DC Comics Really Needs An All-You-Can-Read Subscription Service

DC Comics Really Needs An All-You-Can-Read Subscription Service

There's no good way to digitally jump into the history of DC Comics -- you know, only one of the most storied comics publishers ever -- and that's a damn shame.

The House of Superman just ended a big crossover that reintroduced a multiverse to their fiction and trafficked in re-surfacing older versions of characters for the last few months. Gee, if only there were some way to gorge on all those momentous events and fan-favourite interpretations...

Now would be the perfect time for DC Comics to unveil an all-you-can-eat offering like Marvel Unlimited, something that opens up the company's back-catalogue for a recurring subscription fee. For $US10 a month, Marvel Unlimited lets you go all the way back to the 1960s on certain titles. You can see Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and their co-creators laying the groundwork for the company's most popular and quirkiest characters, and then see how those personas evolve over the decades. It's how I managed to take the long view on Daredevil recently and, frankly, having all that history at your beck and call is amazing.

The big hitch with Marvel Unlimited is that its most recent titles are six months behind the newest issues. Nevertheless, I've got a few friends who primarily read their Marvel Comics on the company's Unlimited service and say they don't mind being six months behind on the drama and goings-on in the books they're reading. And if you want to get current on an ongoing title, you can always pony up for the full-price option.

It's really baffling for a company like DC -- which rightfully prides itself so much on its own history -- doesn't have an equivalent digital service. One friend of mine joked that DC hasn't done this because they don't want people remembering how good their output used to be. But that's just trash talk. They do offer their older comics at a discount of $US1.99 and will have $US0.99/issue sales on storefronts like Comixology. But that still adds up if you want to binge on, say, the Alan Grant/Norm Breyfogle Shadow of the Bat title from the 1990s.

I don't mean to underplay the amount of work it takes to scan, edit and re-present thousands of printed-on-paper comics. But a lot of DC's classic output has already gone through digital reproduction on its way to fancy re-releases and more recently produced titles are in the pipeline on a regular basis. DC Comics has metric tons of great, weird and so-bad-they're-good stories left behind by the whims of editorial changes and shifting trends. Letting readers re-discover them would be a great way of reminding people that they have been a shop that let interesting work flower under their banner.


Comments

    I'd love a DC Unlimited. In fact, if it included the Vertigo output, I'd probably subscribe to it over Marvel unlimited, because a lot of DC arcs are really great.

    Marvel Unlimited is good, but they need to fix up the way you read big arcs and their associated books. Being able to better read a "playlist" would make stuff like rereading Civil War so much easier.

    Really? I have so many titles on Comixology I dunno if I could be buggered to start again. However I guess it would be a good idea for people who are new to comics or don't already have a digital collection.

      For me with Marvel Unlimited, it was for the deep dive old arcs. Before that I'd been torrenting, but I figured I'd go legit.

      Buying all of a big marvel event and all of the associated tie-ins, or a deep read of a character's arc, can get expensive quickly.

        This is a fantastic article because I didn't even know that Marvel Unlimited actually existed.

        This would've made following Civil War (Iron Man rules!) a lot easier. Er... I think? I mean, there are searching options, right? Surely you can search for any issues which happen to be tagged, say... Wolverine, right? And thus read every single appearance of the bestest Marvel character Logan ever? Asking for a friend.

          Yes, they tag them by character and by arc (Also by creator, so you can read everything Mark Waid has touched).

          According to my quick click on the app, there are 1055 comics tagged "Wolverine." And that's not including Ultimate Wolverine.

            Installed app on ipad. In the immortal words of George Takei... "Oh my."

              I think you still need to actually sign up through the marvel website

    $9.99 a month, place a 2-3 month "buffer" between new books hitting the system. Add playlists sorted by title, release date, story arc... BOOM! Profit!

      Seriously, I'd take a direct clone of Marvel's service. That's all it'd need to be for me to pony up the cash.

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