A Newbie’s Guide to Reading Digital Comics

Theran Goodman
DC Comics
DC Comics Marvel

Like many people, you might be unsure of your approach to digital comics. Reading digital comics is often more convenient than print comics. While physical pull lists may have problems with shipping or stock, digital pull lists are always available. With digital, you can even find comics that aren’t available in physical form or are priced well out of your budget.

The following three services are among the best available that allow you to read comics online, particularly for those new to digital comics. We don’t discuss nor condone sites that feature pirated comics, as piracy hurts the comics industry.

Where to Read Digital Comics

There are a few legal ways to read digital comics. The biggest platform is the Amazon-run ComiXology. You can also go with the publishers’ private services, like Marvel Unlimited. But, if you’re interested in indie work, Webtoons is the way to go.

ComiXology

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ComiXology is one of the most popular digital comics services around and it’s the best when it comes to availability. The service features more than 75 different publishers, including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Image, and over 75,000 issues. As ComiXology is an Amazon company, you can also link your Amazon and ComiXology accounts, making purchasing even easier.

On ComiXology, you can find issues, collections, omnibuses, and subscriptions. Single issues average between $0.99-$4.99, Collections can go up to about $34.99, and omnibuses can go higher than $100. You can also get bundles of single issues or collections for a discounted price.

ComiXology does subscriptions for individual series, however, unfortunately, if you subscribe to a series that has already started, you won’t have issues that were released earlier added to your queue. So, it’s best to subscribe before the series starts so you get your money’s worth.

ComiXology also has a streaming service similar to Netflix called ComiXology Unlimited. You pay one monthly fee for instant access to thousands of comics.

Because you buy each comic, you have access forever unless you decide to delete them. You will then have offline access to any comics you have downloaded on your mobile device.

Marvel Unlimited

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Marvel Unlimited is a subscription service that streams over 20,000 Marvel comics, with three levels of membership:

  • Monthly costs $9.99 and gives you streaming of 20,000+ comics across many devices.
  • Annual costs $69/year ($5.83/month) and gives you a discounted monthly price but has the same features as monthly.
  • Annual Plus costs $99/year ($8.25/month) and gives you access to variant comics, action figures, discounts on various items, and more.

Annual Plus more than makes the extra $30 worth it with all the extras.

If you do decide to go with Anual Plus, you’ll have discounted prices on other Marvel merch and get special invites to Marvel-related events. You’ll also have access to exclusive variant comics that aren’t available anywhere else.

While Marvel Unlimited is great for Marvel fans, it doesn’t have comics from other companies. But if you’re a hardcore Marvel fan, with Marvel Unlimited, you can download up to 10 issues to your device for offline viewing.

Webtoons

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When it comes to indie comics, Webtoons is one of the best places to go. It features the works of amateur and experienced indie writers and artists. Because LINE pays the creators to have their comics featured on Webtoons, every comic is free for everyone. You can also interact with other readers and the writers themselves.

Webtoons features a huge range of genres, offering traditional favorites from superheroes to dramas as well as more niche categories like comedy, slice-of-life, romance, fantasy, and thriller. That means you really don’t have to go anywhere else unless you are desperate for comics from the big publishers. Better yet, if you’re on a limited budget, you can still find every type of comic you could ever want.

If you subscribe to a series, you’ll receive a notification when a new chapter is available. LINE also holds the occasional sweepstakes and contests, so it’s best to create an account for eligibility.

Webtoons also have a program called Discover. With it, amateur writers and artists can showcase their work. And, with a wide range of genres available, you can always find something.

With Webtoons, you can download as many comics as you want to your account, but, each download expires after 30 days. Once it has expired, you can never download the same comics again for copyright reasons. You’ll still be able to read them after the download expires on the regular site or app with an internet connection, though.

Final Notes

Whatever service(s) you decide to go with is your own decision, but I do have some recommendations.

If you want access to all the large publishers, ComiXology is the way to go. If you want member-exclusive extras, you should go with Marvel Unlimited. If you want to help independent writers and artists get started, LINE Webtoons is for you. Or, if you want, you can go with all three.

Theran Goodman
Writer for FANDOM. Fan of Star Wars, DC Comics (the movies stink), and all things Tolkien. Currently obsessing over No Man's Sky and Battlefront II. I will never stop talking if you give me the chance. I am most productive at 3:00 am while feasting on ramen and drinking Mountain Dew.
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