Digital comics

Marvel, DC, and Comixology: A Guide to Digital Comics

WandaVisionThe first season of is about to end, but Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Loki, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The batman, GCPD, and Peacemaker are just around the corner – and that doesn’t take into account other series outside of the main Marvel and DC universes like MODOK, Titans, Where Harley quinn.

There are more superhero TV shows and movies debuting in 2021 than ever before, and some people might want to dive into the comics. WandaVision led a few staff members to dig into earlier scenarios centered on Vision and Wanda Maximoff, for example. I started reading Kieron Gillen Eternals race leading to the Marvel Studios film. Whatever the reason people want to start reading comics, there are different ways to do it.

Comics can be an expensive hobby. New issues typically cost $ 3.99 each, and if someone reads eight or nine different sets at a time, those charges can add up week after week. Do not take this guide as a recommendation on which series to explore. If you are looking for that, Susana Polo, the comic editor of our partner site, Polygon, does a weekly recap of the books she reads and recommends. (It’s a staple part of my week, and it helps me figure out any issues I want to tackle or start a series that I might enjoy.)

Instead, it’s a guide to the different subscription methods available for people who want to consume multiple comics at once and do so cost-effectively. These aren’t the only options, but they are some of the easiest. There are three main comic book subscription services:

  • Unlimited comixology ($ 6 per month)
  • Marvel Unlimited ($ 10 per month or $ 70 per year)
  • DC Universe Infinite ($ 8 per month from $ 75 per year)

Unlimited comixology

It really is, really good time for people to start getting into comics because of the subscription models that are out there. If you’re just getting started, I recommend Comixology Unlimited because it has the most diverse options as well as a lot of mainstream stuff. (Comixology is available as an add-on through your Amazon Prime account.) Over 25,000 comics are available.

There are opportunities to read fantastic series from publishers like Vertigo (Sweet tooth, the invisible) or Image Comics (Sexual criminals, The Fade Out, Blackbird, Fatale, and Kick ass), alongside the best Marvel series (Captain America, Iron Man, Immortal Hulk, Hawkeye, etc.) and DC (Batman, Teen Titans, Wonder Woman, Justice League Dark, etc.).

What I love most about Comixology Unlimited is being able to explore any type of book. I will often click on an editor, like Valiant or Dark Horse, and search through what is offered through the Unlimited subscription. At this point, if there is a commercial paperback book available (this is a term that refers to a number of unique printed issues, between four and 12 issues, but usually six) for someone to read. For example, if someone wanted to read Matt Fraction’s book Hawk Eye, they can do this by reading different volumes that collect a number of unique print numbers. This is the best way to find older gems that people may not have heard of before, especially if they are new to comics.

One downside to Comixology Unlimited is that the Marvel and DC Comics offerings may seem less than ideal for dedicated fans. When I was trying to read a number of old issues for WandaVision, specifically (and after seeing a Tumblr post on a former The Incredible Hulk 80s arc that I wanted to check out), I realized I was still going to have to buy a bunch of them. Even though there was a lot that I could read for free – all House of M is part of Unlimited, for example – to read the whole story, I was going to have to use Marvel Unlimited.

Unlimited Marvel

Marvel Unlimited has over 27,000 digital comics for you to read. You can download up to 12 comics to take with them at any time, and the Marvel team (alongside the recommendation algorithms) will be curating a series of books that will appear when you’re looking for something to read. It’s a great app for exploring classic tales and some of the best tracks from popular characters like Iron Man and Captain America. There is also the Star wars universe to explore.

The biggest downside is with new individual issues. Currently new issues in current arcs like The Amazing Spider-Man Where the eternal are uploaded to Marvel Unlimited three months after their first release. So, around once the first three issues of a running run are available, they’ll start appearing in Marvel Unlimited. This is not good news for anyone trying to stay on top of a number of Marvel titles. (These issues can also be purchased on Comixology for $ 3.99 or $ 3.39 with the Comixology Unlimited discount.)

I would say Marvel Unlimited is the best for anyone who really wants to dive into reading almost every comic that Marvel has released over the years. If your goal is to browse all the different Spider-Man comics released since 1962, Marvel Unlimited is your best bet to do it for the cheapest price.

DC Infinite Universe

The same goes for DC Universe Infinite. It used to be DC Universe, a service that offered comics but also a few TV shows (Harley Quinn, Teen Titans) and some older DC movies. When HBO Max launched, TV shows and movies moved to the WarnerMedia streaming platform, and DC Universe was relaunched as a comic book platform called DC Universe Infinite.

In an effort to make DC Universe Infinite feel a bit special, DC Comics has done a few new things. The company has committed to carry over the catalog titles of “Vertigo, Black Label and Milestone comic book prints,” according to Polygon. There will also be exclusive titles from DC Comics that live exclusively on DC Universe Infinite. The platform currently offers more than 24,000 comics. Like Marvel Unlimited, new versions aren’t available right away. They will be released on DC Universe Infinite six months after release.

Again, Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe Unlimited are great for people who want to read so many previous comics featuring their favorite superheroes for one cheap monthly price. They aren’t perfect for anyone looking to read only new stuff. Your best bet is to use a digital retailer – or support your local comic book store if physical prints are more your thing.

What seems quite inevitable is that Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe Unlimited will be offered in a bundle with Disney Plus and HBO Max, respectively. The entertainment conglomerates that own all of these properties want people to stay in their world, hence all the new movies and TV shows on the streaming services. When that happens, it will be much easier for people to watch an episode of something like Loki then dive into the character’s story.