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The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Loki, Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Batman, GCPD, and Peacemaker are about to get released very soon, while WandaVision’s first season is coming to an end. That even doesn’t account for other series outside of the main Marvel and DC Universes like MODOK, Titans, or Harley Quinn.

2021 is bringing with it an armada of superhero TV series as well as film debuts. It is unsurprising, with the popularity of the genre for TV the mainstreaming of comic book culture is beginning to be seen. More people than ever are looking to start reading the comics behind the plotlines to the movies that they love. 

As Julie Alexander writes in her recent article over at theverge WandaVision actually led their staff to dig into past Vision and Wanda Maximoff-centered storylines. She herself began reading Kieron Gillen’s Eternals run leading up to Marvel Studios’ film. So, if you like many others, are finding you have the bug but you haven’t a clue where to start, read on for some great suggestions.

Buying comics is a hobby that can quickly rack-up. A new issue is reasonably priced at around $3.99 but if you are reading more than one series at a time the weekly expense soon becomes a lot more. Die-hard comic book collectors are willing to fork out for each addition but if you only want to read it then it makes sense to go digital.  

This article then is not a guide of what to read next. For inspiration on what series might appeal to you and a rundown of current sagas, you might like to head over to the Polygon where Susana Polo has a weekly blog of what she is reading.

We are offering you alternative subscription methods that are suitable for people, who still want to get into the comics world but don’t want to pay a fortune for that. Even though there are other available options on the market. These are just some of the easiest of them. So, there are three primary comics subscription services:

  • Comixology Unlimited (for $6 a month)
  • Marvel Unlimited (for $10 a month or $70 a year)
  • DC Universe Infinite (for $8 a month of $75 a year)

COMIXOLOGY UNLIMITED

Comixology Unlimited
Comixology Unlimited. Image credit: theverge.com

There really has never been a better time to start getting into comics, the digital age makes things so simple, and competitive subscription prices mean you can get great value for money as well.

Comixology Unlimited is an Amazon Prime add-on that grants you access to a diverse well-stocked virtual comic book shop full of digital comic-books manga, and graphic novels. It is a revolutionary, cloud-based digital service with a roster of over 125 publishers and thousands of independent creators. So, it harbors plenty of big, recognizable names but also has a good mix of Indi contributions. There are well over 25,000 comics available from publishers like Vertigo, Image Comics, alongside top Marvel and DC series offerings. So you can read your way through many firm favorites including The Invisibles, Kick-Ass Iron Man, Immortal Hulk, Teen Titans, and Justice League Dark for less than a 6 dollar subscription monthly.

One of the most redeeming features of a digital comic at Comixology Unlimited is that you learn as you go, and can easily find out what else is available with your subscription by the same publisher. You can click on a publisher, like Valiant or Dark Horse, and easily see what is available. You can ‘collect’ old gems by reading through different volumes and it is a great way to discover a series. 

Marvel and DC Comic fans, however, may feel less excited. Although all of the House of M is part of Unlimited there are many series that aren’t available and instead, you will need a subscription to Marvel Unlimited.

Julie found this out the hard way when she was inspired by a Tumblr post about a 1980’s Incredible Hulk arc she wanted to see for herself.

MARVEL UNLIMITED

MARVEL UNLIMITED
Marvel Unlimited. Image credit: marvel.com

Marvel Unlimited has a few more comics up its sleeves than Comixology, providing around 27,000 digital comics for the masses. The subscription is a little extra per month but you can save money with a yearly commitment upfront. You can download and carry up to 12 comics and Marvel’s team and its specially calculated algorithms will use your carry data to curate suggestions for you. So when you finish, you will have a great idea of what else to read. 

Marvel Unlimited is a fantastic source for classic publishings, great for anyone who wants to dig into origins and catch up to current events. It has all your favorite characters like Iron Man and Captain America. Besides that, there’s also the Star Wars universe for people to explore.

For anyone looking to get into the retro, it is awesome, however new issues for current and ongoing arcs are not uploaded immediately. If you are looking to get your teeth stuck into anything new you may have to be patient and stay away from spoilers. If you fancy keeping up with The Amazing Spider-Man or The Eternals you will have to wait around 3 -months post-release before they pop up on Marvel Unlimited. This makes it tough to stay up to date with everyone else, whereas on Comixology you can purchase current paperback issues as they come for $3.99 (or $3.39 with your Comixology discount).

All in all, Marvel Unlimited is definitely a great choice for anyone looking to dive deep into plenty of comics Marvel has released over the years. So, if you’ve set your mind onto getting through all of the various X-Men comics available, Marvel Unlimited is your way to go for the cheapest price.

DC UNIVERSE INFINITE

DC Universe Infinite
DC Universe Infinite. Image credit: dcuniverseinfinite.com

Much like Marvel Unlimited, the same can be said with DC Universe Infinite. Although it is relatively new, it previously existed in the form of the DC Universe with some comics but also hosted Harley Quinn, Teen Titans, and some older DC movies. The TV shows and films have long since moved over to the WarnerMedia streaming platform when HBO Max launched. That was when DC decided to relaunch a comic book online service under the Universe Infinite title.

To give their new platform its own identity, DC committed to carrying plenty of fan-favorite back catalog titles. They include publishing from Vertigo, Black Label, and Milestone comics imprints,” according to Polygon. Some of the exclusive DC Comics titles, only available on DC Universe Infinite, will be available as well. Right now, you can find more than 24,000 comics on the platform. Just like Marvel Unlimited, new releases are not available right away. Instead, they’ll hit DC Universe Infinite six months after being released.

For those, looking to consume as many as possible past comics featuring their favorite superheroes for a cheap monthly price, both Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe Unlimited is a great choice. But if your main interest is in reading the latest titles you are probably better off finding a digital retailer or local store. To stay up to date and not get left behind.

Disney Plus and HBO Max, will no doubt be offering Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe Unlimited subscription add-ons respectively as part of their service bundle options.

By presenting the streaming and digital comic platforms side by side like that, the entertainment conglomerates make it easy for someone to say watch an episode of their favorite comic book-inspired show and then dive straight into the comic itself.

It is a fantastic idea, giving you easy access and organization and keeping their little worlds self-contained within a franchised eco-system so to speak.

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