Here’s a ruddy nice gesture: Marvel Comics are to give away 700 free first editions of their much celebrated back catalogue to eager comic fans.

Before you all get too excited though (because print first editions can go on the markets for up to thousands of dollars), they are just going to be digital editions of the comics, for tablets, phone and laptops. Still, that’s still a pretty nice thing to do.

Marvel fans need to act quickly though, with Sky News reporting that the free downloads will only be available today (Monday, March 11th) and will revert to being back on sale for between $1.99 and $3.99 per issue from tomorrow.

Marvel have gone through its 13,000 titles that are available and selected the first from each series to be made available for free. Speaking about it, Marvel executive David Gabriel said "This is aimed at attracting fans from all walks of life - those who know our characters from the big screen, those who were readers, but fell out of the habit and our long-term fans too. We believe that if we get those fans in the door, they'll stay and help grow this industry, with purchases both in comic stores and via digital comic outlets."

Robert Downey Jr
Robert Downey Jr stars in Marvel's Iron Man 3

Continuing, he added “We never want fans to feel like they need to have read it all," added Mr Gabriel. Of course we want them to want to check out those stories, but the beauty of these No 1 issues is that each is an entry point. So with a character like Iron Man, you can choose if you want to start with the recent Iron Man series from Kieron Gillen or go back a few years to when Matt Fraction launched Invincible Iron Man or even before that."

All eyes are eagerly on the Robert Downey Jr starring Iron Man 3, out next month. Catch the trailer below.