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Online comics site is a true 'Marvel'


If you remember the days when comic books cost less than a quarter, then you've probably been both shocked and amazed by today's comics -- amazed at the ever-expanding variety, and shocked at the prices.

But comic book maker Marvel has created what may become an entire new product with their Marvel Zone Web site.

The site is more than static comic panels in digital format -- much, much more. The site offers features that comic readers of all ages will enjoy.

There's so many cool things to do here that it could keep you entertained for quite some time.

The site's highlights include:

The Excelsior Theatre. Complete with 1940s-style graphics, it offers a comic book adventure that is totally interactive. The preview offers highlights of "The Secret Adventures of Captain America," where the user must explore a mad scientist's lab to find the whereabouts of the missing superhero. The supercool feature uses the RealPlayer technology.

Cybercomics. Using audio, video and animation technology, Marvel offers animated comics of some of its stable of superheroes: Spider-Man, the X-Men and more.

Marvel Makeover. Fantastic Four member Sue Richard's invisibility powers accidently erase a comic panel each week, and its up to visitors to type in the dialog they would like to see.

Marvel Melee. Each week, two superheroes are paired against one another, and the site's visitors get to vote for who they think would reign supreme.

Threaded Web. Aimed at the writer-to-be in each of us, Marvel offers visitors the chance to contribute a written story line. Marvel editors pick their top choices and post them to the Web site.

There's plenty more too, including access to the daily syndicated Spider-Man comic strip, Marvel news, memory games, jigsaw puzzles, word searches and more.

Access to the site isn't free, however. But the modest $3.95 per month (or $29.95 per year) isn't overly priced, especially if you or a family member is a Marvel comics fan.

AOL users get free access to the site. Simply enter the keyword: MARVEL ZONE.

Faced with softening markets for comic books and sports cards, Marvel's move to the online arena is truly cutting-edge stuff.

The Marvel Zone won't replace printed comic books, but since the interactive entertainment it offers in many ways offers more than the books. If you want to take a peek of what the future of online entertainment might look like, visit the Marvel Zone today.

Point your browser to www.marvelzone.com.

iMAC CONNECTION BUG. The new Apple iMac that debuted last weekend to rave reviews and accolades left some would-be Internet users scratching their heads.

The iMacs are equipped with 56k modems, and the standard configuration for its Internet connection is designed to access EarthLink Network, a national Internet provider.

Other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were reportedly working to help iMac users establish reliable connections to their services, and the iMac technical support Web site was full of queries from frustrated users.

One post Friday from a tech support engineer for a national Internet provider says the problem isn't the iMac, but incompatibilities between the state-of-the-art iMac's V.90 compliant modem and their ISP.

"If you're having problems it's the result of user error or an ISP that needs to play catch-up," he writes.

But numerous replies to his posting dispute his findings, meaning that the finger pointing will continue, though both Apple and the ISPs continue to work on finding a solution.

For more iMac help, visit www.apple.com/support/imac/ on the Web.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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