Finding a needle in the vast haystack of Marvel Unlimited

411px-MarvelLogo.svgIn a previous post, I extolled some of the virtues of Marvel’s subscription-based digital archive, Marvel Unlimited. It’s a glorious collection of most of the comics Marvel has published in their 75+ year history–all available to comics readers at a pretty low price. It’s ideal for people who want to read a lot of comics (that’s me) without spending a lot of money (me again). And that also makes it ideal for our class. But I’ve already written about that.

The great thing about Marvel Unlimited is that there are so many comics available. But unfortunately that means that it can get tricky trying to find specific issues. Also, it’s not the easiest website to navigate. So I’m going to offer some advice about how to navigate the website. If you’re planning to use the [free] iPad or Android app, you can skip down to the bottom. I’ve got a section just for you.

Website Basics

  1. Go to and sign in.
  2. Click on Comics in the top menu bar.
  3. A secondary menu bar will appear. Here, hover over Browse and make a selection from the drop down menu. For now, you should probably select Series.
  4. Once the page loads, don’t be fooled into clicking on featured series (unless you are planning on reading some of those on your own). Scroll down to the Series Index and select the series from there. (See the section below on the wily nature of comics series.)
  5. On the page for the series you’ve selected, scroll down a very little bit until you see the options Sort & Filter. Next to that is a box beside Marvel Unlimited. Check that box so that you will only see the options available to you.
  6. Look for the issue you want. They may not be in order, and you may need to click Show More at the bottom to see more issues.
  7. Select your issue, and on the next page, click Read Now under the image of the issue.
  8. On the bottom right corner of the reader page, you have to option to make it full screen, and if you click on the icon that looks vaguely like a book, you can choose to view the issue one page at a time or two. Beyond that, the navigation should be fairly easy.

***You can also choose to add issues to your library to make it easier to get back to them, and I would recommend this since you will need to revisit some of the comics for assignments.

Here’s how: when you’re back at Step 7 above, look lower on the page to where it says Digital Issue. Under Marvel Unlimited, you have an option to Add to Library. Click on this, and the issue will be bookmarked for you. You can find My Library under the little person icon at the far right of the top menu bar. This is the same place where you log in. It will take you to a page with all of your saved titles.


Some things about comics series

If you are true-blue comics reader, this information may not be useful to you. If you’re new to reading comics, it might be really helpful.

Here’s the thing about comics series. There’s a lot of them. The big characters especially have a lot of series. Marvel tends to break it’s series up in time periods, so for Captain America, for example, there are seven different series titled Captain America, and more that are limited runs and team ups with titles like Captain America and the Falcon, or Captain America: Man out of Time.

So when you’re looking for a specific issue, it helps to know the series title and the year so that you can browse the correct series. I’ve given you that information in the syllabus.

For our readings for Tuesday, you’ll look for the first issue in the series Captain America Comics, published in 1941. The good news is that it’s the only series titled Captain America Comics. The bad news is that you’re going to have to scroll through a lot of other Captain America titles before you get it. It might help to keep an eye out for the publications dates. Remember, you’re looking for 1941. The next several issues are in different series, so look for them in the same way.

For App Users

Disclaimer: I’m working from the iPad app, so if you’re using the Android app, it could be slightly different.

  1. Login to the app.
  2. Locate the menu bar at the bottom and select Browse.
  3. Select browse by Series (for now. You’ll browse by Comic Events when we get to Civil War).
  4. Look for the series you want (see the above section on the wily nature of comics series), and select it.
  5. Select the issue you want to read (they may not be in order).
  6. Choose Read Now to read the comic. You should be able to work it out from here.

***Just like the website, you can select to Add to Library from the same dialogue box where you select to Read Now. This will save the issue into your library (accessible in the bottom menu bar), making it easy to find again to later. I recommend doing this, as you will need to return to some of the comics for assignments.



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