Before we begin, I have to say that I am a DC Comics man through-and-through, my daughter is a Marvel fan, and my son leans to DC but follows some Marvel. A conversation with my daughter about comics usually goes something like this:
HER: Marvel is so much better than DC.
ME: I can prove that wrong by saying a single word.
HER: Please don’t.
HER: I asked you not to do that.
And so on.
That said, Marvel has mopped the floor with DC in two key areas: digital comics and feature films, and with their Marvel Unlimited service they have done something so superawesome that if it was done by DC I might never read a real book again.
The high concept for Marvel Unlimited is very simple: Netflix for comic books.
For $10 a month or $70 a year, you can subscribe to a service that delivers a huge pile of the entire marvel backlist right to your tablet or computer. A real comic costs about $3-$4 now and a digital comic about $2, so if you read 5 comics you’ve broken even.
15,000 comics and growing, from Marvel #1 up to about 6 months ago.That includes 1,432 issues of Spider-Man, 1,301 Iron Man, 837 Hulk, 888 Captain America, 882 Thor, 1,528 X-Men, 701 Avengers, 790 Fantastic Four, and on and on.
Yes, there is a delay for new comics. August and September issues seem to be coming online right about now. They’re not giving away the whole store for $10 a month: just a fairly largish chunk of it.
The scans are bright, clean, and easy to navigate, with a full page view and a panel-zoom view. I’m not fond of the panel view because it tends to clip some of the edges, but the full page view is perfectly readable and can be zoomed for greater clarity. You can either read them on WiFi, or store up to 12 for offline reading.
Even more impressive is the way the content is curated and searchable. You can pull up all the issues by any writer or artists, or any character appearance in any comic. If instant access to 241 Steve Ditko comics, 720 Jack Kirby, or 572 by the Romitas doesn’t give you a bit of a thrill, then you’re reading the wrong post. My favorite feature is the “Comic Events” sort, where you can find every issue, in order, involved in certain storylines like House of M, Civil War, and Age of Ultron. This allows you to follow storylines as they snake through the entire shared Marvel universe.
Now if only DC Comics would get in gear and do the same thing…
Download the Marvel Unlimited app for free to see what you think, and subscribe here if you want to try it out.