Twinterview: A live interview on Twitter with Marvel's Agent_M


A few minutes ago, I talked on Twitter with editor Ryan Penagos, who posts as Agent_M. And then collated them all into this post! I'm calling this a Twinterview. I may well do more.

BC: Ryan, Marvel recently announced large investments in digital. Are you currently spending it all on golden elephant statues?

Agent_M: We only have a few golden elephant statues. We're currently stocking up on replica Thor hammers (see photo)

BC: Okay, so can we put pay to the theory that going digital means having less stuff? Look at that desk! Do you live like that?

Agent_M: Try as I might, my desk will never stay clean. Digital shmigital, I'm still a hoarder.

BC: My wife let me have a shed. But this is a point, Could a more digital Marvel save various fan's marriages around the world?

Maybe, maybe not. Long boxes and tangible comics aren't going away, but I can see some fans enjoying less clutter.

BC: How long did you find it took to adjust to reading a comic online? Or was it an instant thing? Do you still have problems?

Agent_M: It's been pretty easy for me, but I've been using and working on computers for so long, reading comics there is natural.

BC: Everyone seems to have different reading software – do you guys keep tinkering with the Marvel one? Any changes to watch for?

Agent_M: Like most software, there are always tweaks and updates being worked on and talked about.

BC: Well, about devices? Do you see youself expanding across iPhones, PSPs DSs and Kindles? Or are you more baby steps?

Agent_M: Of course we look at devices and options for expansion, but there's really nothing to talk about now.

BC: Damn your secrets. I want Marvel on my wristwatch. But with all this tech, does it feel we're finally living in the future?

Agent_M: Oh, I'm with you. When the time–& the tech–is right, I'm sure. I'll buy into "the future" when I get a jetpack.

BC: You know all European cell phones come fitted with jetpacks, right? The Nokia N99 has a new extended hover function.

Agent_M: Dammit! And all I have here in NYC is the impending threat of swine flu.

BC: One increase over the last year has been exclusive comics content. Do you plan to expand or maintain this?

Agent_M: Oh yeah, we'll continue the exclusive Digital Comics content. Subscribers dig it and we're able to do some cool stuff.

BC: Sure. But are you looking to step it up? Or keep the existing balance?

Agent_M: It's case by case. Some weeks we have three new exclusive Digital Comics, some weeks just one. Not gonna force it.

BC: Do you find there any specific storytelling tricks exclusive to online content? Stuff that works better online or in print?

Agent_M: Shorter serialized stories are great for us. An 32 page story spread over four weeks is great for Digital.

Agent_M: But straight storytelling–good comics are good comics. We haven't changed methods. At least not yet.

[Cheat! Spreading an answer over two twits? Cheating!]

BC: Wow. That's the 2000AD model. I should tell some Brit creators that… so, any celebrity subscribers you can hint at?

Agent_M: Bring on the Brits! As for celebs, we count many as Marvel fans, but I don't know for sure about Digital subscribers.

BC: Obama. Definitely. Marvel's doing a hell of a lot of online outreach – what are the weirder interactions you've had?

Agent_M: Ehh. I've had a weird, scary stalker on Twitter. It involved Oprah and Gerard Butler. Oy. Otherwise, almost all good.

BC: Lovely image. Some retailers expressed concern at's rise as harming their sales. Has this happened in practice?

Agent_M: I don't think so. Every digital comic pushes fans to collections, there's a wide gap for new comics. It's helped sales.

Agent_M: In my own experiences with fans, they've told me they went out to get comics after reading online.

[He did it again!]

BC: But do you see a day when everything Marvel is

Agent_M: I sure hope so. I want to be the first place anyone goes for all things Marvel. But who knows.

BC: Question from the floor @AlertNerdMatt asks if you're putting more older comics online. How comprehensive do you expect to be?

Agent_M: Good question. We just passed 6,000 issues on Marvel Digital Comics. They take time to make, but we're truckin' along.

Follow Ryan Penagos at and subscribe to at… well, you know where.

Agent_M: Thanks, @richjohnston, that was fun. And I still have my wallet and wat– Oh, dammit.

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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