Before you get rid of your old stuff to make some room for boxes filled with old Spider-Ham issues, consider this: digital comics are pretty easy to get and will definitely save you some money (and space) in the long run. Sound interesting? Here’s how to get started reading digital comics on your device.
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First, Redeem Digital Codes
If you’re not sure whether you’d like to take the plunge into reading comics on your tablet or smartphone, why not check your current selection to see if you’ve got a digital copy? Depending on the publisher or the issue, some comics contain a code you can redeem on the publisher’s site (or in the accompanying app), letting you read that same issue on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Subscribe to Some Comics
You might be really into comics, enough so that your weekly pull list might be costing you more than you think. If that’s the case, you’re better off managing your comic book budget like you do your Netflix account, with a monthly comic book subscription (more on that below). You won’t get issues mailed to your door, but you’ll be able to read as many comics as you’d like and won’t have to deal with the physical presence of comics in your home (it also prevents your kids from tearing up your favourite issues when you’re distracted).
If You Need One App, Use ComiXology (iOS, Android, Web)
ComiXology should be first on your list of apps to download. The iOS and Android comics app, owned by Amazon, lets you read the latest digital issues and volumes from over 100 comic book publishers, including Marvel and DC. You can read new releases, old back issues, and even use its monthly subscription service. ComiXology also makes the apps for Marvel, DC, and other major comic book publishers, so you can use the one app to read all available issues from them.
Unfortunately, the comic book reader app doesn’t let you purchase individual issues or volumes due to a disagreement between ComiXology and Apple regarding in-app purchases. To buy issues to read in the ComiXology app, add the ones you want to your Wish List, then visit ComiXology’s site to buy those saved issues. Luckily, if you’re purchasing the issues on a device like a browser on your iPad, you can automatically open the app and instantly start reading your new comic as you normally would.
Subscribe to ComiXology Unlimited (iOS, Android, Web)
You can also subscribe to ComiXology Unlimited, which grants you a few thousand comics to peruse at your discretion for $US5.99 ($8) per month. You can use the same ComiXology app to access both your unlimited-friendly comics as well as the ones you’ve purchased outright.
Marvel Diehards Should Use the Marvel App (iOS, Android, Web)
If you’re a fan of the Avengers, or think Aquaman is just too lame for you to get on board with the Justice League, download the Marvel comic reader app, if only for the option to purchase their favourite issues in the app as opposed to ComiXology’s slightly annoying site-based purchase process.
Sure, you can get the same issues from the ComiXology app, but Marvel’s version makes it easy to find and buy issues with your favourite Marvel characters, storylines, and team-ups starring particular heroes from Earth-616 (or any Earth, really).
Subscribe to Marvel Unlimited (iOS, Android, Web)
The separate Marvel Unlimited app offers a $US9.99 ($13) monthly subscription service, which lets you access the publisher’s back catalogue of issues as well as more recent releases. On iOS devices, you’ll need to subscribe in your browser, as comic book readers like Marvel Unlimited and ComiXology don’t offer the option to subscribe within the app.
Read Your Own Comics
If you’ve got some comics stored on your computer, obtained during your time spent acquiring PDF and CBR files “from the back of a truck,” you shouldn’t let that keep you from reading them on your new tablet or laptop. Download the iComics app, which lets you read comics in a variety of formats, including ZIP, CBR, TAR, PDF and EPUB files, among others.
You can import your comics either through iTunes or through apps like Dropbox.
If you want a dedicated comic reading app on your computer, you can use a Windows app like ComicRack, or SimpleComic on the Mac, both on our list of the best comic book readers on Mac, Windows and Linux.