Comics Go Mobile1 of 17
The comic book medium has had to adapt to new technology and the changing ways we consume our favorite media. Just like books, comic books have also gone digital, resulting in a proliferation of apps that let you read your favorite digital comics and organize your electronic collections.
This September 15, DC Entertainment rolls out DC Universe - streaming service for TV shows videos, and some comic books as well.
Ahead of that launch, here are our 15 favorite mobile comics apps/services.
Comics by comiXology (Android, iOS: Free)2 of 17
comiXology is one of the most popular digital comic platforms online, featuring content from major comics publishers such as Marvel, DC, and Image, which readers can purchase and read from the comiXology website. The company's mobile app, Comics (Android, iOS), also serves as an outstanding mobile comic reader, allowing users to download and read their comiXology purchases. Of particular note is the Guided View mode, which is great for reading on a small screen, as well as a Unlimited mode that works as a "read-all-you-can" subscription. On the downside, you can't import in an existing comics collection or make in-app purchases on iOS.
Comics Plus (Android, iOS: Free)3 of 17Comics Plus (Android, iOS) is another digital comics platform where users can purchase and download digital comics. It comes with some neat extras that set it apart from other platforms. Comics Plus users can buy and read digital comics from a variety of publishers such as IDW, Archie Comics, and DC, with uView enhanced reading technology to help guide your reading flow on a touch screen and in-app parental controls. You can import your own DRM-free comics into your personal collection, allowing you to view ePub, PDF, CBR, and CBZ files with ease. Interestingly, you can also rent a graphic novel for 24, 48 or 120 hours.
Dark Horse Comics (Android, iOS: Free)4 of 17While some publishers have jumped into the one-stop comics marketplaces like comiXology, others have also put up their own gated digital storefronts, such as Dark Horse Comics' mobile app (Android, iOS), which functions as comics marketplace, download manager, and comics reader all rolled up into a single package. While the reader experience doesn't quite feel as polished as other apps, the Dark Horse comics app does feature a panel zoom reading mode and support for right to left reading modes. In addition to the paid comics available in the marketplace, Dark Horse also offers numerous free #1 and introductory issues that serve as free samples and teasers for its rich library of titles.
Madefire (Android, iOS, Windows: Free)5 of 17While digital comics have mostly tended to mirror their ink-on-paper predecessors, some companies have tried to experiment with the possibilities that the digital format provides. Madefire (Android, iOS, Windows) focuses on motion comics, which combine visual effects, animated transitions, sound effects, and dynamic panels to deliver a more media rich digital comics experience. Madefire carries comics by DC, IDW, Top Cow, and Dark Horse, with both free and paid content available for users to browse.
Marvel Unlimited (Android, iOS: $9.99/month)6 of 17Rather than purchasing titles one by one, readers can instead access a treasure trove of issues from Marvel Comics' archives through the Marvel Unlimited (Android, iOS) app. Users can subscribe for $10 per month or $70 for a year, gaining access to more than 13,000 issues from a variety of classic titles from Marvel's archive, with new issues added weekly. It's not perfect, as users need to be online to access and read comics (users may bookmark up to 12 issues to read offline), but it's a great way for Marvel fans to binge read classic tales of the Marvel universe.
Crunchyroll Manga (Android, iOS: Crunchyroll subscription required)7 of 17Crunchyroll has been a streaming pioneer of Japanese anime, and it also provides an all you can read manga streaming service for its subscribers through the Crunchyroll Manga app (Android, iOS). Subscribers can view the entire catalogue, with series such as Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, and many more available in the app. Crunchyroll Manga uploads the newest issues as soon as they hit the streets in Japan.
Comic Zeal (iOS: $4.99)8 of 17An excellent iOS comic reader, Comic Zeal helps you sort your comics for easy reading. Material can be automatically sorted upon upload to your device, or manually sorted with Comic Zeal's "slider" interface. The app makes it easy to organize your content into whatever order you want and create your reading list right from the app itself. Not only is Comic Zeal great at organizing, but it's also a blast for reading, with numerous customizations for brightness, navigation, "smart zoom" and other features.
