I recently made the move from buying digital comics to an all you can read subscription via Marvel Unlimited.
Although this service only offers Marvel Comics it fits closely to my reading habits: Star Wars, Captain America and Iron Man (If I ever have a need for DC or Superman I can fall back on my fathers’ collection spanning a couple of decades)
The second limitation is a delay between print and availability in Marvel Unlimited of about three months. But since I tend to keep issues aside until a story arc has finished, it basically turns a weekly issue into a binge read every couple of months for my favorite series.
I read comics on a 13” iPad and I’m used to the way ComiXology works. Marvel Unlimited is similar but it has its rough edges:
- No dual page landscape layout.
- No bulk edit actions to mark as read or add to library.
- Sometimes the app is stuck on a spinning loader between pages.
It has a nice guided view to focus on panels instead of pages, and since it’s an unlimited stream of content, starting a series and just keeping on reading while going from issue to issue works perfectly.
The Home Screen is focused on “where you left of” similar to Netflix or Disney Plus does for tv series and it kept my read status in sync across iPad, Web and iPhone without a hitch.
As mentioned, the service seems to offer all recent Marvel comics up to three month ago, and I even managed to read nineties Star Wars which used to fall under the Dark Horse banner.
I did have a list of unread items in ComiXology, and I managed to migrate it all to Unlimited and add it to its library without any missing items.
As mentioned, the app lacks bulk actions. Luckily, there is a handy Chrome extension (or hack) that does offer Bulk Library additions.
Why move to a streaming service?
I used to buy paper comics with my dad. Somewhere around 2010 we both moved to digital only for convenience sake both to get the comics immediately, read them on the bus/train/anywhere and it takes up way less space.
The fact that we both shared the ComiXology account and that we could each discover new comics thanks to each other’s purchases was an extra bonus.
Last Christmas I did my yearly inventory of expenses and noted that the unread pile of digital comics was more than a years’ worth of Marvel Unlimited and that the median age of those comics was +6 months.
Moving to a subscription was thus a no brainer since I wouldn’t be hit by the 3 month availability delay and I would save a lot of money.
And admit it, everything is a subscription these days.