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Comixology suspends Marvel giveaway

Digital comic book distributor slams the brakes on a time-limited giveaway of 700 Marvel digital comic books, following overwhelming public interest that crashed the company's servers.

Marvel Comics' giveaway of 700 #1 issues has run into a villainous snag.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Following a catastrophic server crash that occurred hours after Marvel Comics and Comixology announced a massive giveaway, Comixology has suspended the promotion.

Comixology CEO David Steinberger acknowledged that his company had "let down" customers. Previous orders under the "Marvel Comics #1" promotional, time-limited giveaway would be honored, he said, and he asked fans to fill out a form so they could be alerted when the promotion returns.

Because of Comixology's unique place in the digital comic-book distribution business as an iTunes-style marketplace with few, if any, direct competitors, other publishers' sales were likely impacted by the server crash.

When asked to comment on that aspect of the story, Comixology representative Chip Mosher said in an e-mail that he could not comment further at this time.

One comics publisher, which spoke to CNET on the condition of anonymity to protect its relationship with Comixology, confirmed that the server crash has prevented digital sales through its Comixology-powered app. At the time of writing, the servers still were not functional -- nearly 24 hours after the servers went down.

Image Comics, best known for The Walking Dead comics, confirmed to Comic Book Resources that it was also unable to sell its digital books through Comixology. A "significant part" of daily digital sales comes via the Comixology-run app, said an Image Comic representative.