08.29.2014Personal Tech

Digital Comic Books – The Future of Comics

This is a guest post from Chicago RedEye‘s "resident geek" Elliott Serrano. He has been demoing the LG G Pad and HTC One (M8) to put them to the test when reading digital comic books.

While they may have needed to be dragged into it kicking and screaming, comic books have made it into the digital age. Today, most every publisher offers a digital version of their comics online and via an app. And one can amass a considerable collection without having to fill their attic with those cardboard boxes that your mom is going to get rid of in her next garage sale.

Unlike print comics, the digital comic books reading experience can vary from device to device. I made use of the LG G Pad with Verizon 4G LTE and the HTC One (M8) phone for the purposes of this story.

First up, the LG G Pad:

I tried the LG G Pad with a few of the most commonly used digital comic apps: Comixology, Dark Horse and Amazon’s Kindle app.

Comixology offers what they’ve dubbed as the “guided view experience,” with the app giving readers the option of flicking from page to page, or zooming in and focusing on each panel in sequential order.

I found I could forego using the “guided view experience” setting on the G Pad because the screen size was large enough to read the entire page without zooming in.

The Dark Horse Comics app offered a similar experience, though not as refined as Comixology. Their app allowed for zooming in on panels, but I found myself flicking from page to page because the G Pad’s screen size made for easy reading.

The Amazon Kindle app followed a similar format, but didn’t run as smoothly as the Comixology or Dark Horse apps. It also leaves too much border space surrounding the page, making the panels much smaller on the screen and almost making it necessary to use the panel zoom feature. And with as slow as the app runs, that gets pretty annoying.

Which brings us to reading comics on the HTC One (M8):

Even though the screen is larger than the average handheld mobile device, reading comics on the HTC One works best using the guided view or panel zoom feature.

But where reading comics on the HTC One (M8) really shines is in reading any of the Marvel Infinity Comics or the BATMAN ‘66 SERIES From DC COMICS.

Marvel’s Infinity Comics have featured their top characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man and The Guardians Of The Galaxy. The Batman ‘66 Series features stories of the Caped Crusader told in the style of the campy television show from the 1960’s.


These comics are created with the mobile device user in mind, with each “issue” designed to read on the average cell phone screen. Instead of pages, the comic goes from panel-to-panel, with each swipe advancing the story and giving the transitions a pseudo-animation effect.

The apps for both Marvel and DC run smoothly on the HTC One (M8) and won’t give you any eyestrain. I don’t recommend reading comics on a handheld phone using the Amazon Kindle app. They’ve yet to work out the kinks in it, which is probably why they recently bought up Comixology.

In conclusion, reading these comics on the LG G Pad and HTC One (M8) means you can carry an entire comic collection in your pocket without hurting your back! (Have you ever tried picking up a comic “long box” filled with a few hundred comics? It’s not easy!)

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