The iPad can do many things. One of the things I am most excited about it acting as an electronic comic book reader. Marvel, DC, and many other publishers currently have their own comic book apps out there (of course, they still charge cover price AND charge cover price for back issues, despite the fact that production costs are decreased…but that’s a diatribe for another day), and many of those apps have some nice features. But I am talking about apps that let you read your OWN comic book collection (I don’t want to have to buy comics again from a company when I have an original).
Now, to get your own collection into electronic format, you need a scanner, and store the comics as a specified format. CBZ and CBR are most common, but some readers also accept ZIP, RAR, PDF, and other file types. I am lucky in that I have some comics that were given to me in CBZ and CBR format, so I am using those for these evaluations. There are also many places to download comics in the appropriate format. I also have the X-Men archives in PDF format, so if the reader supports those I will utilize that as well. There are also various websites that may have files available for download (especially out of print, public domain comics).
For this comparison, I will be looking at ease of use, appearance, features and settings, and overall “experience”. To load comics, you can do it through the iTunes file sharing, but a few also allow for online access and downloads. Some of them even allow you to load comics on DropBox (or something similar) and access them that way. To the best of my knowledge, there are no apps that allow for streaming comics (which would be nice for people with HUGE collections!) – you still need to manually download the comics if they are online.
To see how each fared, and to find out which one is my favorite, click on through to the iPad Apps Forum Comic Book Reader Smackdown!