Fascinated Fridays: Marvel Unlimited, or “Why comic book Netflix is awesome”

So for our Friday posts, we wanted to share things we are currently into.  Stuff that is exciting to us, or that we are really digging right now.  I am going first, and I’m talking about Marvel Unlimited.  I discovered comics in the mid 80’s, when a friend at school was telling me about this amazing character who had blades coming out of his hands.  I was always into knights and fantasy, but my understanding of super heroes was rudimentary at best, and confined to when my younger years, when Spider Man on the electric company and I had Superman Underoos I would occasionally sport.

Sometimes with cowboy boots.

Don’t judge.

Anyway, this scintillating description sent me off in search of this “Wolverine” character, and I bought my first comic at a small corner store.  It was Uncanny X-Men 195, and it had Wolverine on the cover, threatening little Katie Power from the Power Pack (man, the Power Pack, does anyone else remember the Power Pack?  Why has Disney not rebooted that and put it on tv?).

 I bought it.  Read it.  Loved it.

After that, I was hooked.  Everything from my grandfather’s old issues of Superman to from the 60’s to the new stuff at convenience store racks.

And then, one day, I discovered COMIC BOOK STORES.  These were magical places, often hard to find, that were filled with comics.  It was glorious.

About a month ago, I tried out Marvel Unlimited, and the feeling I had after the first night with the service was exactly like the first time I stepped into an honest to goodness comic book store.

For those of you unaware, Marvel Unlimited http://marvel.com/comics/unlimited can best be summarized as netflix for comics.  You pay a monthly subscription fee, and you get access to a massive amount of Marvel’s catalog.  And when I saw massive, I mean MASSIVE.  New stuff, like Dan Slott’s really great Superior Spider-Man run, to old classics going back to the 40’s and 50’s.

Price is 9.99 a month, which to me did not feel that bad at first.  By then end of the first night, when I had binged on what would have probably been over a hundred dollars worth of comics, it felt downright generous.

In fact, one of the added benefits was that when my three year old son was playing with a Hulk figure, I asked if he wanted to see a Hulk book.  He was so excited and I was able to pull up issue after issue for him to look at.  Then he asked for Spider-Man.  I was so proud.  Geek dads start them early.

Now, not everything is roses and cupcakes.  There are some things missing.  I was in a mood to read some of the great stuff that Larry Hama did on GI Joe back in the 80’s, and that is not there.  I assume because of licensing.  As you search, you will encounter titles that you can’t find.  But there is plenty of stuff that is. You will not lack for stuff to read.

The app itself leaves a little to be desired.  I am reading on my iPad Air, and while the comics themselves look GORGEOUS, the app can be a little temperamental.  It has a lot of trouble moving from one issue to the next, when you are reading in a series, and often you have to back out to where you searched to get the next issue.  If the app got cleaned up, it would be even more amazing.

After the first two nights with Marvel Unlimited, I was excited, and immediately wanted to expand my DC knowledge, catching up on some Batman and Green Lantern stuff.  Alas though, DC does not have this type of service in place.  I am hoping they will soon, as I would immediately subscribe to it as well.  For now, though, it seems like this is yet another area where Marvel is outpacing their “Distinguished Competition.”

So overall, I am loving my Marvel Unlimited subscription.  If you loved comics, and grown apart from them, or you have always been curious, this is a great way to dive in and explore.

And yes, my beloved Uncanny X-Men 195 is in there.  I read it the first night.  And you know what?  It felt like coming home.

Until next time, keep finding things you love.  Especially, an old love.  I know I will.

-Mark

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