic book store, you are encouraged to switch sides by joining Dark Horse's digital army and overthrowing your Diamond overlords. Resistance is futile. All your comics are belong to us.