The App: Launched last month on both iOS and Android the Comichaus app which its publisher and distributor – who already offer market place for independent comics and graphic novels – describe as ‘Netflix for indie comics’. (Read our news story)
The Review: When it first launched, I often sat feeling jealous of comics fans in the United States with access to Marvel Unlimited, a subscription service that gives members unlimited access to over 20,000 issues of Marvel’s classic and newer titles, delivered digitally through your desktop web browser and the Marvel Unlimited mobile app. Whilst I don’t read Marvel much, having comics at my finger tips for a monthly cost always felt like the ideal route a publisher could take.
The TV medium has moved on a long way the past 10 years with Netflix being the main contender in the streaming service movement, with a huge library of content for a fixed monthly fee. It makes perfect sense to me as a delivery model and while Marvel Unlimited has since been rolled out in the UK too, I suppose I never thought we’d see the equivalent for independent comics here.
How wrong was I?
Comichaus launched in early 2015 as a place for buying and selling comic books but it has evolved a lot since then. It offers creators the chance to upload and sell their books for free, with only a 1p commission fee for any sales. It has now created an app as well – and what is essentially a streaming service for comics. Creators can put their work on the app and the subscription is split between Comichaus and the creators.
(It’s not the first UK-centric app to offer independent comics of course – SEQUENTIAL offers a diverse and entertaining range of titles, but it’s not a subscription service).
This is superb for creators finically but also for gathering new readers who may not be willing to throw money on someone’s book without seeing content first. It opens up a huge world of indie comics which can only help the comic scene.
The app itself, which is available via iTunes and Android (and hopefully Windows in the future), opens up on the dashboard where you can see your favourite comics, recently viewed, top comics and new releases. You have the option to browse through the catalogue via titles, characters, creators, publishers and genres. It’s so easy to look through and find the comic you are after.
All comics can be downloaded and read on your device, either online or offline. Using the app is very easy and once you’ve registered on the Comichaus site, it’s so simple to download and view when you wish.
The comic reader itself is well put together and I had no issue scrolling through pages.
The cost per month to access a whole world of comics? Just £3 a month. Yes, there are adverts at this subscription tier, which can sometimes be annoying, however you can have these removed for an extra £2 a month, which is nothing. In fact, the £3 a month subscription is a crazy price and really is a no brainer.
If, like me, you prefer physical books to read, for £3 a month you can get an idea of new, exciting books which you will like and then go out and buy the physical copies or other work for those creators, which is exactly what the makers of this app have told downthetubes they hope fans will do.
If you’re a comic fan, download the app and subscribe… it really is that simple.
• For links to all version of the Comichaus app, visit this page on the Comichaus web site | #DiscoverIndieComics
Ian is one of the fine team behind the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Podcast, which you can find out more about here on their official site | Find out more about the latest episode right here on downthetubes