A long time ago, I was an amateur comic book collector. In a tale soon to be told, I recently purchased an 11” iPad Pro. I don’t really want to get back into buying physical comic books, but I’m interested in revisiting some of the classics and reading some recent critically acclaimed works.
Enter Comixology Unlimited. Comixology itself is a venerable digital comics service that got hoovered up by Amazon a few years back. The basic idea is that there’s a Comixology reader available across multiple devices (Web, iOS, Kindles, etc.). You buy digital versions, to own, of graphic novels and single issues through the Comixology platform. The Unlimited part is straight from the Amazon playbook, a monthly subscription service for a lending library that provides access to a large(?) catalog of titles. The library is a subset of titles available on the entire platform and there’s a relatively generous limit on the number of works you can have “borrowed” at any given time.
In the initial one week trial, I discovered old favorites such as Starstruck, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and Grendel were available. In particular, there are omnibus versions available for quite the binge reading opportunity. Even though I’ve sort of outgrown the superhero tropes, there’s enough Marvel and DC stuff available to be useful. For example, I went and plowed through Marvel’s The Infinity Gauntlet limited series, which provides some of the conceptual foundations of the Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbusters Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. There’s no way I’d ever shell out to buy The Infinity Gauntlet on a permanent basis, but it was fun to read as a rental.
The clincher was getting sucked into the first omnibus of Matt Wagner’s Grendel. This was a collection of issues that I personally collected when they first came out, amplified by two graphic novels that were released well after I stopped collecting. I’ve always had a soft spot for Grendel and this was the best of both worlds. Something old and something new to me.
It all comes together with the iPad as a great reading device. Confessing here that my eyesight ain’t what it was. Comixology has this really well done Guided View, that zooms into panels making it easier on these aging eyes to deal with the tiny fonts in ultra dense works like Grendel (Starstruck being the apex here). And bonus on picking up lots of art details buried in the background.
Comixology is looking like a subscription worth paying for.