Since launching in 2018, eager fans have been waiting for the international launch of ‘DC Universe’, the streaming and digital comics subscription service. Accessing the website from anywhere other than the United States has given hopeful readers the friendly message, “Sorry, this service is only available in the US. We’ll announce when it is available in your region.” The first DCU exclusive show, Titans, eventually ended up on Netflix in the UK. As time went on, other exclusives appeared on other subscription services, such as Doom Patrol on Starz, Swamp Thing and Stargirl on Amazon, etc. The chances of ‘DC Universe’ ever reaching the UK, sadly, seemed slimmer and slimmer.
In recent weeks, every show pumped out at DC Universe has migrated over to ‘HBO Max’ in the States, leaving American fans wondering if DC Universe would be shut down by DC’s parent company, AT&T. Jim Lee recently teased a “huge” announcement about DCU, and we’re pleased to finally share the details.
Although the service is finally going global in the summer of next year under the revised name of ‘DC Universe Infinite’, sadly the show and movie offerings are being slashed due to copyright issues. Warner Bros license out all of their media to the highest bidder in the UK, with many ending up on Netflix, Sky, Amazon Prime and the like. Warner Bros have decided, for now at least, to stick with this trend and keep DC Universe Infinite a comics-only platform going forward.
The good news, though, is that the service will feature at least 26,000 comics to be read digitally. The obvious comparison would be Marvel Unlimited, where Marvel allow subscribers paying £8.99 per month to read their entire digital back catalogue. Marvel fans are fortunate in that this also includes Star Wars and Conan, and starting from January next year will also include everyone’s favourite Disney princess, Xenomorph XX121, as the Alien franchise is folded into Marvel’s back catalogue. While Marvel Unlimited only hosts single issues and no digital collected editions or compilations, there are expertly curated ‘reading lists’ to keep fans happy. DC Universe is presently very similar, it’s all single issues. DC Comics don’t have the rights to many external licences, but they do hold the rights to some WB-owned franchises, such as Thundercats, He-Man, Scooby Doo, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain and Cartoon Network originals such as Dexter’s Lab and The Powerpuff Girls. No word as yet if these franchises will appear on the service in the UK for launch, or if at all, but fans will be pleased to know the current wait time for new issues being added to the service is being reduced from one year to six months, more “digital first” issues will debut on the service and some exclusives are planned. In the USA, there are currently over 26,000 single issues to read, a number that is steadily climbing with each growing month.
Words: Graeme Small