In the wake of the comic book publishing drought right now, with even DC Comics' planned distribution for April and May relatively weak sauce, DC Comics has radically expanded their Digital First publishing programme. Digital First, which sees DC Comics titles published digitally before being collected in print has usually been restricted to TV and game spinoff titles, such as the current Teen Titans Go and Batman Adventures Continue. As of today, DC Comics are asking Brian Hibbs to hold their digital beer.
In a press release, DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee – who talked about the limited nature of Digital First over the weekend with Kevin Smith – is quoted saying "Comic book fans want more access to content than ever before. This strategy is intended to get daily content to fans immediately, and also to ensure that when comic shops open back up for business, they will have new content and product that their customers will want. In the meantime, we will have properly stoked and protected the demand for comics, keeping fans interested in our characters and stories." But not so fast, although they are calling them digital firsts, they have all the appearances of being digital seconds, as the stories have all appeared in print in recent Walmart mass-market titles, and in comic stores as well. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, 'this may be a definition of digital first that I was previously unaware of.'
Jim Lee states "I really want to stress that regularly scheduled and solicited print comics, traditionally available on Wednesdays, will continue to be available day-and-date digitally on Tuesdays moving forward. On the other hand, DC DIGITAL FIRST comics will publish seven days a week, with a strikingly different trade dress that will distinguish these titles from physical versions."
The first week of DC Digital First titles will include the following titles, one a day.
- Superman: The Man of Tomorrow by Robert Venditti, Paul Pelletier, Drew Hennessy, and Adriano Lucas.
- Batman: Gotham Nights featuring a story by Sal Giunta, Brad Meltzer, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair with a second story by Larry Hama, Mirko Colak, and John Kalisz.
- Wonder Woman: Agent of Peace by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti, Inaki Miranda, and Hi-Fi, Aquaman: Deep Dives by Steve Orlando, Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran, and Adriano Lucas.
- Flash: Fastest Man Alive by Gail Simone, Clayton Henry, and Marcelo Maiolo, DC Super Hero Girls: Infinite Frenemies by Amanda Deibert and Erich Owen.
- Swamp Thing: New Roots by Mark Russell, Marco Santucci, and John Kalisz.
In addition, DC is launching DC ESSENTIAL READS, free digital comics available until June 8th including the following:
- Watchmen #1 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
- Batman #608 by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair.
- The Sandman #1 by Neil Gaiman and Sam Kieth.
- Dark Nights: Metal #1 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo.
- Doomsday Clock #1 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.
- Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.
- Mister Miracle #1 by Tom King and Mitch Gerads.