Comixology shocked the comics world (and plenty of creators) this week with the announcement of Comixology Unlimited, the digital comics answer to Marvel Unlimited, Spotify, Netflix, and subscription library services.
The promise of a “Netflix for Comics,” spread across various publishers and genres has been the holy grail of digital comics readers about as long as I can remember (I have long-term memory issues). Is Comixology Unlimited the answer to all our comics bingeing prayers?
Unlimited, As In ‘Defined by Limitations’
One of my absolute least favorite criticisms of Marvel Unlimited is that it’s not “truly” unlimited. Technically speaking, this is correct. Marvel does not place brand spankin’ new comics in the MU library until 6 months after their release, and there are blind spots in the catalog that a dedicated team regularly updates.
That said, Marvel Unlimited has full, complete runs of the vast majority of Marvel series since 1961. For $9.99 a month you can read every issue of Fantastic Four, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Iron Man, Thor… and on and on and on.
That is insane value.
Comixology Unlimited, on the other hand, is very intentionally limited. You can not binge read comics much at all, and the library is instead designed to give you a taste of a wide variety of comic book series. For example, you can read the first two volumes (12 issues) of The Walking Dead, but if you want to continue on with a series that now ranges well over 150 issues, you have to purchase the remainder on Comixology.
For a service calling itself “Unlimited,” it’s pretty reasonable to observe that it is actually very limited.
This doesn’t mean Comixology Unlimited isn’t still a good value.
At launch (May 2016), Comixology Unlimited includes first volumes and single issues across almost all the non-Big 2 (Marvel & DC) publishers. For a 30 day free trial and subsequent $5.99 a month you can read all sorts of great Image, Dark Horse, Boom, Fantagraphics, Manga books (and many more).
Considering a single trade of a first volume is typically in the $9.99 range, that’s steal absolutely one of the most affordable ways to sample some great comics. For any readers who haven’t been locked into my Hoopla Digital suggestion, this is also likely the first option for Image and Dark Horse books. That’s absolutely an exciting development for comic book readers everywhere.
What Should I Read In Comixology Unlimited?
Below, I’ve highlighted books that are available in Comixology Unlimited at launch (May 2016). Books that I include in my best comics of all time are bolded and italicized like so. You can see all the particular rankings over at Dave’s Faves. If I think is an absolute must-read, I’ve noted as much below as well!
Saga Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Pretty Deadly Vol. 1
Trees Vol. 1
Sex Criminals Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Outcast by Kirkman & Azaceta Vol. 1
Shutter Vol. 1: Wanderlust
The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 1: The Faust Act – MUST READ!
The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye – MUST READ!
The Fuse Vol. 1
Bitch Planet Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine
Black Science Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Revival Vol. 1: You’re Among Friends
The Fade Out Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Nowhere Men Vol. 1: Fates Worse Than Death – MUST READ!
Savage Dragon Vol. 1: Baptism of Fire
The Manhattan Projects Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery – MUST READ!
Invincible Vol. 1: Family Matters – MUST READ!
Fatale Vol. 1: Death Chases Me
East of West Vol. 1: The Promise – MUST READ!
Prophet Vol. 1: Remission
Stray Bullets Vol. 1: Innocence of Nihilism
Witchblade Vol. 1: Witch Hunt
Tech Jacket Vol. 1: The Boy From Earth
Rising Stars Vol. 1: Born In Fire
Morning Glories Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Manifest Destiny Vol. 1
Ghosted Vol. 1
Dark Horse Comics
MIND MGMT Vol. 1: The Manager – MUST READ!
Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon #1
Usagi Yojimbo Vol. 1 #1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Classic #1: All’s Fair
Terminator Omnibus Vol. 1
Chronicles of Conan Vol. 1: Tower of the Elephant and Other Stories
The Witcher #1
Dragon Age: The Silent Grove #1
Emily and the Strangers Vol. 1: The Battle of the Bands
Axe Cop Vol. 1
Baltimore Vol. 1: The Plague Ships
Angel: Long Night’s Journey #1
Aliens #1: Outbreak
Hellboy Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction – MUST READ!
Hellboy Vol. 2: Wake the Devil
Hellboy Vol. 3: The Chained Coffin and Others
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1952 #1
Halo: Escalation #1
Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft – MUST READ!
Transformers: Robots In Disguise (2011-) #1
Judge Dredd #1
30 Days of Night Vol. 1
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1
Star Trek (2011-) #1
Rocketeer Adventures #1 (of 4)
G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes (2011-2013) #1
Richard Stark’s Parker Vol. 1: The Hunter – MUST READ!
Samurai Jack #1
Danger Girl: Revolver
Transformers: Classics #1
Dungeons and Dragons #1
The X-Files: Season 10 #1
True Blood (2012-2013) #1
The Maxx: Maxximized #1
Ghostbusters (2013-2014) #1
G.I. Joe: Snake Eyes, Agent of Cobra #1 (of 5)
Star Trek: New Visions #1: The Mirror, Cracked
Winterworld (2014-) #1
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Classic #1
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1
Transformers: Primacy #1
G.I. Joe (2014-) #1
Garbage Pail Kids #1: Comic Book Puke-tacular
The Life After #1 – Not on my list, but loved the first issue.
