Want to catch up on the adventures of your favourite comic book characters without carrying a tree’s worth of paper? Check out these brilliant comic book apps to let you read on your phone…
Comic books are no longer contained to brightly coloured pages. Switch on your TV and you’ll see your favourite creations brought to life on any number of streaming services, enter a toy shop and you won’t be able to move for Spider-Man, and film is positively bursting with comic book adaptations – from the ubiquitous Avengers and Justice League, to the lesser-known gems like Ghost World and American Splendour.
Yet, even as comic book stories are proliferating through other mediums, the source of all this content is still in the eye-popping art and bubble-based dialogue of traditional comics. The good news, however, is that you no longer need to drag reams of paper onto your morning commute just to catch up with your superhero stories. Instead, there’s a whole host of brilliant apps available to let you consume titles via your favourite mobile device.
So, what are the best apps to make comics more convenient? We take a look….
Looking for a brilliant all-round platform with a vast array of comics from all your favourite publishers? ComiXology has you covered, allowing readers to purchase and peruse from an ever-growing library of over 100,000 titles straight from the website. And the app is a suitably slick accompaniment, allowing users to download their purchased ComiXology comics and read them while on-the-go.
With brilliant features like the Guided View (which makes it easier to read comics on your smaller mobile screen), offline reading for when your commute hits those hard-to-reach areas, and in-app purchases for Android users, Comics by ComiXology is a fantastic way to take in the art form while on the move.
As anyone who watched last year’s superb Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse can attest, comics don’t necessarily need to be static. That brilliant animation brought comic-style animation to vivid motion, showing how interesting it can be if you take the medium for a walk. Madefire is similarly experimental in its approach to comic books, using visual and sounds effects, dynamic panels and interactivity to create ‘motion comics’ – and let you experience your favourite stories as never before.
The app offers a broad range of comics that have got the motion treatment (no Marvel, though), with in-app purchases letting you get your hands on most of the latest and greatest comics on the day of release. For comics that move while you’re on the move, give Madefire a go.
Comic Zeal | iOS, £4.99
Boasting the status as ‘the first comic reader in the App Store’, Comic Zeal can also promise to be among the best. Not only does it offer a broad range of settings to give you the best reading experience possible (smart zoom and assisted panning will get you whizzing through comics faster than you can say ‘Shazam’), the app is also absolutely brilliant at letting you organise your own library.
With mind-bogglingly comprehensive categorisation options, Comic Zeal automatically sorts comics into their series and then offers you the chance to drill down further, letting you indulge in the sort of fevered organisation that’d make a librarian blush. It also tracks comics you haven’t read so that you don’t get lost in the many, many series you’ll inevitably end up reading through the app.
It would be remiss of us to offer a list of comic book apps without mentioning the M word. Marvel’s output is now so well-known, from the once-obscure likes of Guardians of the Galaxy to old favourites Spider-Man and Captain Marvel, that even if you’ve never touched a comic book, you’ll likely have a passing knowledge of even the deepest cut from the publishing house. And for those eager to commute with these classic stories, Marvel Unlimited offers the catalogue and functionality to make this possible.
The monthly subscription service gives readers access to over 25,000 digital comics, offering curated lists to help you know where to get started with these brilliantly sprawling tales. New issues are added weekly and you can download up to 12 issues for offline reading, so if you want Marvel on your mobile, this is the app for you.
The other comic book publishing colossus, DC, has a similarly slick app for fans to trawl through the massive back catalogues of their favourite heroes, from Batman, to Superman, to Wonder Woman. The app actually integrates with Comixology, so you can expect the same brilliant level of polish and superb array of features as you dive into DC’s rich history.
While some of the comics veer a little to the expensive side, you can’t fault the app’s depth and, again, the integration with Comixology is a stroke of genius. For DC fans, it offers a welcome reminder of the sheer brilliance of the publishing house’s history, while also offering the latest and greatest releases. For everyone else, the DC Comics app offers a brilliant introduction into some of the medium’s greatest work.
Want to find out more about the best accessible smartphone apps? Find out more with our guide…