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Marvel trying again with 700-issue comic book giveaway

Sign up now and you'll get on the waiting list for more than 700 free first issues from the Marvel digital comics library. Read them on your Android or iOS device, or on the Web.

Last month's Marvel giveaway: not so heroic. Let's hope it fares better this time.
Last month's Marvel giveaway: not so heroic. Let's hope it fares better this time. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

About a month ago, Marvel Comics set the Internet on fire with an offer that was downright super: 700 first-issue digital comic books absolutely free.

But the company quickly learned that freebies can put a fantastic strain on servers, as host Comixology immediately buckled under the demand -- and ultimately suspended the giveaway.

Avengers, assemble! (OK, that's my last superhero analogy.) Marvel has risen from the (cr)ashes to extend the offer once again: more than 700 free first-issue comics. Just sign up between now and 11:59 p.m. (ET) tomorrow, and you'll get on the waiting list for access to the giveaway.

To avoid another server-melting rush, Marvel will dole out the invites in waves, starting Thursday. So watch your inbox for instructions. It's not immediately clear how many waves there will be or over what period of time, so bear in mind it could take days or even weeks until you get your shot at the downloads.

Once you do, you'll be able to read via the Marvel Comics app (available for Android and iOS devices) and online in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, both of which are powered by Comixology.

The giveaway includes "issue No. 1" of pretty much every series in Marvel's vast catalog: Avengers, Captain America, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men, and so on. It's like Free Comic Book Day, but with much better selection and none of that pesky paper. (That said, support your friendly neighborhood comics shop!)

When you consider that a lot of Marvel's first issues sell for $1.99 in digital form, this giveaway has a value approaching $1,400. Yeah, think I'll sign up -- as in, up, up, and away! (Sorry, had to.)

By the way, if you're serious about comics, find out how you can read unlimited comics on your iPhone or iPad for a flat monthly fee.