Marvel Unlimited digital comic subscription service is out NOW. GAME CHANGER.

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Marvel just released an all-you-can-eat digital comics subscription service.

It's an app for iPad and iPhone and the app is free but the service is $10/mo or $60/yr.

Gizmodo has a really good review of the service here. Here are some key points:

  • It's only on iOS for now, but will be on Android "soon"
  • It's got access to 13,000 back issues, lets you add comics to your library like you would in Spotify or Rdio, can store six issues for offline reading
  • Having played with it a bit, the HTML5 reader isn't the fastest or most responsive, especially on pinch-to-zoom (which you can see in the video), but it's mostly acceptable. Still, it's a long way from the smoothness of native apps like the Comixology Marvel app, Kindle or iBook.
  • The comics available through MU are all at least six months old, and while Marvel wouldn't commit to every title making it into the service, SVP of Marvel Digital Peter Phillips told us most major titles "should be in there at six months; we're pretty timely with that." Basically, it's like waiting for the trade.
  • But Philips added, "It's more of a borrow function, meant to be used in tandem with the Marvel app." Which explains the painfully low six issues available for offline reading.
  • Phillips noted that this is just "Phase 1" of MU, with another major release coming later in 2013, but would only add that it's a "fan club membership opportunity."
  • The reason that the available library is different from the Marvel (and Comixology) app's library is the two services use different formats.

I can't decide if I want to spend $10 to play around with this but it sounds interesting at least. I just downloaded it and will see what all is in there.
 

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I ended up springing for the year-long subscription. $5/mo seems very much worth it.

THE GOOD: There are a LOT of comics on here. Entire runs of Bendis Daredevil, Brubaker Daredevil, Morrison New X-Men, Millar Fantastic Four, Hickman Fantastic Four, etc etc etc.

THE BAD: It is pretty slow, but I think that might just be from new traffic and that should even out. The organization of the comics is an absolute mess; wrong covers EVERYWHERE, issues appearing out of order, etc. Hopefully that is just another symptom of the expanded traffic today. Also - the quality is good but it is most definitely not retina display (talking iPad terms here). If you zoom in things get pixelated. It looks fine in regular view.

I've also had a lot of crashes, especially when opening (not resuming) the app .
 

Donaghey

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I tried this a few months months back and thought it was great for me since I've only been reading comics for a year now. It's helped me catch up with some back stories, but i canceled my subscription due to being restricted to a PC to read them. As soon as its avaliable on android I'll re subscribe.
Cheers for the info. :-D
 

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I tried this a few months months back and thought it was great for me since I've only been reading comics for a year now. It's helped me catch up with some back stories, but i canceled my subscription due to being restricted to a PC to read them. As soon as its avaliable on android I'll re subscribe.
Cheers for the info. :-D

Hey - welcome.

I've seen people post that it works in the Android web browser so you don't need a dedicated app (even though they are working on one).
 

ProjectX2

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I've always wanted something like this. If they get the rest of their library on there and maybe make the reader similar to Comixology then I'll definitely pay $60 a year to use it.
 

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I've always wanted something like this. If they get the rest of their library on there and maybe make the reader similar to Comixology then I'll definitely pay $60 a year to use it.

I'm not sure how much like Comixology they can make it. The scans are different scans from what Comixoogy uses. If it was more stable like Comixology is that would definitely be better because this is buggy and laggy, but I'm not sure what they can do as far as functionality.

As for the library, they add a LOT of new stuff every week, and a good portion of it is new-ish (6 mos. old or so).

My problem is this - there is absolutely no polish to this thing. A person can go crazy trying to navigate issues because there are so many that are out of order. The scans themselves seem to be missing "layers". Think of it like Photoshop: the artist draws his stuff, it gets scanned, and the word balloons and letters are added digitally. You'd put a layer over the art for the balloons, and a layer over that for the words. There are a LOT of places where the words are directly over the art, with no balloons. Some words are completely impossible to read.

They send out weekly emails showcasing new additions to the service, and the email is all malformed and hard to read.

