At the recent South by Southwest festival, digital comic book marketplace comiXology announced plans to give away 700 free Marvel issues worth millions through parent Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS). Unfortunately, what looked like a brilliant idea fell apart quickly when demand crushed comiXology's servers and forced the company to delay delivery of the digital issues.

But all isn't lost, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova. Disney should still benefit heavily from increased awareness of its Marvel titles ahead of May 3's Iron Man 3, the third installment of the series starring Robert Downey Jr. as the armored avenger.

Think of it as cheap marketing designed to energize the fan base. AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) and publisher Image Comics enjoyed the benefits of its own comiXology sale on digital editions of The Walking Dead, which now stands as the highest-rated cable TV show of all time.

How big of an opportunity do digital comics represent? The Fool's Alison Southwick asks Tim for his perspective on this fast-growing industry, and what it means for Disney, in the video below. Please watch, and then leave a comment to let us know what you think.