Chunky (iPad: Free)9 of 17Chunky is a free and feature-packed comics option for the iPad. On the technical side, Chunky supports CBR, CBZ and PDF comics, as well as metadata tags from ComicRack and ComicBookLover. A smart upscaling mode does its best to render even low-res files as crisp as possible, while multiple view modes (single page, two page and right to left) let you read how you like. There's even an auto-contrast/tint fix to adjust for faded comic scans. The app can download comics from your cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, straight into the app's self-organizing library. Plus, a parental lock allows you to flag and hide titles behind password protection. It's a fantastic free package whose only fault is a lack of iPhone support.
YACReader (iOS: $1.99)10 of 17Don't write off YACReader as yet another comic reader. The app is a versatile reader and library management tool that handles the usual digital comic formats like CBZ, CBR, ZIP, RAR, or PDF, and can access files imported from iOS or through a variety of cloud storage services such as Google Drive, Dropbox or OneDrive, as well as the desktop version of YACReader. Users can organize their collections into folders and add labels, notes, and other details to individual issues. On the reader side of things, the app supports right to left reading modes, fit height or width modes, and a number of other options, though for some reason, without a two-page landscape mode on Apple's iPad.
iComix (iOS: Free)11 of 17iComix is another solid free option for iPhone and iPad comic fans who have their own DRM-free collections, as the app can access local storage, Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive and Box, with some basic library management features added in. iComix sorts comics by title automatically, though you can also create folders and manage the issues manually. A reader mode lets you configure the page background color, as well as supporting single- or double-page views in landscape view. The app doesn't support right to left reader modes, but otherwise, it's a nice, low-frills free reader.
Perfect Viewer (Android: Free)12 of 17If you're importing your own digital comics collection and don't need an integrated market app to go along with your viewer, then Perfect Viewer is a great option. A smooth, unobtrusive interface hides a wealth of features, such as support for various file formats, numerous display and reading options (such as left-to-right reading for western comics or right-to-left for Japanese manga), bookmarking, favorites, bookshelf management and more.
Astonishing Comic Reader (Android: Free)13 of 17Astonishing Comic Reader is another neat Android comic reader for DRM-free comic files in CBR, CBZ, and PDF formats. Configurable controls let you navigate pages with taps to the screen edge, hardware controls, or virtual buttons. A variety of library view modes provide you with automatic organization, a collections feature or the option to set your own folder organization. ACR also provides support for a variety of cloud storage providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, as well as a convenient in-app screenshot tool for sharing your favorite pages or panels.
Comicat (Android: $2.99)14 of 17Comicat is a premium Android comic book reader that gives you a ton of features and customizability for less than the price of a single issue. The app auto-scans your device (or selected library folders) for comics in supported formats (such as CBR, CBZ, and PDF) and automatically sorts them into series in a nice bookshelf view which you can then manually organize. Once you're in the reader view, the interface is unobtrusive, with long press or slide controls bringing out options and settings. The app supports cloud storage folders, password protection, manga-style right to left displays, image enhancement to correct contrast, brightness, and saturation and other tweaks.
Challenger (Android: Free)15 of 17Challenger is a free Android comic reader that comes loaded with nice display and organization tools, and some powerful cloud storage support, though in a mildly clunky menu-driven interface. The comic reader comes with a single page, double page or page split view mode, with either swipe drive page turns or infinite scrolling, immersive mode and color adjustment sliders to fix yellowed or faded scans. The app comes with a library feature for sorting comics stored on your device, but the really cool feature is cloud storage support for opening files over Drive, Dropbox, and a variety of protocols such as Samba, Webdav, and DLNA.
Tapas (Android, iOS: Free)16 of 17Tapas (Android, iOS) brings short fiction and webcomic style content to the mobile masses, offering short stories and comic strips running the full gamut of big name authors to amateur and indie writers in short, mobile friendly formats. Tapas includes both free and premium content, with a system of "coins" and "keys" that you can earn with in-app actions (like watching ads) or buy with real money. You can then use these currencies to unlock gated content.
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