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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

Comixology Unlimited: More about discovery than binging

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Dan beat me to it, but I want to add a little more about Comixology Unlimited, the $6/month subscription service announced today.

Comixology Unlimited’s catalog doesn’t really offer lengthy runs of dozens of issues as Marvel’s subscription service does. Invincible has produced 128 issues, but only the first eight are on Unlimited.

I talked to Comixology CEO David Steinberger this morning, and he told me that this service was “designed from the ground up to increase the amount of people reading and engaging with comics.” This is what makes this service different from what Marvel offers: It’s designed for discovery of new comics, not for binges through the massive catalogs of long-running series. The service starts with a 30-day free trial, which Comixology hopes will entice new comics buyers to dip their toes in the water.

That’s great—I’m looking forward to reading Attack on Titan on Steinberger’s recommendation—but it does change the feel of the service. The ultimate goal is to let you try a bunch of comics risk free (for the price of two or three new comics per month), but with the hope that once you’re hooked, you’ll be converted into a buyer of the later issues of those comics.1

Steinberger said that Comixology will be adding new comics to the service monthly, but comics may also be removed from the service over time. Removing content from a subscription service can make people very unhappy, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens there. I’d hate to be halfway through a story arc, only to have the book I’m reading removed from the service.

While I would rather have seen a Marvel-like service that would allow me to binge the first 80 issues of The Walking Dead rather than just the first 12, I can see what Comixology is trying to do here. It’s not a Netflix for comics, but a relatively cheap way to try a bunch of new comics that you’d never otherwise buy.

The diversity of publishers offered by Comixology Unlimited also means there’s a greater diversity of subject matter: While it’s easy to equate “comic books” with “superheroes”, it’s also inaccurate. Sure, superheroes are in the mix at Comixology Unlimited—my favorite, Image’s Invincible, is included—but there’s also plenty of crime, horror, manga, sci-fi, and kid-focused stuff.

If you’re new to comics—or have limited yourself to superhero stuff from Marvel and DC—it’s worth checking out Comixology Unlimited. The 30-day trial will give you a good idea if it’s the right service for you, and you just might discover a new favorite. (Seriously, give Buffy Season Eight and Invincible a look.)

  1. Yes, this is a subscription service designed to get you to buy more comics. Diabolical. 

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