In a move anticipated after the recent launch of HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s video on demand streaming service, DC Comics announced that DC Universe, a separate but similar service offering DC films, TV shows, comics, and an online community, will be transformed into a digital comics subscription service in January 2021.
Beginning next year, DC Universe will be renamed DC Universe Infinite, and will offer subscription access to more than 24,000 digital comics from across the DC comics backlist at DCUniverseInfinite.com and on iOS and Android devices for $7.99 a month or $74.99 per year. The service will be available in the North American market in January and internationally beginning in the summer of 2021. It is comparable to Marvel’s Marvel Unlimited, digital comics subscription service launched in 2007 that offers subscription access to 27,000 digital comic books, at $9.99 per month, from across Marvel’s extensive backlist of superhero comics.
The digital comics subscription service will offer comics, digital-first comics, and original graphic novels spanning more than 80 years of the DC comics backlist. New comics will be available via the DCUI six months after they appear in print in physical stores. The service will also offer access to DC’s digital-first comics backlist as well as to DCUI Originals, new digital comics content created around DC’s cast of iconic superheroes. DC digital-first comics series include Aquaman: Deep Dives, Batman: Gotham Nights, DCeased: Hope at World’s End, Harley Quinn: Black + White + Red, Injustice: Year Zero, Wonder Woman 84, and more.
Industry observers had projected the likelihood that WarnerMedia would fold DC Universe video/film content into HBO Max. WarnerMedia’s recent reorganization—which led to significant layoffs at DC Comics—also emphasized the importance of digital distribution for its superhero comics publishing subsidiary.
DC Universe launched in 2018 with a focus on offering fans streaming access to a slate of DC superhero films, live action TV shows, and animated series, although the service also offered a limited selection of digital comics. Those properties include such shows as Titans, Young Justice, a Superman prequel, Stargirl, and a daily news show, DC Daily, among others. All of the service’s films and series will now be moved to HBO Max.
DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee said that the service's transformation from primarily streaming films and TV shows to providing access to digital comics and graphic novels "will not disappoint," adding: "I’m excited to share that not only will DC Universe Infinite members still be able to read all of the great comics that they’ve enjoyed but new issues are debuting on the platform quicker than before, digital first exclusives are being created, and the members-only events will begin as soon as possible. There has never been a better time to be a DC fan!"