As I was considering tablets, a huge part of my selection process was screen resolution, apps and comic book accessibility. The app store and tech specs were clearly defined for the iPad but I couldn’t find anything about digital comics. I had digital comics that I was reading on Mac apps, but I couldn’t find much on IOS comic book apps. I assumed that comic books would look incredible on the iPad but I hadn’t physically seen any!!! It took a lot of time and research to find answers so I have have decided to create a definitive guide to comic books for the iPad.
Digital Comic Books can be placed into 2 categories: Direct From the Publisher and Self Acquired
Direct From The Publisher
Publishers have realized through the renewed popularity in reading through tablets, that it is imperative to have digital publication. In the comic world, many companies were slow to conform.
DC and Marvel comics have their own individual apps, which give the consumer access to a large percentage of their product but they are not without their problems. While the Marvel app is beautiful, its interface seems to be a bit counterintuitive and confusing. Someone had the genius idea to create the Ibooks/Kindle market of comic books through an app called comiXology. This is a central area where fans can have access to many publishers and creator owned titles including:
• Marvel Comics
• DC Comics
• Image Comics
• BOOM Studios
• Dynamite Entertainment
• Red 5
• A Wave Blue World
• AdHouse Books
• Arcana Comics
• Aspen Comics
• Asylum Press
• Bluewater Comics
• BOOM! Studios
• Cartoon Books
• Creative Impulse
• Digital Manga
• Digital Webbing
• Evil Twin Comics
• First Salvo
• Radical Publishing
• Slave Labor Graphics (SLG)
• Top Cow
• Th3rd World Studios
What’s even better about this app is that the creators have implemented what they refer to as CHX HD, which is essentially just retina display support for the comics. It is not crystal clear but any comic that is purchased from them can be read from the comixology website as well. The individual publisher apps are nice but nothing beats this level of convenience, comic book diversity, and all around experience of comixology. (Screenshot shown below)
Comic books can be acquired another way as well. In the past years 10 years with faster internet connections and file sharing boom, there has been a rise in alternative ways to get media. A digital format of comic book, known as CBR came about from this idea. A CBR file, for all intent and purposes, is simply a achieve (rar) file with the file extension changed. The content of the archived file is usually scanned comic book pages (usually jpeg format) listed in sequential order. A CBR reader simply reads the file, while still being compressed, and allows the files to be displayed sequentially, creating a digital comic file. If you have a comic book collection, you can always scan the pages and begin your own CBR collection.
So you have a great deal of CBR files with no way to view them on the iPad. What’s next!?!?! Get an app dammit!
Through hours and hours of trying comic book apps, I’ve found that the best app for all things CBR is Comic Zeal Comic Reader ($1.99). It is the ultimate app in CBR reading and organization. It has many immensely useful features including:
• The ability to organize your comics by series, don’t look through hundreds to find the one you want.
• When you finish reading one comic, automatically open the next one.
• Zoom in on content, not show you the same borders page after page.
• Lets you search for and find your comics by title and the tags that you’ve applied to them (tagging only available on the iPad).
• Load your comics using USB, wifi or even other apps like Drop Box.
No other app allows you to organize your digital comic files quite as well. Above is a screenshot of the app that shows comics being organized into storage boxes, according to series.
Comixology and Comic Zeal are two incredible apps that provide two very different services overall. The on-demand service does not in any way counter Comic Zeal’s ability to organize and view your digital comics that you have collected over the years. Try them out and let us know what you think!