Not Quite There Yet: ComiXology Unlimited

It seems like everything is going subscription-based: toys (loot crate), productivity apps (Microsoft Word, Adobe Creative Cloud), movies/TV (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime), and so on. I can see the benefits and drawbacks for both the producers and consumers. I’ve tried a few of the afore mentioned services, most of which I’ve dropped. The latest offering on the market is ComiXology Unlimited. It’s a read-all-the-comics-you-want for a low monthly fee service. Depending on your reading interests ComiXology Unlimited is either a’ight or almost worthless.

The most glaring omission is DC & Marvel titles. I don’t know if there are plans to add them. I cannot imagine ComiXology, who is owned by Amazon, would pass up being a one-stop shopping experience for all one’s comic reading needs. Thing is, Marvel has their own service, Marvel Unlimited. As such, I’m sure there is no rush to sign on with other distributors.

DC might be a more likely candidate for a deal, but there hasn’t been any word about them looking to partner with someone, or of them starting their own service for that matter.

I can understand why not having DC and Marvel titles have turned many people off. They’re the big two, and for many comic readers the only two. Yet, DC and Marvel missing from the line up did not deter me in the slightest. I’m the epitome of the curmudgeonly “these damn kids wouldn’t know good if it came up and bit them one the buttocks!” In other words, DC and Marvel have lost all interest to me. Between all of the stupid, convoluted story lines and all the cross-over story arcs to sell more comics, I have had enough.

The stuff I’m into are from the smaller presses—Oni, Boom!, Dark Horse—and that’s exactly what ComiXology Unlimited offers.

Sort of.

The “sort of” is why ComiXology Unlimited is at best a’ight.

ComiXology Unlimited offers just enough to pique your interest. Then, if you want to continue reading, you have to purchase the later comics.

For instance, I decided to try “Letter 44” from Oni Press. ComiXology offers the first volume, or issues #1-6, to read as part of the subscription. The story is great and by the end I was salivating for more—and there is more. The series is up to #25, with issues #26-27 available for pre-order. SUH-weet!

Except I have to buy them if I want to read them.

Fine. I want to support Oni, and in turn the creative team behind “Letter 44.” I’m not trying to get something for nothing. My problem is with having to pay to be teased. There are several other titles I started but then ended just as it was getting good:

  1. Lone Wolf and Cub vol. 1-4
  2. The Goon vol. 1
  3. Irredeemable vol. 1-2
  4. Saga vol. 1

There are many other great titles, but only just enough of each to hook you. I understand the business plan there, and I suppose it’s a good one in a certain respect. Namely, to draw in a customer. The problem is there’s a good chance that this will turn off the reader and precipitate his/her cancelation of his/her service. That’s exactly what has happened with me. Knowing how volatile comic book nerds can be this might backfire on them in a big way.

It reminds me of strip clubs. I have never gone because I can’t get my mind around paying to get “blue balls,” or worse still, sitting around in undies full of baby batter. Ugh. No thanks.

Maybe that’s not the best analogy. It’s a long stretch to say ComiXology Unlimited and strip clubs are the same thing—because they are not—, but at the same time they are not completely different.

Perhaps it would be better to compare ComiXology Unlimited to a time share. You get to have “just enough” of a good time that you want more but can’t have more unless you pay for it, that is, buy a condo (or comics) yourself.

If ComiXology ever gets to the point where they are offering the entire library then a subscription will be worth the price, maybe even a bit higher. Until then, if I’m going to have to spend more money to continue on I’ll just do that from the get go. It makes more sense to apply the monthly fee to a comic or two. Granted, there’s a chance that by dropping my subscription the service will never get off the ground, assuming many other readers do likewise. Hmm, the old “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Oh well, I think as it is now, I’ll be damned because I don’t.

2 Replies to “Not Quite There Yet: ComiXology Unlimited”

  1. I am interested in a couple of subscription boxes, but I am just not sure. I want someone to let loose on trains and plastic models, but comics wouldn’t be a bad second. For me, it wouldn’t be bad it they put out all those back issues of 80 and 90’s comics (and stuff from the early 2000’s). That might be a way to free up backlog space, but probably wouldn’t do much for the newer generation of fans.
    Your review was good and, at least, got me thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I agree, there is so much great stuff from the 80s-90s. There is plenty I missed that I’m trying to catch up on (Y The Last Man, Hellblazer, anything Alan Moore had a hand in, etc). I’m almost certain that we’ll eventually get to where most everything is available digitally. Likely won’t be one-stop shop, but it will be available nonetheless.

      Liked by 1 person

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