Marvel is planning some big digital announcements at SXSWi, it interactve conference taking place at the end of the week, it seems, and to kick things offer they’re making all the comics in their Marvel Unlimited app available for 99¢ for the next two weeks. You can also download 12 of the comics for free. This is an introductory subscription offer—similar to those you get for the Franklin Mint series of Presidential Chia Pets, for instance—in subsequent months you’ll be billed at the going rate for Marvel Unlimited.

This seems to be a shot across the bows at Marvel emphasizing its own digital comics portal, as the expense of ComiXology, as may have been hinting at for a year or so.

It’s also a year since Comixology offering a bunch of free Marvel comics during SXSWi crashed the Copmixlogy site. So is history repeating itself a bit?

Marvel Unlimited is their all-you-can-eat digital buffet—it costs $99 for a year, or $9.99 a month but, Netflix style, offers “back issue’ comics only not current on sale comics.

Marvel will have two panels at SXSWi — expect some news at both.

Marvel: Your Universe
Saturday, March 8th, 2014
1:30-2:15 PM
Marvel: the House of Ideas
Sunday, March 9th, 2014
1:15-2:00 PM


  1. While you made a Netflix comparison, which clarifies things a bit, the Comixology comparison is a bit misleading. Marvel has also a Comixology-like app where you can buy and “own” digital comics.

    Unlimited is a very different service from Comixology, in that you don’t own anything but you have access to the entire Marvel digital catalog for a monthly (or yearly) flat fee. Once you stop subscribing you won’t have access to any of the comics anymore.

    12 is the number of comics you can download at any given time for offline reading. When read, you can replace them unlimited times.
    Marvel Unlimited is 6 months behind the regular (current) release schedule.

    The basic yearly Unlimited fee is $69 which means that for less that 6 dollars per month you can read all Marvel books, only 6 months behind.
    If you are into Marvel, it is an awesome deal. The app itself feels a bit clunky but the reading experience is ok enough.

  2. Yes I agree the 69 dollars plan is a bargain. I’m now a regular Marvel comics reader again, and it got me into buying paper comics again as well (I just discovered the excellent Superior foes of Spider-man by Spencer & Lieber. I want to support that low-selling series by buying it and besides I don’t want to wait months to read already published issues).
    But at such a low price I always wonder what creators get paid when I read a digital comic… Here in France creators are offered very low royalties on digital sales and they’re uniting to fight their publishers. I wonder if things are better on your side. I hope you’ll offer us an article on that subject in the future.

  3. @filippod the Marvel “Comixology-like app” is actually Comixology, but plastered with the Marvel brand. Those comics are still bought and hosted thru Comixology. I really think MCU is going to revolutionize (or destroy) the comics industry. Just like Netflix has destroyed my desire to purchase a DVD/BluRay ever again. There’s no reason to “purchase” a digital comic through Comixology when I don’t truly own it anyway. I’m basically renting access to it. I may as well subscribe to access to everything. I don’t care if it’s 6 months behind.

    That said, I’ll always continue to buy the paper comics I want to collect forever and always. But as I get older, the comics I want to keep forever are becoming fewer and fewer.

  4. I know this 99 cent thing makes for a good press release, but it’s hard to care when its recipients are the handful of people who interact with Marvel at SXSW. Good for them, irrelevant to me.

  5. @Rich
    Marvel’s advertising the deal on Marvel.com and it sounds like you just have to enter the promotion code — SXSW99 — when you sign up for the service.

  6. I would LOVE to subscribe to Marvel Unlimited but won’t do it until they fix their Android app. The “one page” view mode only fills about 1/2 the screen on larger tablets when viewed in portrait. This is documented many times in user reviews in the Play store but Marvel continues to ignore it. Fix your broken product before trying to build your customer base Marvel!

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