Free and great value introductions to the world of comics...
With the current trend for successful Hollywood movies based on popular comic book characters, it's likely that a number of new readers will have been attracted to the comic book market in recent years. If you're curious about comics yourself, but not sure where to start, then here are a few websites where you can legally download free digitial comics, 'pay what you want' comics, and cheap bundled comics...
|Django/Zorro: One of over 200|
comics in the Dynamite Mega Bundle.
1) The Dynamite Mega Bundle
I'll start things off with an absolutely brilliant deal from Dynamite Entertainment and BitTorrent; The Dynamite Mega Bundle. This comics bundle has two levels; the basic bundle is free and features 30 comics, or the complete bundle features over 200 comics and is available for a 'pay what you want' price, with a minimum of $6! Personally, I would definitely recommend buying the full bundle, as at $6 for over 200 comics, that works out at under 3 cents per comic!
If you want to test the water first though, then the free bundle is also a great deal and features a wide range of comics, with my own personal favourites including Django/Zorro, Bob's Burgers, Ex-Con, Uncanny and The Twilight Zone. Truthfully though, I'm still only a fraction of the way through reading the entire bundle, so I'll probably discover several more recommended comics before I finish reading the entire set of comics.
The Dynamite Mega Bundle!
2) Humble Bundle
|Locke And Key: One of many excellent comics|
to feature in the Humble Bundle comic bundles.
Each bundle typically features three tiers of comics, and are available for a 'pay what you want' price with different minimum prices depending on the tier you go for. With the basic bundle, the minimum price is $1 which is an incredible bargain when you consider the typical full price value of the comics generally on offer. The mid-level bundle and complete bundle feature additional comics and typically cost between $7 to $15 depending on the average price paid so far.
Whether you're a new-comer to comics or a long-time fan, HumbleBundle is a brilliant way to discover great new comics that you possibly wouldn't otherwise have read. Some of my own personal all-time favourite comic books which have featured in humble bundles include Locke And Key, Saga, The Twilight Zone, Alex + Ada, March, Elephantmen and more.
Comics/Books on HumbleBundle
|The Scam: One of five free comics available to anyone|
who signs up to the Comixtribe mailing list.
Comixtribe currently offer 5 free digital comics to anyone who subscribes to their mailing list. I signed up a few months ago and didn't really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised as the comics were all high quality, and definitely deserving of a bigger audience.
You get one free comic per day in your email for five days, with the comics on offer being first issues of some of Comixtribe's best titles. My favourites were possibly The Scam and The Standard, but all of the comics were impressive, and if Comixtribe can maintain this high standard then they deserve to become a bigger name in the comic book market:
Subscribe To The Comixtribe Mailing List For Five Free Comics
Footnote: Once you sign up to the mailing list, Comixtribe don't spam you, and they only email you with genuine news and offers.
|The Invisible Invasion: Three intriguing issues are available so far.|
4) The Invisible Invasion
If the idea of a mysterious sci-fi story involving meteorites and strange plants sounds appealing, then you may be interested in The Invisible Invasion which is a French comic translated into English.
The story so far is very intriguing so I'm looking forward to future issues, and I would guess that The Invisible Invasion would have a lot more fans if only more people knew about it.
The first three issues are currently available for free from BitTorrent, and I would definitely recommend giving it a look:
The Invisible Invasion (Issue 1)
The Invisible Invasion (Issue 2)
The Invisible Invasion (Issue 3)
|Invincible 118 is free at Comixology.|
Free comics on Comixology
A couple of other freebies I enjoyed which aren't listed on the Comixology 'recommended freebies' page include:
Comixology also offer regular sales and bundle deals, so if you discover a free comic you like then from time to time you may find they also offer subsequent issues in the series at a discounted price:
Technically speaking, Comixology don't actually sell comics* - they just sell a limited licence to access content on the Comixology app/website - so for some publishers I'm personally reluctant to 'buy' comics from Comixology, because in my opinion paying to access content is basically a monetised library, and use of the word 'buy' is misleading.
However, some publishers, including Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Comics, Valiant Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics and others, offer DRM-free titles, so you can download and keep the comics you've bought, which is of course the way it should be. To help you identify the DRM-free publishers, Comixology have helpfully provided a page highlighting some of the most highly rated comics available DRM-free:
DRM comics available from Comixology
6) Indy Planet
As the name suggests, Indy Planet is a website specialising in independently produced comics, and they sell comics covering all sorts of genres and subjects. The quality can be hit or miss, but many series offer the first issue (or more) for free, so there's nothing to lose by giving them a try:
Free comics from Indy Planet
|Vision Machine: A vision of the future?|
7) Vision Machine
The concept behind Vision Machine really appealed to me, and if you love comics and love technology then this combines the two. The plot deals with the iEye, a piece of technology released a few decades in the future that allows users to record, edit and share everything they see. What makes this intriguing is that Vision Machine was published back in 2011 ... two years before Google Glass came on the market.
My only slight criticism is that I would have liked to see the story explored in more detail with an extended run of issues, but the three issues published are well worth reading. Vision Machine is written by Greg Pak and pencilled by R.B. Silva, and it would be highly recommended if it was regular priced, so it's even better value when you consider that it's free!
Vision Machine by Greg Pak
8) Cerebus - Volume 2 (High Society)
|Cerebus - High Society by Dave Sim|
Cerebus was a comic about an aardvark written and created by Dave Sim. The comic ran from 1977 to 2004, and has been compiled into several collected editions. Cerebus had quite a cult following in its day, and has received praise such as...
"Cerebus is a book that I believe every comics fan should read at least once." ...Kevin Eastman
"Cerebus is still to comic books what hydrogen is to the periodic table." ...Alan Moore
If you want to give it a try then the good news is that you can currently get all 512 pages of the second volume, which compiles issues 26 to 60, for free from Sellfy in return for a tweet.
Cerebus (Volume 2) - High Society
And if you enjoy High Society then the rest of the Cerebus volumes are currently available at a 50% discount:
Cerebus comics on Sellfy
'Pay What You Want' Comics
9) Panel Syndicate
|The Private Eye: Available for whatever price you think is fair.|
The second comic series available from Panel Syndicate is the unique and creative 'Universe', featuring sci-fi tales from writer/artist Albert Monteys. There are currently only two issues of Universe available, but so far it's featured some great ideas, so hopefully it will enjoy a run at least as long as The Private Eye.
The price you pay is entirely up to you with no minimum price, so you could download the comics for free if you wish, but whatever you pay, 100% of your purchase price goes towards supporting the creators' efforts, and if you do pay then it makes it more likely that future projects will be published through Panel Syndicate.
10) Thrillbent comics:
|Insufferable by Thrillbent Comics|
Most comics are very reasonably priced at under $2, but they also offer a number of issues for free, such as the first issues of Moth City and Pax Arena. The entire run of volumes 1 and 2 of Insufferable is available on a 'pay what you want' deal, or another great deal is you can subscribe to access to their full catalogue of over 300 comics for only $3.99 per month.
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This list is far from being exhaustive, so if you know of any other sites where you can get free or great value comics, then feel free to leave a comment.
Graphic novel recommendations
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Please note, all promotional images used on this blog remain the copyright of the respective publishers and are used in accordance with 'Fair Use' legislation for review purposes.