I have always loved comics. As a kid I was enthralled by the bright colors, animated pictures, and constantly progressing storylines. However, I was not a child who owned a whole stack of comic books, be they Marvel, DC, or Archie. Even at a young age I was too frugal and “clutter conscious” to be buying new flimsy, paper leaflets each week/month/etc. As I’ve grown, my aversion to owning more ‘things’ has worsened and, due to inaccessibility, the frequency of comic reading in my life diminished. You can’t read comics if you don’t buy comics. Only recently (in the last 5-ish years) have I jumped back on the bandwagon; this is thanks to Marvel Unlimited, the perfect platform for a reader with an empty wallet & tight space. Which leads me to one important question: Where is the DC version of Marvel Unlimited?
I’m going to start with a caveat: I’ve never been a collector. I understand that many people buy comics for more than just reading. They put them in plastic sheaths and store them in climate-controlled rooms, waiting for them to increase in value (or simply for the buyer to want to reread a favourite issue). That is all well and good, but it’s not for me. I buy whole-heartedly in to the motto of “less is more” when it comes to physical possessions. Perhaps it’s my fear of commitment shining through; I like the idea of having so few things that I could pack up and go at any moment. But this post is not a rant on consumerism or how we need to own less & experience more… nope, this post is supposed to be a rant about the inaccessibility of DC comics to the budget-conscious, online reader.
Before I lament there being no DC version of Marvel Unlimited perhaps I should explain what Marvel Unlimited is. Marvel Unlimited is a mobile app/online site that operates as Marvel’s digital library. For a monthly or annual fee ($9.99/month or $69/year) the subscriber has access to over 15,000 old & new issues of Marvel comics, right there on your computer (or phone or tablet). They are conveniently organized by character, series, or event, allowing you to find what you’re looking for or discover something new. I just reread AvX in its entirety (including all of the official and unofficial tie-ins), all in one well-organized location… without having to buy anything! In the course of perusing this event I took a break to read the whole run of Avengers Academy, a series I thoroughly enjoyed but never would have paid for. As someone who likes to know the WHOLE story, including whatever is going on in the subtly connected, C-rate hero’s side plot, I am enamored with the idea of having everything at my fingertips without having to worry about the charges building up on my credit card. If I sound like a commercial it is because I cannot recommend this subscription enough (I swear I’m not even being sponsored to do this post).
Of course, Marvel Unlimited has its shortfalls. I am told that there are still significant holes in its classic comic collection. This hasn’t affected me yet, as I am first trying to catch up on present day (and by present day I mean 2008) storylines before delving into the far past. And it’s at least 6 months behind current issues. Like I said, I’m still back a few years so this hasn’t been a problem for me yet but if you are concerned about knowing what is happening right now in the Marvel Universe, Marvel Unlimited will not help you with that.
But this is not a Marvel Unlimited Review (you just got that as a bonus ?). I repeat, this a rant about there not being a DC version of Marvel Unlimited.
I am a self-proclaimed Marvel girl. I like the lighter tone. But I still love a lot of DC characters, mainly the Bat Family and anyone who ties in to the Bat Family. I, along with every other comic-reading female in the world, am obsessed with Batgirl of Burnside. This run is brilliant for many reasons, one being that it has pulled me out of my Marvel haze and inspired me to catch up on the New 52 Bat Family storylines. Unfortunately this is really hard. I’ve borrowed some Batgirl, Batman, and Nightwing trade paperbacks from friends (which I’ve added to the small stack of related trades I own) but there are still so many gaps. I want to know every detail, see every tie in, and follow each step my favourite characters have taken since the reboot. But I don’t want to add another box full of books to my “stuff I’d have to move (or sell or donate or something) if I just picked up and moved to London right now”. I realize you can buy digital titles from many online distributors, but the cost adds up. The annual cost of Marvel Unlimited is equivalent to only 35 digital issues… I think I read than many last week!
I realize you want to make money… I know that this is the main goal of any company. But you are losing my viewership (and interest and fangirl-like madness) by not being user-friendly, like your main competitor Marvel. And with the success of Marvel movies (Captain America: Civil War is killing it and don’t even get me started on Deadpool), especially when compared to the Sad Ben Affleck meme-inducing Batman v. Superman (?Hello Darkness My Old Friend…?), can you really afford to alienate fans anymore? (We actually did this comparison in our post Who Did it Better – Captain America: Civil War or Batman v. Superman?) Especially fringe fans like me (an avid, but not die-hard comic fan) or the rest of the My Fangirl Life Team (the type of comic fans who read the books I give them to read)? Where is the DC version of Marvel Unlimited???
Love & Luck,