Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited


For those who are unaware, Marvel not only produces movies, but they also print comic books, many of which are now available to view online for a modest sum. $10 a month, or $5 a month if you pay up front for a year. I opted for the latter as a Christmas gift to myself.

Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited (no software necessary) is not without a few irritating flaws, but overall, I'd say it was money well spent. Allow me to elaborate.

Selection:

Well that all depends on your tastes, but since we're talking Marvel here, I'll assume that you've got a soft spot for traditional super-hero fare. The flagship titles are covered pretty well, with an emphasis on 1963 original runs, big points for that, but as we come to more current (90's forward) titles, things are spotty at best. Example: A friend of mine strongly recommended Warren Ellis' NEXTWAVE: AGENTS OF H.A.T.E. to me recently. Luckily, I spot the title in the digital archives so I figure I just saved 20$+ on a graphic novel. The system works! At least it seemed to until I realized that the only available issues were #'s 1 & 7. These clever ass holes are still trying to sell me the graphic novel. This a common problem and probably my biggest complaint with the service, but I've learned to work around it.

Paper vs. Pixels:

I've had friends fall on both sides of the aisle here, to me it's more or less a non-issue. Sure, it's nice to hold a tangible comic in your hands while reading it, but lets not over-romanticize the process, after all we're talking men in rainbow tights here and you're most likely sitting on the crapper. We read for the stories and art, not the clutter on the bedroom floor or the unbearable advertisements screaming from every other page. Though it has come up in the past, I won't go into how many trees are cut down in order to print a comic or how much energy it takes to power high-tech devices since I'm not an ass-hole.

The Biz:

You will not find any comics in the digital archives that have not already been rotting away on comic shop shelves for at least 6 months already, additionally the only add you'll observe while reading a digital comic is one for the comic shop locater service, suggesting that you purchase the print version of whatever comic you're reading. Rest assured that this digital stuff is clearly no threat to the real thing and it's impact on hot off the press sales is likely to be minimal. Paper comics will go on to the end of time, so don't feel like you're cheating on a faithful lover.

In a nutshell, I now spend less on Marvel comics than I have in ages, while reading many more, thereby freeing up more cash for indie comics. It's really a win/win for a nerd of my caliber.

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Tags: Comics