There is zero quality control on this. There are a lot of stories I want to read that I can't because things are missing. And if I can't read them on demand, then what is the point of paying for it? It's frustrating.
 

Captain Canuck

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This is starting to catch up to Marvel Now's number ones. I think I'll invest in a year's subscription next month so I can start reading Hickman's Avengers! $60 for the year, getting comics I want to read but don't want to pay for six months later, and a whole heap of back issues... it's a good deal!


EDIT:
My problem is this - there is absolutely no polish to this thing. A person can go crazy trying to navigate issues because there are so many that are out of order. The scans themselves seem to be missing "layers". Think of it like Photoshop: the artist draws his stuff, it gets scanned, and the word balloons and letters are added digitally. You'd put a layer over the art for the balloons, and a layer over that for the words. There are a LOT of places where the words are directly over the art, with no balloons. Some words are completely impossible to read.

They send out weekly emails showcasing new additions to the service, and the email is all malformed and hard to read.

There is zero quality control on this. There are a lot of stories I want to read that I can't because things are missing. And if I can't read them on demand, then what is the point of paying for it? It's frustrating.

Hmm... is it still like this? That might affect my decision.
 
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Hmm... is it still like this? That might affect my decision.

Yes, but strangely it mostly seems to affect comics that are, say 12-15 years old. Mid-90s stuff. The first books that were being composed using digital effects (i.e. Photoshop, etc.). I might just be assuming things here, but it looks like maybe, for example, software was used to do certain things that either isn't available any more or doesn't work properly for them to make newer digital files.

Comics from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are pretty much fine. New comics look great.

There are still MAJOR date problems. There are a ton of comics dated something like November 2, 0002 which screws up the display order pretty bad.

The iOS app itself is better. There have been a couple updates that have improved speed and performance significantly.
 

Captain Canuck

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Well, I got it. I'm actually very happy with it so far. There have been a couple instances where I noticed a missing issue, and a few more where the cover has been wrong, but it's definitely worth the $70 for the year. I have already read a bunch of stuff from the past year that I wanted to read but didn't care enough to buy and also I've gone through and added maybe 15 ongoings or miniseries to my library to read later. This is going to kill my productivity.
 

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Well, I got it. I'm actually very happy with it so far. There have been a couple instances where I noticed a missing issue, and a few more where the cover has been wrong, but it's definitely worth the $70 for the year. I have already read a bunch of stuff from the past year that I wanted to read but didn't care enough to buy and also I've gone through and added maybe 15 ongoings or miniseries to my library to read later. This is going to kill my productivity.

I didn't even think anything about the wrong cover art because it is EVERYWHERE and constant and I've just kind of accepted it, and it's the least of its problems.

It's a cool service and probably worth the money, but it's so badly managed, riddled with errors, and hard to navigate that I'm not sure I'll renew my subscription.
 

Captain Canuck

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Yeah, the missing issues, errors, and bugs are getting frustrating, but I still feel that it's worth it for the unlimited access to what IS there. Hopefully Marvel will pour some serious time into it soon and fix the issues.
 

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There was an update to this recently which was supposed to fix a lot if bugs. I haven't noticed a difference in performance. You do have the ability to change display orders.

They continue to add a lot of comics all the time. Generally they add more than 100 every week.

They fixed the formatting on the weekly emails, so that's good.

There are still a ton of issues with that November 2, 0002 date which causes them to be out if order. Incredibly annoying if you're trying to read a series sequentially.

They haven't fixed ANY of the word balloon errors I mentioned earlier.

Lots of weird omissions. Like, they have the 1602 series but its missing issue 2. They are missing the last 3 issues of the Brubaker Captain America series (1st volume). They don't have Fantastic Four 600 and I think a couple other Hickman issues, but have most of the rest.

Also with the update they announced a $99/year option that gets you some bonus convention stuff and discounts on digital comics.

Still a good deal at $5/mo, but with all the problems I'm not sure I would renew at $10.
 

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