The Bunker #1
Princess Ugg #1
The Sixth Gun Vol. 1
Stumptown #1 (of 4)
Wasteland Vol. 1: Cities In Dust
Letter 44 Vol. 1: Escape Velocity
Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life – Color Edition – MUST READ!
Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation: Broken Ground
Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocks Vol. 1
The Auteur Vol. 1: Presidents Day – Weird and shocking, and I was pretty into a couple issues.
Terrible Lizard #1 (of 5)
Ares & Aphrodite #1
Orphan Blade #1
Part Time Princesses #1
Possessions Vol. 1: Unclean Getaway
XOC: Journey of A Great White
XOC: Journey of A Great White
Mermin Vol. 1: Out of Water
Courtney Crumrin and The Night Things Vol. 1: Special Edition
Helheim Vol. 1: Witch War
Bravest Warriors Vol. 1
Six Gun Gorilla #1 (of 6) – MUST READ!
The Woods #1
Help Us! Great Warrior #1
Steven Universe Vol. 1
The Midas Flesh #1 (of 8)
Dead Letters Vol. 1
Clive Barker’s Next Testament Vol. 1
Irredeemable Vol. 1
Teen Dog #1
Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1
Giant Days Vol. 1
Jim Henson’s Storyteller: Dragons #1
Farscape Vol. 1 #1 (of 4)
28 Days Later Vol. 1: London Calling
Sons of Anarchy #1 (of 6)
Day Men #1
Hellraiser Vol. 1
Mouse Guard Vol. 1: Fall 1152
Herobear and the Kid: The Inheritance #1 (of 5)
Suicide Risk Vol. 1
Regular Show Vol. 1
George Perez’s Sirens #1
Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1 – MUST READ!
Love & Rockets: New Stories #1
The Complete Peanuts Vol. 1: 1950-1952
Maggie the Mechanic: The Love & Rockets Library – Locas Book 1 – MUST READ!
Barack Hussein Obama
Steve Ditko Archives Vol. 1: Strange Suspense
Happy Hour In America #1
Four Color Fear #1 (of 4): Forgotten Horror Comics of the 1950s
Unlovable Vol. 1 #1
MOME Vol. 1
Today is the Last Day of the Rest Your Life
Barnaby Vol. 1
‘Taint the Meat…It’s the Humanity!
The High Cost of Dying and Other Stories
Red Sonja Vol. 1: Queen of Plagues
The Shadow Vol. 1: Fire of Creation
Bob’s Burgers Vol. 1
Uncanny Vol. 1: Season of Hungry Ghosts
Green Hornet: Year One
Army of Darkness: Ongoing Vol. 1: Hail To the Queen, Baby!
Garth Ennis’ Jennifer Blood #1
Magnus: Robot Fighter Vol. 1: Flesh & Steel
Queen Sonja Vol. 1
Warlord of Mars Vol. 1
Vampirella Vol. 1: Crown of Worms
The Green Hornet Vol. 1: Bully Pulpit
Masks Vol. 1
Django/Zorro #1 (of 7): Digital Exclusive Edition
Army of Darkness/Xena: Warrior Princess – Why Not? #1 (of 4)
Classic Red Sonja Remastered #1
Sherlock Holmes #1 (of 5)
The Boys Vol. 1: The Name of the Game
Kirby: Genesis Vol. 1
Red Sonja: Revenge of the Gods
Red Sonja: She-Devil With a Sword Vol. 1
Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1
Dejah Thoris and the Green Men of Mars #1 (of 12)
Flash Gordon: Zeitgeist Vol. 1
Pathfinder Vol. 1: Dark Waters Rising
Army of Darkness Vol. 1: Ashes 2 Ashes
Amanda Hocking’s The Hollows: A Hollowland Graphic Novel
Why Choose Comixology Unlimited?
Comixology Unlimited is right for anyone relatively new to comics, or who is simply looking to explore a wide variety of new series. As you’ve seen in the comics list above, based on Image Comics alone, you’ll get a great taste of books you like, and hopefully develop a passion for a number of series, whether it’s Saga, Rat Queens, or any other.
The other major advantage of Comixology Unlimited is that it utilizes Comixology’s digital reading technology, which is absolutely the best in the game. If you’ve purchased comics digitally through Comixology you know that the library and reading experience is second to none, and improving pretty regularly.
Borrowing a book through Comixology Unlimited (you can borrow up to 50 at a time for offline reading) functions about the same as purchasing, and you’ll have a book ready to download to your device (in app) whenever you choose. This makes Comixology Unlimited one of the best options for long trips, as you can set up your device with way more reading material than currently available on Marvel Unlimited (12 issues at a time).
What do you think? Is Comixology Unlimited the wave of the future, or a let down compared to what you were hoping? Do what feels right to you in the comments.