This is news many of us were hoping for - it was just a matter of time. Gizmodo reports that Marvel Comics will now begin offering their digital catalog of back issues for use on iOS (iPhone and iPad, with Android coming soon) for a flat subscription rate. Prices start at $10 a month, or limited-time offer of $60 for a year of service, which will allow access to over 13,000 digitally-scanned comics from Marvel's extensive history.
The app uses an HTML 5 reader, making it somewhat slower than Comixology and other readers, according to the piece, but Marvel promises to continue to update the tech (and the catalog) over time. Your subscription lets you browse through Marvel's books, read them, and save them to your personal library (up to six issues can be stored in-app for offline reading). Waiting for new issues will be similar to waiting for collected trade paperbacks, with Marvel eyeing a six-month window between the comic rack and the subscription service.
This is a continuation of the Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited model that began a couple of years ago, and allowed fans access to key issues on their browser only, through a paid subscription. This clearly opens up a whole new world in terms of monthly value, and it will be fascinating to see how the other companies respond to such a forward-thinking initiative.
You can download the Marvel Unlimited app on iTunes.