BAM! Maybe Comixology will be the Netflix of comics with $5.99 Unlimited monthly service

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For years we’ve been wondering when a streaming comics model would be introduced that really opened up comics to the popular Netflix model of reading. There have been many attempts, but Comixology just hit a slam dunk with Comixology Unlimited, a $5.99 a month streaming service that offers everything from The Walking Dead to Attack on Titan to Lumberjanes. Publishers in the initial launch include Image, Dark HorseIDW Publishing, BOOM!, Dynamite, Kodansha, Oni, Valiant Entertainment, Archie , Fantagraphics, Humanoids, Action Lab Entertainment, Aspen, Zenescope and more.

No Marvel and DC or Viz as you can see. Marvel already has its own Netflix for Marvel with Marvel Unlimited, which costs $9.99 a month. (DC Comics, time to get in on this easy money.) But pretty much every one else is there for the party. According to an interview at EW, just like with Netflix not all titles will always be available on the service as books cycle in and out.

The service debuts today for a 30 day free trial, and is available on the web or via the Comixology app for Fire Tablet, Android, iOS and on the web at comixology.com.

“We’re in a new golden age of storytelling with more incredible comics, graphic novels and manga than ever before,” said comiXology’s CEO and Co-Founder David Steinberger. “ComiXology Unlimited is fantastic portal to tons of great comics at a ridiculously great price. Get in there and start exploring.”

No word on what the blackout time will be for new releases. Guess I’ll have to jump in and find out.

In recent years companies from existing ebook services such as Scribd and startups like ComicBlitz have tried to get in on this game, but none offer the range of publishers that Comixology does. And Anyone who can’t afford $5.99 to read a ton of great digital comics is probably too poor to read comics
period. This is an offer you can’t refuse.

IT’s been a while since there was a shake-up to the fundamental economic model of comics. This starts out small but who knows where it will go.

Next: Who will be the HULU of comics?

More deets on Unlimited:

ComiXology Unlimited features include:

• Unlimited reading, on any device: Access thousands of digital comics, graphic novels and manga including best sellers like The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Hellboy, Adventure Time, Peanuts, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Lumberjanes, Saga, The Umbrella Academy, Outcast, and Transformers. Enjoy offline reading using the comiXology app on Fire Tablet, Android, iOS, or streaming on the web at comixology.com.

• Exceptional Content:  Whether you’re into sci-fi or slice-of-life, comiXology Unlimited offers the widest subscription selection of digital comics in the world. With an immense catalog and cinematic Guided View reading experience, the comic you want is always at your fingertips.

• Free one-month trial: Not sure if you’re up for binging on comics? Enjoy the first month free and explore our expansive digital library.


“You may have heard of Love and Rockets, Krazy Cat and Ignatz, or Lumberjanes – but had no idea where to start reading or what collection to buy. Now you can simply start reading all these great titles today,” said John D. Roberts, comiXology Co-Founder. “ComiXology is changing the game again. First, we ignited digital via our Guided View reading technology. Now, with comiXology Unlimited, everyone can easily explore the expansive world of comics.”

Selections from the following great series are available today, and we’ll continue to add more titles over time:


Adventure Time by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline and various (BOOM! Studios)
Aliens by Mark Verheiden, Sam Kieth, Peter Milligan and various (Dark Horse Comics)
Archie by Mark Waid and Fiona Staples (Archie Comics)
Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama (Kodansha Comics)
Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener (Tesladyne)
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro (Image Comics)
Bloodshot by Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia and Arturo Lozzi (Valiant Entertainment)
The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson (Dynamite Entertainment)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Joss Whedon and various (Dark Horse Comics)
Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
The Complete Peanuts by Charles Schulz (Fantagraphics Books)
Conan the Barbarian by Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan (Dark Horse Comics)
Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima (Kodansha Comics)
Fatale by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (Image Comics)
Ghostbusters by Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, and various (IDW Publishing)
G.I. Joe by Chuck Dixon, Robert Atkins and various (IDW Publishing)
Grimm Fairy Tales by Ralph Tedesco, Joe Tyler and various (Zenescope Entertainment)
Godzilla by Duane Swierczynski, Arthur Adams, Simon Gane and various (IDW Publishing)
Hellboy by Mike Mignola (Dark Horse Comics)
Hip Hop Family Tree by Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics Books)
The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Moebius (Humanoids)
Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark (Image Comics)
Letter 44 by Charles Soule and Alberto Alburquerque (Oni Press)
Lone Wolf and Cub by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima (Dark Horse Comics)
Love and Rockets by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics Books)
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing)
Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Noelle Stevenson and Brooke Allen (BOOM! Studios)
My Little Pony by Katie Cook and Andy Price (IDW Publishing)
Outcast by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta (Image Comics)
Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios (Image Comics)
Princeless by Jeremy Whitley and various (Action Lab Entertainment)
Red Sonja by by Gail Simone, Jenny Frison, and Walter Geovanni (Dynamite Entertainment)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Serenity by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews and Will Conrad (Dark Horse Comics)
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)
Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
Spawn by Todd McFarlane (Image Comics)
Star Trek by Mike Johnson, Stephen Molnar, Joe Corroney and various (IDW Publishing)
Poorcraft: The Funnybook Fundamentals of Living Well on Less by C. Spike Trotman and (Iron Circus Comics)
Transformers by John Barber, Andrew Griffith, Marcelo Matere and various (IDW Publishing)
The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá (Dark Horse Comics)
Usagi Yojimbo by Stan Sakai (Dark Horse Comics)
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics)
The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie (Image Comics)
Wonderland by Raven Gregory and Sheldon Goh (Zenescope Entertainment)
Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce (Fantagraphics)
X-O Manowar by Robert Venditti and Cary Nord (Valiant Entertainment)
…and many more.

