We’re approaching a new age of comics. There are lots of potential names floating around, but I like the term: The Digital Age. As we transition, there are more places than ever before to access and read comics and graphic novels online.
Whether you’re into the big 2 publishers, indie titles, creator-owned work or Golden Age greats, there is a service for every person and every budget.
This week, in honor of some major news in the digital space, we will look at 8 great options to answer the question: where to read graphic novels online.
If we are going to talk about digital comics, we have to start right here with ComiXology. ComiXology is an Amazon subsidiary and the preeminent source for digital comics online. They have just about everything. From single issues to collected editions, ComiXology has a vast library of titles spanning new releases to classic hits. They are essentially your Digital LCS.
If you’re looking for a truly comprehensive library, then ComiXology is for you. The big downfall tends to be pricing. Pricing of books tends to be in line with physical books, without offering the benefit of collectability. For some, they don’t care. Digital comics are their preferred way to read the books, but many are looking to read digital at a cheaper price out of the gate, and for those customers, ComiXology has a subscription service. If customers don’t want to purchase books a la carte, they can pay $5.99 for a curated selection 25,000 options of newer books and hits that is very similar to a streaming service or OTT platform. Subscribers also earn 10-15% of regular releases. If all that wasn’t enough, ComiXology offers a free comics selection with some classics like The Walking Dead #1 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.
Maybe you love the model ComiXology boasts but you are more focused on one specific universe. Have no fear, Marvel, DC and even indie publishers have established their own services.
Not to be left out, Indie publisher Dark Horse Comics is at the forefront of the online/digital comics movement with their Dark Horse Digital service. The goal of this service differs a bit from the Big 2’s model in that it isn’t a direct line revenue producer. Instead, Dark Horse Digital offers free downloads of #1 issues of Dark Horse titles in an effort to hook in the reader and have them coming back for more.
So if you’re interested in a Dark Horse title but not sure you want to purchase the whole graphic novel, check out Dark Horse Digital and read the first 32 pages of the story to see if it grabs you. You just can’t argue with that value to the comic reader and investor for that matter.
Many comic readers are looking for those old classics that just aren’t housed on many of these digital sites, don’t fret though, we have an option for you as well.
The Digital Comic Museum is an amazing site that may look outdated in its appearance, but it’s a great tool and resource for those wanting to read and research comics from the Golden Age. The selection can be a bit sporadic as administrators are seemingly manually entering these vintage classics into a digital system, but this is the best option for those who want to read a John Wayne story or a classic comic title like Famous Funnies.
Overall, it’s cool to see different eras of comics distributed through modern means.