Today is the day that I will stop buying print editions of Robert Kirkman’s Walking Dead. It isn’t because of the story; those who think this series is destined for a happy ending need a reality check, and it isn’t because I’m fed up with the same ol’ same ol’ that seems to be the nature of the series. The decision to drop the print edition is one that regular Spoilerites have probably already guessed – I own an iPad.

In an interview with Comics Alliance, Image Comics Publisher, Eric Stephenson said this was the new now, “In terms of scheduling, the digital version of the series has caught up to print version, so it makes sense to release both simultaneously. With the debut of the AMC television series only weeks away at this point, our aim is to make ‘The Walking Dead’ as widely available as possible, in all formats, and I believe everyone involved will ultimately find this beneficial.”

It makes sense that those who dig The Walking Dead on television will want to find out what happens next, and with a well placed commercial spot, the millions who currently have an Internet connection could flood the ComiXology website to download and get up to date quickly, and then follow along as the series continues to progress.

Stephenson’s statement isn’t the one-off Look At Us that Marvel did with the three-part Iron Man Annual, and trumps DC Comics’ Justice League Generation Lost digital day and date limited run series. With this announcement, Image Comics has thumbed its nose at the other comic book publishers and have said in a loud voice “Neener-Neener-Neener!” As far as we know, The Walking Dead isn’t ending its run anytime soon.


The success of The Walking Dead television series on AMC will probably propel series creator and writer Robert Kirkman to double his efforts to bring the series to two hundred issues before he retires. For the long term, Image Comics has committed to a digital day and date release of this series, and my guess is, it won’t be the last.

Invincible is currently two issues behind the print run on the Image Comics and Comics by ComiXology apps on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. If Eric Stephenson feels so strongly about The Walking Dead, then Invincible can’t be too far from receiving the same treatment. And once those two big titles hit, then there is no reason why the rest of the company’s titles can’t follow suit. While other companies like Boom! Studios promises their entire back catalogue online by the end of the year, it’s the digital day and date that is the lure to get new readers on board now.

With the tens of thousands of print comics quickly filling up the Major Spoilers Nerd Room of Doom, moving the Walking Dead collection to a digital environment is a welcome announcement from the company. Knowing that I have a digital day and date release at my fingertips, means I don’t have to worry about getting my Previews order in three months ahead of time. I won’t have to worry about a storyline suddenly losing my interest, yet I still committed to buying three more months of issues. If I do drift away, I also know I won’t be caught empty handed when the series rebounds and I discover the store is sold out.

Best of all, I don’t have to worry about getting cheated into paying more for the digital edition of a copy. Both DC and Image Comics have realized that you don’t need to charge the customer more for the convenience of reading digital. The Walking Dead has a cover price of the digital and print issues are both $2.99. I like that the comic publisher isn’t discriminating against its digital readers and giving us all the same opportunity to give our money to them. Of course I still have a problem paying the same amount as the print edition, but that is an argument for another time. Had Image decided it would be in their best interest to charge any extra for the online edition, I would probably have dropped the series completely. Having some money is better than no money, and Image appears to have realized that digital day and date is better than leaving digital readers hanging.


Should my decision to stop buying the print edition of The Walking Dead worry my comic book guy? Not at all. With the steady increase in other comic book related items I’m purchasing, I’m pretty sure I’ll be supplementing his youngest child’s college fund for years to come. As I’ve come to discover, those who really love print will continue to flock to the comic book store. A few of those will change their spending habits and begin to switch to digital comics, but I really think at this point the comic book stores have no short term worries about losing their shirts as the transition continues.

At the end of the day, I’m very pleased with Image Comics announcement, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the industry responds.


I’m in the process of rethinking the way I read, buy, and store all my comics.  I know I would be more interested in reading certain titles if I didn’t have to worry about storage and/or disposal later on.   In addition to The Walking Dead and Invincible, I would really like to see the following comics go digital day and date:

  • Action Comics
  • Amazing Spider-Man
  • Batgirl
  • B.P.R.D.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Flash
  • Green Hornet
  • Incorruptible
  • Invincible
  • Irredeemable
  • Supergirl
  • Superman
  • Ultimate (comics) Spider-man (and really the entire Ultimate (comics) line)
  • The Walking Dead
  • Witchblade
  • Wonder Woman

Is there a series that you want to see get digital day and date release right now, or are you happy with the way things are going now?


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. I can’t get myself to go the digital route. I don’t even get TWD monthly but rather wait for the TPB. For some reason, I love seeing those on my shelf.

    Do you think publisher’s will offer some sort of digital subscription in addition to individual issues? For example, buy one issue for $1.99 or $2.99, whatever, get the next 12 for a set price.

    I do like that Image has also released the digital versions of the first 4 TPBs for $9 and $10.

    I haven’t purchased any digital comics yet but have read several free ones from Marvel, DC and Image. It’s a very enjoyable reading experience. I know my wife would like this better than seeing piles of comics around the house.

  2. I can’t get into digital for two reasons:

    1) I really like print. I like holding it in my hand and thumbing thru the pages.

