Netflix for Comics: Where to Find Unlimited Comics Now That Scribd Has Dropped Out
What with Scribd having removed digital comics from its subscription service in early December, many comics readers are looking for their next source for a binge-reading session.
Sure, they could simply buy each of the comics as they work their way through a series, but that is a good way to lose the next several months' rent. (They might patronize a site with free comics, but the selection and support is limited.)
Luckily, there is a cheaper option.
Several companies, including Comixology and Marvel, offer unlimited reading services for a flat monthly fee. Readers can binge-read Iron-Man or Daredevil to their hearts delight without running up a huge tab.
Updated 4 July 2018: This post was updated with current pricing and the addition of DC Universe.
There are at least a half-dozen competing sites. Their catalogs and support vary widely, so let’s start with the unconventional and work our way through the obscure to the giants.
Let’s start with an honorable mention for DC Universe. This service was announced in July 2018 but hasn’t launched yet, so I can’t give you any specifics on price or selection.
To start, there’s GoComics. This is not a paid service for comic books and graphic novels; instead GoComics hosts the daily comics found on the funny pages of your local newspaper.
Here you’ll find everything from Dilbert to Andy Capp to what appears to be the complete run of Calviin and Hobbes. All of the comics can be read online, or in apps for Android, iPad, and iPhone.
ComicBlitz is a relatively newcomer in this market; it launched at the NYC Comic-Con in 2015 with just an iPad app. It has since added an iPhone app, and is currently beta-testing an Android app.
ComicBlitz is one of the few services to offer a couple different pricing tiers; they have a handful of free titles and a budget plan which costs $3.99 a month and lets you read up to ten titles. Price: $7.99 per month
Next up is Comics Fix. Edit: The ComicFix site was down when I updated this post in July 2018.
This company is on hiatus at the moment and may or may not stick around. It has apps for iOS and Android, and it also lets you read in the web browser. Price: $8.99 per month
I liked Comic Fix when I saw it several years ago, but it has struggled to get much media coverage. Few people have heard of it, so I can see why it is struggling.
The next service, on the other hand, is much better-known – for its ebooks.
Kindle Unlimited is best known as the king of ebook subscription services, but it also carries 7,700 digital comics. That is a limited selection compared to the next two services, but if your reading habits cover both comics and ebooks then this could be the service for you. Price: $9.99 per month
But if your reading habits center on comics, there’s Marvel Unlimited.
Marvel Unlimited is owned by the comic book publisher and offers access to 17,000 titles from Marvel’s catalog. The comics can be read on iOS, Android, or in your web browser. Price: $9.99 per month, or $70 per year
Marvel Unlimited is great if you’re a Marvel fan, but if you want to read more broadly then I have just the thing.
Comixology Unlimited is Amazon’s Marvel Unlimited. Amazon used their subsdiary’s contacts with comic book publishers to assemble a catalog which offers the broadest selection possible.
Comixology Unlimited launched only this summer, but thanks to Amazon’s ability to generate buzz it is bound to be one of the larger services by now. Price: $5.99 per month
So, have you tried any these services? Which one did you like the most?
Juli Monroe January 3, 2017 um 4:33 pm
I’ve been using Marvel Unlimited for about half a year now, and I love it. I used to be more a DC girl, but the quality of MCU movies convinced me to try Marvel comics, and I’ve been reading Iron Man, The Avengers, Daredevil, Captain America and Doctor Strange, on rotation. I started all of the series from their beginning, and I’ve slowly made my way to 1970. (The quality of writing improves dramatically when Stan Lee stops doing all of it.)
I had been purchasing Captain America (2004), but the cost was crazy. Once I figured out that Marvel Unlimited used the Comixology Guided view, I switched to Unlimited.
The older comics are hit or miss with Guided view (Daredevil is the best), but I can read them well enough in full page view on my iPad Mini. I wish I could take more than 12 issues offline, but even on vacation, I can usually find some WiFi coverage to switch out my selection.
I don’t binge as much as I could because after about 3 comics or so I’m ready to switch to ebooks, but I read enough to make my subscription worth what I’m paying for it.
Ed Bear January 3, 2017 um 4:51 pm
There’s also King Features (http://comicskingdom.com) which carries the strips they distribute. My faves include both of Bill Holbrook’s distributed strips, Safe Havens and On the Fastrack. $1.99/month, $19.99/year and I pay ’em cheerfully
Nate Hoffelder January 3, 2017 um 5:13 pm
Thanks! That is a new one for me!
Anthony January 3, 2017 um 6:36 pm
I just wrote a blog post myself on digital comics. However, my favorite out of the above services is Marvel Unlimited. It makes reading Marvel’s multiple books (or their money-sucking crossover-du-jour) actually affordable. Not as sold on Comixology Unlimited, though it might just be "early days".
Nate Hoffelder January 3, 2017 um 8:09 pm
That was a good post!
jhowell January 3, 2017 um 7:01 pm
Another source for comics is Hoopla (http://www.hoopladigital.com). They offer a variety of digital media available free through many public libraries.
Nate Hoffelder January 3, 2017 um 8:09 pm
Chris Meadows January 3, 2017 um 9:38 pm
I think $399 a month is just a little expensive…
Nate Hoffelder January 3, 2017 um 10:14 pm
I think it’s a fair price.
Frank January 4, 2017 um 8:58 am
Nate, when you wrote Marvel was a "moderately successful comic book publisher", it is currently the highest producing comic book publisher in the world, however at the moment DC may be selling more books due to its Rebirth event.
Nate Hoffelder January 4, 2017 um 9:00 am
That was a joke.
ComicBlitz January 4, 2017 um 3:10 pm
Thanks for the mention Nate!