The Best Android Digital Comic...
May 12, 2014
Take the Android platform and add digital comic book apps—that's how you get the best one-two punch since Luke Cage met Danny Rand. There are many digital comic book readers on Google's mobile platform that can entice comic book fans to tap the download icon, but not all are created equal. Some digital comic book readers feature integrated stores. Others are stand-alone readers that let you enjoy DRM-free comic files. A few others are publisher-exclusive apps for fans of a particular comic book house. In short, there are a variety of ways to read comics on an Android device, and some are better than others.
And that's exactly what we've rounded up here, after countless hours sacrificed to onerous task of reading digital comics: the best. It's a dirty job...
The basic greatness of digital comic readers is that they let you purchase and read comics from your smartphone or tablet—you no longer need to live near a comic book store to pick up The Mighty Avengers, Sex Criminals, Superman, or other titles. In fact, you never have to get up off your Wi-Fi enabled couch. This is a level of accessibility never before seen in the comic book industry.
The still relatively new digital format is fast finding a home with comic book fans. Digital comic books make up roughly 10 to 12 percent of overall comic book purchases—a share that looks set to keep rising. That translates to a great many people reading comics on electronic devices (although the super fans with deep pockets and obsessions may skew the curve a bit).
Android tablets, naturally, make for easier reading than Android phones thanks to their larger screens. You can check out our top picks in our Best Android Tablets roundup. That said, if you're set on reading on a smartphone, a large handset like the Samsung Galaxy Note is relatively easy on the eyes. Select Android devices support Comixology's stunning HD comics.
The Ones to Sample
The five Android digital comic book readers in this roundup are the best of the bunch. We have apps from both the comic industry's digital powerhouses and less-famous but still high-quality offerings, too. The summaries for each app below only brush the surface of what these apps can do; check out the full reviews for a big picture view of each digital comic book app's functionality.
Once you've got your apps all picked out, make sure to visit our list of ten digital comics you should read right now, which is updated monthly.
Android smartphone and tablet-owning comics fans should download the revamped Comics app. A new cart feature adds convenience to the comic-purchasing process, and the panel-to-panel Guided View reading mode is a joy to behold. That said, a few significant back-catalog gaps may drive some fans to visit their local brick-and-mortar comic shop to buy print copies of, for example, Secret Wars II. Still, if you prefer buying the new The Amazing Spider-Man without worrying about mylar bags and backing boards, Comics is the go-to Android digital comic book app.
Perfect Viewer lacks an integrated store like the Comixology's Comics app, but it supports numerous comic-friendly file formats, import methods, and reading styles. If you're a digital comic book enthusiast who doesn't want to be locked into Comixology's ecosystem, Perfect Viewer is worth a download.
ComicRack for Android lets comics fans read and manage DRM-free comics with ease, but the lack of solid CBR support may turn off a few potential customers. Still, the wireless sync and SmartList features are sweet bonuses in this relatively pricey app.
Komik Reader may not be packed with high-end features like other Android digital comic book readers, but there's elegance in its simplicity. The app—which supports DRM-free comics—is attractive and very simple to use for both novices and longtime digital comics fans.
From $9.99 per month
Comixology's Comics app may be the face of the digital comics space, but voracious Marvel readers will find Marvel Unlimited (from $9.99) a satisfying alternative. Instead of focusing on individual issue sales as the Editors' Choice award-winning Comics does, Marvel Unlimited lets users dig through a library of more than 15,000 digital comics. Depending on the subscription tier chosen, the app offers the hardest of the hardcore plenty of geektacular extras, such as exclusive Hasbro action figures.