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November 5, 2010 2:37 PM   Subscribe

I like comic books. I was recently given an iPad as a gift. I understand that the iPad is a great appliance for reading comic books. How do I get started?

I see several apps available for reading comics, and have read a few reviews, but I am unclear about how I *get* the comics once I have the app. I see that Marvel and DC do some online sales, and I assume that lots of other publishers do as well. I just don't know where to start, and I don't know enough to even ask the right questions. So, any mefi iPad comic book fans out there? Care to point me in the right direction? I guess I am looking for both suggestions for which reader to use, and which places I can get the content from. Also, are there competing formats I should be aware of and/or concerned about? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
posted by Lokheed to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Before I bought a tablet, I read tons of comic books on my iPod Touch, using Comic Zeal. I tried out a few other apps, but CZ was my hands down favorite (you can check out the preview for CZ for iPad here). The only other real contender is Comic Reader Mobi. It has more features than Comic Zeal, but also costs twice as much.

As for file formats, stick with CBRs and CBZs (though Comic Zeal can convert PDFs). All of the Android apps that I currently use for this purpose work better with CBZ files (the z in CBZ simply means that the images from the comic were compressed into one file using a ZIP program as opposed to a RAR program for CBRs), but Comic Zeal handled either well and CBRs are arguably the standard.

I'm a copyright infringer so I honestly don't know where you would buy digital comics.
posted by eunoia at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: Disclaimer: I don't actually own an iPad (I'd like one though!), so this is mostly based on articles I've read and experience with digital comics in general.

For both Marvel and DC comics you'll need to download a dedicated app. DC stuff can be bought with the Comics by Comixology app (which also has a lot of neat stuff from other publishers, like Chew - there's also a web version of the app here), while Marvel has a separate app called Marvel Comics. In most cases you'll be paying around 99 cents to $1.99 per issue.

Quite a few digital comics are distributed as PDFs these days, including most of the stuff from stores like DriveThru Comics. GoodReader seems to be a popular reader for PDFs.

CBZ reader apps are mostly for comics downloaded through file-sharing, which for the most part tend to be pirated scans of printed comics or scanlated manga. There are some legit comics distributed in this format, though, including out-of-copyright Golden Age comics (here's a post about one site to get these from) and original works from small companies and indie creators. Also note that it's really easy to make your own CBZ files, as a CBZ is just a ZIP archive of images with the file extension renamed to ".cbz".
posted by fearthehat at 3:13 PM on November 5, 2010

Also, here's a site with a bunch of links to free comics from various sources. Although some are Flash-based and hence won't work on an iPad.
posted by fearthehat at 3:19 PM on November 5, 2010

Marvel has an iPad app that lets you buy comics.

Japanese comics publisher Viz also has an iPad app that lets you buy comics.
posted by pts at 4:25 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I use Comic Zeal. It had me drag my comics files (CBR I think) from a folder into iTunes. Their site showed how to do it.

I read comics on a 4th-gen iPod (with the nicer screen) so I can't speak for the iPad, but I'm pretty sure transferring the files works the same way. It's great.
posted by circular at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2010

Comixolgy is great! (full disclosure: i work for one [of the many] companies with comics on there)
posted by fillsthepews at 4:59 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: I pretty happy with ComicZeal. (currently working my way through the Walking Dead comics to keep one step ahead of the newly launched TV show on AMC).

As others have said... comics usually come in .CBZ and .CBR formats. Here is a quick screenshot of how you add those files to ComicZeal through iTunes. CBZ and CBR files can be found on a variety of different internet sources.

I've never done it.. but I assume the Marvel or DC apps let you purchase/download from within the app itself, which eliminates the hassle of syncing/importing.
posted by jmnugent at 6:53 PM on November 5, 2010

Best answer: Another vote for Comic Zeal. I did not like Comic Reader Mobi as much; the interface was more difficult (at least for me), and the reading experience lacked flow. I also am spending free time reading comics on my Ipod Touch.
posted by wittgenstein at 7:11 PM on November 5, 2010


DC Comics

Marvel Comics

Both the DC and Marvel apps are based on the Comixology framework and use the same back-end Comixology account for purchase & download. Also lets you read your comic collection on the web as well as the iPhone or iPad.
posted by gritter at 3:45 AM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you all. I installed ComicZeal and definitely like it. Thank you also for the link to the Digital Comic Museum, that's exactly the kind of content I am looking for.

I did also install the Marvel app, and I like it OK, I am just not all that excited about Marvel's current product. I might install Comixology later. I at least have enough to play with for now.
posted by Lokheed at 11:43 AM on November 6, 2010

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