Calling BS On Marvel Unlimited

Marvel-unlimitedWhile promoting the new Marvel Unlimited App over at Gizmodo, Marvel’s Peter Phillips indicated that Marvel was updating most of his major titles when they were six months old:

The comics available through MU are all at least six months old, and while Marvel wouldn’t commit to every title making it into the service, SVP of Marvel Digital Peter Phillips told us most major titles “should be in there at six months; we’re pretty timely with that.”

I’ve downloaded the app.  Let’s see what the most recent issues of the major titles are.  It’s early March 2013, so I should be seeing August/September 2012 titles, right?

  • Amazing Spider-Man #684, 4/18/12
  • Avengers #25, 4/18/12
  • Avengers X-Sanction #3, 2/1/12
  • Avengers Vs. X-Men #1, 4/4/12
  • Captain America #10, 4/11/12
  • Captain America & (Bucky/Hawkeye/etc) #628, 3/28/12
  • Daredevil #11, 4/25/12
  • Deadpool #53 4/11/12
  • Defenders #5, 4/18/12
  • FF #18, 5/30/12
  • Fantastic Four # 602, 1/25/12
  • Ghost rider #9, 3/28/12
  • Incredible Hulk #7, 4/18/12
  • Invincible Iron Man #516, 5/2/12
  • Journey into Mystery #636, 4/11/12
  • New Avengers #25, 4/25/12
  • Secret Avengers #24, 4/11/12
  • Mighty Thor #12.1, 4/11/12
  • Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #9, 4/4/12
  • Ultimate Comics X-Men #8, 2/29/12
  • Uncanny X-Force #24, 4/4/12
  • Uncanny X-Men #8, 3/7/12
  • Venom #13.3, 2/22/12
  • Wolverine #304, 4/11/12
  • X-Factor #234, 4/18/12
  • X-Men #27, 4/18/12

According to the browse feature on the Marvel Universe App, Marvel is pretty good at getting things up 11 months after it’s been in print.  6 months?  I see no evidence of it.  Mostly April issues.

Maybe the you don’t get to see the full content list until you buy a subscription?  (Though that would seem silly.)

Maybe Marvel is about to put an extra 4-5 issues of all the major titles online in the near future and catch up?

I’m looking at the account screen, right now.  It says “added as soon as 6 months after they hit stores.”  Key words are “as soon as.”

If that’s as current as the issues really are and you wanted to call all this talk about 6 months after it hits the stores a wee bit misleading, I would not blame you.

Comments

  1. David Gallaher says:

    An unfortunate and short-sighted article. I expected more from a Todd Allen piece.

  2. Swampy says:

    It’s Marvel, so they’re using a different metric for telling time. You wouldn’t understand it. It’s well above your pay grade.

  3. Charles says:

    Hasnt the app just been uploaded?? Todd Allen’s weird obsession with Marvel is becoming creepy>

  4. charles says:

    Does Marvel universe unlimited run on a subscription? Hasn’t the app just been uploaded?? Todd Allen’s obsession with Marvel is becoming really creepy.

  5. Disney employees don’t need to to do this … Marvel has enough merry marching minions who pay them for the privilege of being corporate shills and trolls. :)

  6. jaroslav hasek says:

    you lied, marvel. now enjoy this atomic wedgie, liar!

  7. David, you want to explain that? Because the article seems factual to me. I’d looked up and been disappointed by the most recent issue of Uncanny X-Men on it as well.

    Charles, yes, the app is new, but that’s just a new way to access a digital library that they’ve had up and running for years.

  8. David D. says:

    I’ve been a MDCU subscriber for more than two years (might be three by now, I forget) and I can confirm what Todd Allen is saying. A six month turnaround happens sometimes, but is the exception, not the rule. Typically the lag is longer, there are often issues missing (including from miniseries), and there are many titles that do not become available.

    A typical week, from the “Freshly Digitized” email they sent me in mid-February 2013:

    Captain America #7 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)
    Ultimate Comics Ultimates #6 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)
    Wolverine and the X-Men Alpha/Omega 2 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)
    Avengers Annual #1 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)
    Scarlet Spider #1 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)
    Uncanny X-Force #20 (Jan 2012 – 13 months)

    That seems like a more usual turnaround time from my experience. They are usually a little more than a year behind. And the gaps and not very useful single issues still happen (eg second issue of a four issue miniseries, Ultimate Comics Captain America, went live January 2011 and no other issues ever got added– what is the use of that?)

    That said- for all the things that can be frustrating, I have read a LOT of Marvel books via the MDCU over the last two or three years. And when they do commit to consistently updating (if a year later) a title, as they have for things like Amazing Spider-Man or Hickman’s Fantastic Four/FF, and others, it can be great. Here and there I just have to skip past a missing issue, but there is definitely more there I want to read than I have time for. So I feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

    But it is by no means complete, or the ‘Spotify for comics’ as some have said.

  9. Charles says:

    I posted twice because it seemed my posts were getting through (and there’s no edit or delete button, damn!) and no I don’t work for Marvel.

    There’s a lot of Marvel (and DC) bashing going on here. I think greater concern should be paid to the product that they bring out as opposed to “the evils of the big corporations” that some people choose to focus on.

    As some have rightly pointed out, the app is a new way to access an already existing backlog. What I have a problem with is Pre-emptively criticizing something that’s just been introduced and will probably be improved upon in the months to come. A big headline on comicsbeat at this time is far toooo early IMO.

  10. Todd Allen says:

    @Charles – So the Marvel App isn’t a product and it’s inappropriate to criticize claims that don’t appear to be true when they’re selling said product?

    If you subscribed today because a Marvel exec said they were getting most of the major titles up in six months, but you then discovered none of the major titles were even close to that recent, would you have a right to be upset?

  11. @Charles — I don’t know if it’s a journalist’s job to wait on a story in anticipation of it “probably” being rectified later.

  12. Also annoying is when a single issue in the middle of Fraction’s Iron Man run is missing and customer service gives a vague response that they can’t comment when comics will be added, even though a dozen issues in the series that were published before and after it are clearly available.

  13. @David Gallaher:

    Your post in this thread is a great disappointment to me.

  14. Why not direct this “find” at Mr Phillips, instead of complaining here in the guise of comics “journalism”?

  15. joe c says:

    Are you kidding me? They offer 50 years of comics and you’re upset they’re missing the most recent year? That seems pretty myopic to me.

    I’m absolutely ecstatic because I grew up on these comics and for me the best runs were a lot further back than a year ago. This is a fantastic bargain for folks like me and I wonder how DC will choose to respond.

  16. NucleonSaber says:

    Hang on – Phillips said “at least” six months. Given that no titles were found that were LESS than six months old, I don’t see where he claimed anything that was untrue.

  17. Todd Allen says:

    Phillips said “should be in there at six months; we’re pretty timely with that.” Read the article.

  18. Perhaps as a reaction to this piece, they have since uploaded a completely selection of comics that in some cases are less than six months old.

    On the other hand, they have modified the reader so it now displays a lower quality of image and there are now a lot of glitches that make some text unreadable on mobile and tablet devices.

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