Marvel Offers Subscription Web Comics

Everyone is talking about Marvel’s online subscription based comic book service, Digital Comics Unlimited which launched on the 13 of November.

Offering an online subscription to older comics seems like a cool idea, but it is not something I am particularly interested in. I would much rather own the comic, whether in digital format or physical. For that matter I much prefer a physical copy. Call me outdated but reading a comic book online just doesn’t have the same feel.

I find it rather amusing that one of Marvel’s Digital Comics selling points states:

No need to download—read them directly through your web browser

That’s really more of a limitation than a feature. I’d venture to say that every subscriber would rather download the comic.

Marvel did work-in some pretty cool features to it’s Flash based comic book reader. For instance, you can click the magnifying glass icon in order to zoom in on word balloons. You can also zoom in on the page like a PDF, from there you can click and drag the screen in order to move around the page. Nothing particularly revolutionary in that feature, but it is worth mentioning that the images are large and the colors are vibrant. In other words, the comic is high quality.

You can preview pages of several comic books before deciding to pay for a subscription. Unfortunately their library is not complete at this time, however it will continue to grow.

The main area I can see this service coming in handy is research. There are times I would like to take a look at some older comics, but I really don’t want to shell out the cash to purchase an original copy, and don’t need an entire collected volume, or the collected volume is unavailable.
Even so, much like books, I would rather have a physical copy. You just can’t beat holding a comic in your hands. Reading feels less rushed with a physical copy… you also don’t have a reoccurring monthly fee when you go that route.

Marvel offers two types of subscriptions:

  • $4.99/Month Annual Subscription ( billed as one payment of $59.88 )
  • $9.99/Month Monthly Subscription ( billed monthly )

$9.99 a month seems a little steep to me, but time will tell how others feel.

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