If you’re a comic nerd, then I have some very good news for you. Comixology has just announced “Comixology Unlimited,” a monthly subscription service that gets you access to titles from most of the major comic book publishers, including:
- Dark Horse
- IDW Publishing
- BOOM! Studios
- Dynamite Entertainment
- Oni Press
- Valiant Entertainment
- Archie Comics
- Fantagraphics Books
- Zenescope Entertainment
- And tons more!
But before you go plunking down your $5.99 a month, you might want to read the fine print. While there are an impressive amount of publishers and titles included in the Unlimited service, it’s more like “Kindle Unlimited” than “Marvel Unlimited.” Not every back issue is included in the Unlimited service for a title. It seems that there’s enough to cover the first couple of trades. Basically enough issues for you to try out something new before you start buying up more recent trades and issues.
It’s a great way to see if a comic that you’ve been eyeing is worth your time and money. But it’s not the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord that I tend to think of when I think of services like Marvel Unlimited. While Marvel’s service is still six months behind current issues, they still include every issue that was released that week. The goal there seems more to fill the catalog ’til all comics are accounted for, not Comixology’s Netflix-style model that will add and remove comics on a rotating basis.
That’s not to say there aren’t some fantastic comics included with the Unlimited service. On Amazon, I’ve resisted Kindle Unlimited because the content offered often seems a little lacking. But here, Comixology Unlimited is giving readers tastes of some of the best comics available. Titles like Transformers, East of West, Lumberjanes, Saga, Red Sonja, and Hellboy. If you were going to get just a couple of early trades for each of those titles, you’d easily blow the $72 that a year’s subscription will put you back. My advice is to see if a comic you’re interested in is part of the Unlimited service. Just pop over to one of the publisher’s pages on Comixology and look for the “Unlimited” banner in the corner of the series’ graphic. Then click through to see what issues are covered by Unlimited.
This makes DC the only major publisher to hold out on offering an digital subscription service. I’ve gone on at length about why unlimited-style services make the most sense for comic readers in the digital age. And, honestly, as long as DC remains the only publisher not offering a sub, they’ll be the ones I read the least number of titles from. My Marvel title consumption has gone up 10-fold over the past year. I’ve read things that I would never have picked up in the store, just because I could. It didn’t always work out; but most of the time I found a new creative team or property that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise (I’m looking at you, Howard the Duck). I’m hoping that the Comixology Unlimited service will have a similar effect. Titles like Sex Criminals, that I keep hearing about but haven’t checked out yet, are perfect fodder for the thirty day free trial Comixology is currently offering. Hopefully Comixology will be a benevolent pusher and start adding more recent titles as people burn through the back catalog.