Comics on medication

Well, tablets to be exact – the electronic kind.

Since I started reading comic books I realised that my local bookstore was sadly bereft of much more than very popular graphic novels. I also realised I did not want a load of flimsy comics cluttering my life, where the heck would I store them?

So where do I get my newly awakened comic fix? Online you geeky idiot!

Discovering comics online

I asked on Twitter and found two great apps for my Android tablet. I believe they also work on that thing called an iP*d for those unfortunate enough to own one. Twitter was also great for advising me on comics to try – never mind the Almighty Google, Terrific Twitter can answer anything now too.

The first one I tried was Comixology (@comixology on Twitter) who have

partnerships with top comic book publishers including Archaia Entertainment, BOOM! Studios, DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Image Comics and Marvel Comics

…so pretty wide ranging. Their Android app works great and you can browse & purchase through it – oops, I spent more money. There’s plenty of freebies too so you can try various genres. Of course, if you have more than one device you can log in and read from any of them.

The second one I used was Dark Horse Digital (@DarkHorseComics on Twitter), I started with this one because they provided different comics (such as The Umbrella Academy) and variety is the something of life isn’t it?

As with Comixology there are freebies and you can read from different devices with your log in. Unfortunately the Android app doesn’t allow direct purchase yet, you have to do that through the online store in your browser. But things are synched pretty quickly so it’s not such a big deal.

Using comic apps on your tablet

The experience is pretty much the same for both, you can view either the full page or pane by pane (tap the screen to move along). I like this as you can see the overall page and get the gist of things then zoom in to see the details – it also helps us noobs who aren’t quite sure which way to read a comic book yet.

Viewing the images on the screen is great, mine’s 8″ and I cannot find fault even after seeing them on a 10″ screen. I like the way I can expand the image as opposed to holding a paper comic up closer to my eyes. Oh, you youngsters don’t have that problem? Hmmm.

Of course, all the comics you download are indexed so you can easily find the next one you want to read.

There are a few of cons to viewing on the screen (and this applies to books as well as comics).

  • it’s not as easy to leaf back through to re-read a section
  • while there’s a great range of choice not all are available (older ones mainly)
  • no way to share what you’re reading

Final diagnosis

Comics entering the digital age has enabled those like myself with little or no access to physical comic book stores to discover their wonderful worlds. The apps (and there are others) for devices like tablets make the experience easy and enjoyable. Although I still get the dead tree versions of ones I really like, for sheer portability and scope of choice I would totally recommend you at least try them.


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