Remember standing at the magazine rack reading comic books while your mom did the shopping? Well, I sure do, all all these years later I am still a huge comic book fan. I married an even bigger comic book geek, (so much so that many people know him by the nickname of “Comic Book Guy.”) I’m also a bit of an electronics geek, so I am a big fan of Comixology.
Comixology is a free app (though most of the content costs) that brings your favorite comics and graphic novels right to your phone or tablet. The app is available for iOs, Android and Windows phones and tablets and you can also use the Comixology website if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet. They offer all of the major comic titles, you’ll find Superman, Batman, The X-men and Avengers plus a wide variety of things you might have not be familiar with. Digital version of comics are frequently available the same day the paper copy arrives at comic stores.
Most Prices are in the 99 cents to $4.99 range, though there are more expensive offerings. There is also a good selection of free items available and new ones are added every week.
I recently spent $14 on a large collection of Brenda Starr comic strips from the 1940s. The hardcover coffee table book retails for $60, and while it was a lovely collectible, it’s unlikely that I’d haul a large book around to read on my lunch break. By purchasing the digital edition, I have access from my tablet, phone and computer whenever I might have a few minutes to peruse the strips.
The images look pretty darn sharp on this app. You can zoom in about as close as you like, but the best option is to use the Guided View when viewing on smaller screens. Guided View takes a page like this one from Captain America:
And takes you through panel by panel or by portions of the panel with just a touch or a click.
I find it to be a very pleasant reading experience. Having instant access to your whole library of comics and graphic novels is very convenient, since I run with a crowd where you occasionally have to pull out an issue of Batman to settle an argument. Having lost some beloved books to an elderly cat’s incontinence issues, I like the idea of having these copies up in a cloud where I can view them on any device.
Comixology has reintroduced me to old friends like The Archies, though will caution that this is an app for grownups. Some of the material is pretty explicit. But the developer also makes a version just for children called Comics 4 Kids. This app limits the content to age-appropriate materials and gives parents the control over who buys what.
The ultimate stamp of approval comes from my spouse, the comic book guy. He swore he’d never read a comic book or graphic novel on a tablet, but now he does so daily. Digital versions are no substitute for actual paper copies for the comics fan and he’s still first in line every Wednesday at the comic book store.
This could be a good time to test-drive Comixology. The annual Free Comic Book Day is coming up on May 4th. Many comic stores are offering free issues if you stop in and Comixology usually offers a nice selection of special free issues for download. If you enjoy reading comics or have fond memories of reading them as a kid, I’d suggest giving this app and try and see if you like it.
Comixology is available for Android, iOs, Windows and Blackberry and also online at Comixology.com. I’ve tested it on a Kindle Fire, Microsoft Surface Pro, Android and PC.