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Android App Review: Comics by Comixology

24 Jun 13

If you want to read comics digitally, and you’re too moral to steal them, then Comixology is probably your best bet.

They have a full range of stuff from Marvel and DC, as well as a reasonable amount from smaller publishers. And with their obviously-named Comics app, you can read all of it on your phone.

When you start buying comics through Comixology you get your own individual account, and you can access this from whatever device you happen to be on. I’ve bought comics on my laptop, then downloaded and read them on my phone later.

As you’d expect here are a few differences between the app version and the website, but for the most part they’re minor.

One that jumped out at me was that the ‘Free Comics’ tab (which is right there at the top on the website) is notably absent from the app version.

The free comics are still free – it’s just that you have to go hunting for them. They’re not neatly collected together for people as cheap as me. Overall though, the comic store and your collection of purchased titles are pretty easy to navigate.

When it comes to actually reading the comics themselves you find a greater divide between the web version and the app. To cope with a smaller screen size the Comics app offers you ‘Guided View Technology’, which basically means that instead of reading page by page, it lets you scroll through panel by panel.

This works well enough, although it can mean you miss out on any innovative page design the artist might have used. Moving between full-page view and ‘Guided View’ is easy enough though.

There is one niggling problem I found with the reader. If you’ve zoomed in on a panel (done with a finger swipe) it will occasionally have trouble realising that you then want to move on to the next panel (done by tapping the edge of the screen).

This is easily fixed by zooming out to the whole page and then going back in again, but it can disrupt the flow of your reading to have to fiddle about like this.

While the app itself is free, you will have to pay for the comics. They range in price (and a few of them are free, although not many), but it’s always cheaper than getting the printed version.

Whether the saving makes up for the lack of a tactile paper-and-ink experience is up to you, I guess. Personally I like the price and convenience of digital comics, although I found the experience of reading them on my phone less satisfying than on a laptop with its larger screen and better navigation.

The Comics app makes it easier to take your comics with you wherever you go, but then so would an actual book tucked into your bag.