Every comic book collector knows that it’s a hobby that requires a lot of space. You may start by grabbing a couple issues from your local comic book store, but a few months or years go by and suddenly you’ve got boxes full of comics slowly piling up, until your attic looks like the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. In the age of computers, however, you can avoid the mess, as long as you don’t mind forsaking physical copies of your comics. There are plenty of comic book readers that will enable you to read digital comics on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Here are some of the best.
Astonishing Comic Reader (Android)
Astonishing Comic Reader doesn’t just have a great name; it’s also an excellent comic book reader, one that makes navigating your collection simple. The app has a clean interface that makes flipping through pages easy, with no clutter. You can enable night mode if you want to read with the lights out, and there is a manga mode for reading right to left. Best of all, the app will automatically scan your phone for comics (such as CBZ files) so you don’t need to search through your storage.
ComiXology, which is nowadays a subsidiary of Amazon, is one of the largest platforms for digital comics, and its Comics app is suitably excellent. Once you create an account — the app and signup process are free — you will have access to a vast marketplace of comics, with offerings from DC, Marvel, and more (there is an assortment of free comics, too). The app’s user interface is slick and clean, and you can read through pages as normal or glide from panel to panel in the guided view mode.
If you’re a comic book fan and have an iPad, consider yourself blessed, as Chunky Comic Reader is one of the most attractive apps for reading comics. Chunky uses techniques like upscaling and auto-tint to make sure the images look crisp and vibrant, even if the scans are of weathered pages. The app also makes importing and managing your collection effortless, syncing up with storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive. Chunky even lets you share particular panels you find amusing on social media.
If you need a no-frills comic reader, Comic Screen might be the one. The app supports a number of popular formats (CBZ, CBR, JPEG, PNG, and more), and once you select a comic, it will load quickly. You can read in single or dual page formats, depending on what you like. Comic Screen allows you to rotate or crop images, if you choose, although those buttons mean the interface isn’t quite as nice as other comic readers. The app also includes ads, although they are small and largely unobtrusive.
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Perfect Viewer (Android)
Does Perfect Viewer live up to its name? Maybe not, but it is a nice app, supporting a variety of file formats (including the usual suspects, as well as EPUB), and offering a simple interface. Once you import your comic files, the comics will appear in a “bookshelf” that some may find kitschy or cute. Flipping through comics is easy and fairly quick.
Challenger viewer may not have the prettiest menu, but it’s a solid comics reader that loads comics quickly. Once you’ve opened a comic, you’ll find it quick and easy to flip through, and Challenger offers three different viewing options: Single page, double page, or “split” double page. The app also has a variety of other options for you to tailor your experience.
YACReader is short for Yet Another Comic Reader, an acknowledgment that the field is crowded. Thankfully, YAC has more going for it than a cute name; it’s also a comprehensive comic book reader for desktops, offering all the features one might need: It supports numerous file types, offers a variety of view options, and even gives users tools to touch up images, giving scans of old comics a fresh coat of paint. If you’re a Mac user with an iPhone or iPad, you can also share your library between your desktop and mobile devices.