Far from being stamped out by the arrival of newer media, comic books have had a renaissance in recent years. The Web has extended the commercial possibilities for publishers, allowed for new digital formats and seen the rise of dozens of independent authors.
Thousands of older comic books have passed into the public domain, while a lot of newer writers have chosen to publish free comics on their own websites to build up their following. Here’s a terrific list of sites to get free, legal digital comics.
Now they are coming to your Lumia smartphone. The first way you can get your comic fix is by keeping up with the latest news. Arguably the best app for this is actually a free one. Fresh Comics automatically provides updates on the latest releases from leading publishers, together with full details and downloadable covers. It also contains a database of physical stores, along with full maps and contact details, which is a really useful addition.
Next you’ll want to fill your RSS reader with comic blogs (Marvel, DC, Image and Vertigo, for starters). DC Comics actually has its own app for Lumia that contains all the latest news, specially formatted for a smartphone screen. Here’s the equivalent for Marvel, produced by a third-party, slayerCAS, who has also made a version for Image Comics.
Now, it has to be said that a three or four-inch screen is not the ideal way to read a 12-inch x 30-page comic book. I think one reason the comics industry has thrived, rather than fallen, in the digital age is that electronic editions are quite different to the real, physical thing, which retain a unique value that can only be approximated with bits and bytes.
Nonetheless, it’s perfectly possible and I can always access my latest reading list from my Lumia 900.
Amazing Pocket Comic Viewer works with your Dropbox account to read comics in the popular CBR format. So you upload your digital comics to your account from your PC, and then read them on your Nokia Lumia without using up all its storage space in the process. Couple it with Comic Book Reader, which does the same thing but works with SkyDrive, and you can potentially have access to gigabytes of comic book goodness from anywhere.
One last app I’d recommend is one for shorter comic strips like Dilbert and XKCD. Get hold of Comic Strips for access to over a hundred of these, all for free. In the latest version, you can turn any strip into a Live Tile for one-tap access to your favourites.
Any other comic-related apps you’re using we should know about?
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