It does seem unfortunate timing that Dark Horse choose today to promote the upcoming launch of their Dark Horse digital app. Shortly after we learnt that they were to make seven employees redundant. It’s almost as if we are encouraged to join the dots, see some kind of causality. That as comics move to a digital format, they won’t support the same kind of infrastructure of print comics, and people will lose their jobs.
Indeed, Dark Horse state that they are giving away free digital comics to people who sign up to the Dark Horse Digital newsletter – and encourage others to sign up.
The books being given away for free are, in order, Criminal Macabre #1, Fray #1, Abe Sapien: The Drowning #1, The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1 and Mass Effect: Redemption #1, depending on how many people you get to sign up.
Basically they are encouraging you to market the App for them. For, basically, free. The internet model of employment there. And they are giving away an iPad 2 and a $100 store credit.
The rationale will, of course, be that by encouraging the digital side of Dark Horse Comics that the company will make more money and stave off other redundancies. Indeed, while trialling the App at C2E2, it was explained to me that the company went for their own reader rather than Marvel and DC’s decision to use ComiXology, so that they’d keep a greater percentage of the sale price.
But damn, it seems like unfortunate timing.