For those who are living under a rock and/or haven’t been paying much attention to comics news lately, Marvel launched their Digital Comics “Unlimited” service today, offering unlimited access to Marvel’s back-library for $9.99 per month or $59.88 per year.
This is definitely a step in the right direction for Marvel, but the journey’s not over. $59.88 for a year of unlimited comics is a damn good price tag and I’d gladly pay it, if not for a few things. First, you have to view these comics in Marvel’s proprietary program, in your browser; you can’t download these comics and you don’t actually own the issues. Second, you can’t read any comics until they’re at least six months old.
Both of these things put Marvel’s system at a disadvantage against the pirating system in place on torrent sites and whatnot. If I was so inclined, I could download just about any comic I want, a few days after it is released, absolutely free, and have several choices in how I view it. Not only am I saving money, I’m getting a superior product, compared to Marvel’s digital system.
When the publishers offer a system to buy digital comics, on their release date, preferably for a lower price than print copies, I will be among the first to sign up and I imagine there will be thousands – at least – right behind me, earning the publishers quite a bit of profit. Until that day, they’ll all be at a disadvantage, except in the collector’s market.
Don’t get me wrong, though. This is definitely a step in the right direction and I’m sure there will be plenty of subscribers. I just hope Marvel can keep going down this path and that others will follow their lead.]