IN comics, the first issue is where the story starts and the legend begins.
For readers, a print copy of issue No. 1 can be hard to find and expensive to buy. But those rules don't apply to tablets, laptops and smartphones, both for comics fans and those curious about characters they may have seen in film or on television.
Part of that fascination with superheroes and their growing cachet in popular culture is why Marvel Entertainment, home to the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the Avengers, among others, is making more than 700 first issues available to digital readers starting Sunday for free through the Marvel app and the company's website. After Tuesday, they'll be sold for $1.99 to $3.99 per issue.
The titles go from the 1960s Silver Age to contemporary issues with characters including Wasp, Mr. Fantastic, Power Man and Iron Fist, said David Gabriel, senior vice-president of sales.
The publisher went through its catalogue of more than 13,000 titles that are already available digitally and plucked out the No. 1 issues with historic ones such as Amazing Spider-Man by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as well as modern titles such as Civil War, Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men and characters and teams like the Uncanny Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy.
-- The Associated Press