    2) I have no iPad. That means that I would have to read in on my laptop and that isn’t very comfortable for me.

    • Agreed. Plus I can’t handle the argument that it’s cheaper to go the digital route on your iPad than to buy the floppies either. $3.99/4.99 for a floppy vs $0.99+$500-700 for an iPad. No thanks sir. Plus, I’d end up downloading it to my fictional iPad and probably (no idea here) end up not being able to get it off my iPad unless I deleted it and be unable to transfer it from my iPad to another computer just like my plain old iPod is with music. Another reason for me to resist going digital is that I just plain old like having the actual physical issues in my hand that I can feel and look more closely at a scene without having to click any buttons to zoom, that and I tend to go through technological items like cell phones and iPods and computers every 2 years or so, give or take, but I keep my comics forever. It’s perfectly fine to rock your iPad all day long if that’s what you want and it’s probably a great idea for people who don’t care whether they have the issue in hand or not and just want to read it and be done with it. I could just read a synopsis of the story on wikipedia if that’s all I really wanted out of my particular comic reading experience and I could get all the information that I needed to keep abreast with what was going on with The Boys or Daredevil but my whole enjoyment is that trip to the comic shop to walk down the aisle and find my books (or pick up my pull) and be able to flip through the book. I think it’d be a good idea though for inside the cover of the physical comic to have a barcode that an e-reader thing could scan and give you access to the digital version that you can take with you in your iPod/Pad. They do something like that with movies that come with a digital copy (that apparently you sometimes have to pay for?) but it could be cool to get that legal digital copy for free if you do pay the full price for the physical book. It’d be a nice way to reward those of us that actually paid full price and helped keep our local comic shops in business.

      Sorry Maximus, I just remembered that I was writing all this as a comment to you.

  3. I have an IPad since shortly after release thinking that it could help lower the cost of my comic addiction. So far I have only purchased 1 comic Invincible 62 since I could not find a copy of it at my LCS. I do download alot of the free comics but that is mainly to see if it’s something I would like to read and then I buy it either in floppies or in trade. I have found I just don’t enjoy reading the comics as much when they are on my IPad. Like many others I prefer the feel of the comic in my hand. It’s not just comics that I like this way either. I’ve tried reading books on the Kindle and IBooks app for the IPad and really don’t enjoy them as much. I don’t know if anything will ever be able to replace the feel of a comic in my hands.

  4. Since i live outside the E.U digital comics are a blessing, i can read books that i wasn’t even aware existed (unwritten, stuff of legend, etc..) and having them on day and date it’s only better.

    i say digital comics world wide aviable day and date of realese , cheap physical copies print in pulp paper and “deluxe” TPB, that way everybody is happy

  5. Giving an arguably evil company large chunks of money without even the vague excuse of calling it an investment? I’ll pass. Maybe if the comic store wasn’t tied to a specific vendor/application and used (or established) an open standard which could be used on many different types of devices. Let me back up my entire collection to my NAS and not need to phone home to read them. Not really worth consideration with current system.

    • I’m not sure you are clear in your argument. Are you saying Image Comics is evil? Or are you saying Apple is evil? And what makes them “arguably evil?” And when you say investment, are you talking about the iPad as an investment, or are you talking about comic books as an investment? Finally, Comics by ComiXology is available on the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and if I’m not mistaken are currently exploring ways to move the app to the Android system.

      • Not to answer for him, but I slightly agree with parts of what I think he’s saying, I never really see anything as inherently outdated-the-moment-you-buy-it, such as technology (i.e. computers, phones, iPod/pads, as much of an investment. In the short term, yeah, you could resell the device and make a little money, not more than you paid unless it’s something like an iPhone you bought with a 2 year plan and someone else is buying it at a higher rate so they can then jail-break it. That’s neither here nor there, I think what he might be saying is that say you take a comic line that’s fairly new like The Boys, an ongoing that’s new enough that it’s worth less than it’s cover price right now, if I have a complete run and I post it on eBay or try to sell it to someone I can make some money, maybe not a ton but I can still probably make a sale. We as a culture aren’t to the point where I could do the exact same thing and sell somebody a “file transfer” of 1 GB of The Boys comics for the same monetary gain that I’d get for the books themselves, nor I doubt for the equivalent gain if you take into consideration the difference of costs that I would have spent on acquiring the physical books vs. digital ones.

        I can see why people would want to read their comics on a PC, Mac and iPad, I have a harder time imagining real enjoyment reading one on a 3 inch screen like an iPhone (but maybe that’s because I’d just get pissed and fling my phone against a wall after a while). I’ve not used Comics by ComiXology, I’ve heard you give it glowing reviews for the past few months, but I have tried Marvel’s comic subscription and I hated it. I won a free month of online comics there and I read maybe 3 comics and I just couldn’t stand their viewer. It was the ruddiest most difficult comic reading experience I’ve had in a long time. I guess I just suppose if all I wanted was the story or plot points I’d read a review on Major Spoilers or read wikipedia, and if that wasn’t enough and I wanted to see the pictures too, I’d just get them for free at the library.

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