Comments

  1. comicsatemybrain says

    Based on posts I am seeing on other sites, some of those listed titles are only available as volume 1 collected editions. Volumes 2 and up is available outside of the Unlimited model, i.e., you get those only via purchase outside of your Unlimited service.

    So the question might not be “what is the blackout period for new releases” but rather “what is the blackout period for these publisher’s back catalog.”

  2. says

    One danger I see here is the same effect that Netflix has on movie purchases, and Pandora has on music purchases: people who are paying a monthly fee for all the content they can consume are often reluctant to pay “extra” for content that isn’t included in the buffet.

    Likewise, if Comixology Unlimited offers as much comics as a person is interested in reading (and more), they’ll be less likely to hand over additional money for comics that aren’t included. (Is this even open to the second-class “Submit” publishers?)

    Even if that monthly fee is low, rather than thinking “I’ve saved a lot of money, so I can spend it on these other comics,” many will think “why do these other comics cost so much?” That can hurt sales, by price-comparison. And as many recording artists will tell you – even those who are let into the buffet system – this kind of commodity-content-rental tends to drive down per-consumer income for creators, by paying smaller royalties.

  3. Jer says

    . Volumes 2 and up is available outside of the Unlimited model, i.e., you get those only via purchase outside of your Unlimited service.

    Ah – so it’s more like the Amazon Prime of comics. Actually, that kind of makes sense.

  4. Aila says

    The manga selection is crap for unlimited. I signed up for a free trial cause I saw they had viz, but when I go to try some titles out it just wants me to buy the book. This feels like it’s just a fancy front for a comic digital bookstore. I rather not until they fix that since there’s only so many western monthlies I buy, and they’re mostly DC and Marvel.

  5. Torsten Adair says

    I kind of already follow this model, as I work in publishing, and have access to numerous review copies for “free”. (Yes, I balance my karma by donating regularly to the Hero Initiative. in lieu of royalties.) Some are via digital ARCs, some are actual books and magazines.

    When I buy a graphic novel or comic, it’s specifically for my collection. Rarely is it because someone mentioned it as a great title to read… I have BOXES of great titles waiting to be read!

    So, yeah, there will be people who read for free, just like at a library. (Lots of comics at your library. What they don’t have, they can either order for the collection, or request via Interlibrary Loan.)
    Is the royalty model similar (the creator earns money from the sale of the volume to the library, but not on how often it circulates)?

    What WILL happen is that you get people who are well read.
    They will be literate fans, similar to what one finds in romance and science fiction fandoms.
    You’ll get a more diverse fandom as well.
    Some might actually produce new titles, adding to the rich tapestry of the format.

    And, yes, some might actually be inclined to buy the next volume. Or to stand in line to buy a paper edition signed by the creators. Or recommend the title to someone else.

    Which… is what creators want. To be noticed.

    And really…. why are we even discussing this? Crossgen (Comics on the Web: subscription model, c.2002) and Boom (North Wind, via MySpace, 2008) proved that giving away free digital copies drives paper sales.

  6. joey says

    the world is changing. You either want to reach a new generation of customers in ways that are relevant and new or you dont.

    Comic shops are important, but they’re not the only way. We’ve seen digital driving paper sales too.

  7. BobH says

    “And really…. why are we even discussing this? Crossgen (Comics on the Web: subscription model, c.2002) and Boom (North Wind, via MySpace, 2008) proved that giving away free digital copies drives paper sales.”

    Crossgen, a company that went bankrupt shortly after their failed experiment, and Boom’s NORTH WIND, a title which failed to make Diamond’s Top 300 when published, prove what exactly?

  8. Wallace Strong says

    Librarian here.

    If it’s available in your country, check with your local public library to see if they offer access to Hoopla Digital, an online collection containing tons of graphic novels, collected editions, and single issues from DC, Image, Darkhorse, Valiant, and many more publishers. If your public library doesn’t offer a subscription, make a formal request for them to begin one. Librarians love to honor requests!

  9. Waymond says

    Meh, I’ll wait and see if they offer it as part of an Amazon Prime account.

    A Comixology account comes out to $72 / year, plus I’m paying $99 / year for Prime, and $104 / year for Netflix.

    Listing all these, I realize my subscriptions and entertainment budget are adding up.

  10. Daniel says

    @Wallace Strong
    Thank you, just checked out the service and it’s pretty amazing!

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