If you have a pulse, you’re probably excited by the advances in mobile computing. If you’re a comic fan, you’ve probably given reading on your phone or tablet at least a quick try by now. Every cellphone and tablet doubles as an e-reader these days, so it might be stranger if you hadn’t loaded up an old Superman release on your phone.
Of course, loading up your old digital comics on a PDF viewer is only the first step. The real excitement today is generated by apps. With official offerings from a number of sources and massive digital distribution channels developing, there are a number of excellent apps comic book fans should download that are compatible with most 4g devices:
DC’s official mobile app should be on your phone or tablet yesterday, if you have the slightest interest in DC or any of its imprints. With digital exclusives, same-day releases of new comics and a massive archive of older stories available, you’ll have more DC than you know what to do with. Buy once, read forever — if you’ve bought an e-book before, you’re familiar with the way this works.
A new update added a lot of social media integration, so you can share your experience with fellow fans from the comfort of the app.
Are you a Marvel fan? Then you probably want the official Marvel app. Marvel boasts 13,000+ comics under the subscription service and has included special deals on Marvel goods, news, etc., in the price.
Unlike the DC app, Marvel Unlimited is purely a subscription service. The service starts at $9.99/month or $69/year, with a premium $99/year plan available if you want a few extra perks.
This is a great one-stop app for everything old and new, including titles from DC, Marvel and every other publisher under the sun. Lots of neat features are baked into the comiXology reading experience, such as a panel-by-panel cinematic guided viewing mode, which makes a huge difference on smaller screens and a nice change-up on larger ones.
If you’re familiar with the DC app, you’re familiar with comiXology. As the largest online comic distributor, comiXology powers the official digital releases, making the services largely identical.
If you’re looking for older series, the Kindle app might be your best bet — Amazon started as an online bookstore, you must remember. It’s also a great option if you already have a library of digital comics, as it’s simple enough to convert PDFs and other common formats into something compatible with the app.
Because Kindle is Amazon-based, it has a very reliable service. You’ll see fewer outages compared to other services and the Kindle’s servers will likely be around long after competitors have vanished.
If Japanese comics are more your style, Crunchyroll’s new manga app is the perfect way to get the newest chapters of your favorite series. Popular series are translated and available the same day they hit the stands in Japan, so you’ll never be behind again.
Crunchyroll offers free and premium services, with a lot of the best features hidden behind a relatively cheap paywall. If manga is your preference, it’s pretty much the only (legitimate) name in the game at this point. Fortunately, the service and app are great.