Over on Robot 6, my buddy Sean Collins asked readers what they’d add to their queue if there was a Netflix Instant-like model for comic books instead of the current download-one-at-a-time model most of the big companies seem to have gone with after the launch of the iPad. I can’t remember the last time I actually spent money on a new comic, but I can say without much consideration or doubt that I would absolutely sign up for a service like this, specifically for DC Comics, which I can’t help but be curious about even when they’re not that great.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and how things seem to be moving backwards as far as digital comics go. In the middle of the previous decade, Marvel made a deal with a company called GIT to sell DVDs jam packed with decades’ worth of comics. Then, a few years ago, Marvel started up their Digital Comics Unlimited which offers a lot of Marvel’s books past and present for only $59.88 a year. That’s not a bad deal. I haven’t had access to the service for a while, but when it first launched the selections were pretty scattershot. I’m sure it’s gotten a lot better since then. And now, we’ve got the app-based system of buying a digital comics one at a time or in trade format.
From my perspective, I’d love to sign up for some kind of subscription fee. I don’t need to keep the issues and have them cluttering up my iPad or computer (reading comics as PDFs is just fine by me), so having somewhat limited access to them is cool in my book. If I really like the book, I’ll probably pick up the trade (I don’t think I’ll ever got all the way paperless, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world won’t). Personally, as someone who still likes comics, but doesn’t feel the need to collect them anymore (at least new ones), I’d prefer the subscription model.