David Brothers has an astonishing post about the source of Marvel bootleg scans that is a must-read, as he and David Uzumeri put the evidence together and come up with a pretty convincing case for the source being Marvel itself:
Taken all together: There are covers that differ from any legit cover. Pages that are pitch-perfect. DPI that matches across the board. Recap pages that occasionally vary in size, just like they do in official Marvel electronic review copies. Every Marvel comic is available early and all at once on the scan site du jour. DC comics appear in a trickle after 2pm EST. By 7pm EST on Wednesday, every big two comic is available for download, but well before that, Marvel’s entire line-up for the week is ready to go.
It’s pretty clear from this evidence that there’s a leak somewhere along the supply chain. Someone’s getting access to a PDF, or something, and dumping it to JPG before releasing it to the net. Converting a PDF to a series of JPGs is simple in Photoshop, and once you set up a good action to save the images, this is something that takes no more than five minutes to do, RAM and size of PDF depending.
There are multiple visual “smoking gun”s as part of the post for those who need more convincing, as well as more evidence for Brothers’ conclusion. It’s a wonderful piece of work , and a warning to both Marvel and the bootleggers that someone out there is paying attention.
Update: The post has been updated with Uzumeri’s realization that the leak is a security leak, and not a person; he’s tweeted that “it was just a regular IT security issue and the hole’s plugged.” Seriously, Marvel, you owe these two something for their detecting prowess here.