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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 17:53 GMT
Marvel launches digital archive
A scene from Iron Man
Iron Man is the latest Marvel hero to be adapted for the big screen
Comic book giant Marvel has made 2,500 of its back issues available online in an attempt to introduce its characters to a younger, computer-savvy audience.

One tenth, 250 in all, will be able to read free of charge for a limited time.

Subscribers to the service will have access to the first issues of titles including The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk.

New issues, however, will not go online until at least six months after they first appear in print.

Customers will not be able to download the comics either, which can only be viewed in a web browser window.

Different formats

"Marvel Digital Comics are optimised for viewing on your computer screen and are not intended to be printed," the company said.

The back issues can be viewed in a variety of different formats, including frame by frame navigation.

"Our fan base is already on the internet," said Marvel president Dan Buckley. "It seemed like a natural way to go."

Rival giant DC Comics has already made some of its issues available online via social networking site MySpace.

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