Thrillbent, the digital comics platform launched by comics writers Mark Waid and John Rogers, has been upgraded to Thrillbent 3.0, introducing a new subscription plan for $3.99 per month as well as an integrated iPad app.
Launched two years ago, Thrillbent has defined itself as a sort of laboratory for digital comics publishing, offering its titles for free online with the option of buying a separate digital copy at varying price points. With the launch of Thrillbent 3.0, the publisher is adapting to the rapidly shifting digital marketplace, taking a page from popular subscription services such as Hulu, Spotify, and Amazon Prime. The new free Thrillbent app for iPad (Android is coming soon), streamlines the entire buying and reading experience, and functions largely like the apps for Comixology and Dark Horse Digital, which sync with users' online accounts and allows them to access their comics through mobile devices and keep track of their purchases and reading.
According to a blog post by Waid announcing the changes, Thrillbent will still offer free (and DRM-free) content as it has before, but users who subscribe for $3.99/ month will get access to new series including the long-awaited second volume of Empire by Waid, Barry Kitson, and Chris Sotomayer's. Subscribers will also receive access to new titles like The House in the Wall by James Tynion IV, Noah J. Yueknkel, and Eryk Donovan and The Best Thing by John W. Campbell and Seanan McGuire; as well as new installments of Insufferable by Waid, Peter Krause, Nolan Woodard and Troy Peteri.
More titles are to be announced in the coming months.
The subscription also comes with access to Thrillbent's back catalog of over 250 comics, and a free download of the first volume of Empire. Waid compares the new model to Hulu Plus, and explains that the decision for paid content was to cover the costs of production and fairly compensate the creators involved:
“We can’t afford to give it all away for free the same way we’ve been doing,” Waid said. “But neither do we want to create an unfair barrier to entry. Ultimately, what we arrived at was this: a monthly subscription model that allows access to all Thrillbent material past and present for the price of one print comic: $3.99."