Saturday, January 08, 2011


I got an iPad for Christmas, and it's been a blast. For the most part, I tend to use my computers for practical stuff, like radio work and graphics, so I've been trying to find some practical apps for it. I haven't had much success so far in the practical department, but I have found an app that I've been using relentlessly since I purchased it: Comic Zeal. It's a very intuitive app, so if you play around with it you can figure it out without problem. It reads comic books in the .cbr, .cbz, .rar, and .pdf formats, so it is pretty flexible. Right now it appears to only be available for iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad, though.

For the last few weeks I've been pretty much using this high tech gadget for reading comic books. I've loved comic books my whole life, but my main area of interest has been in Golden Age comic books. This is a period ranging approximately from the late 30s to the early 50s, when comic books were insanely popular and the industry boomed. Comic books were so popular during this period, that the US Goverment even held hearings to determine whether or not they were responsible for fueling juvenile delinquency, much like rock music and video games are today.

My favorite publisher during this period was EC, or Entertaining Comics, which was run by William Gaines. EC built its reputation on great art and lurid content, and featured titles like Tales From The Crypt, Vault of Horror, Crime SuspenStories, and the original Mad Magazine. The stories were often shockingly grisly, even by today's standards, and were told with art that is still influencing the industry today. EC became the poster boy for the villification of the comic book industry, and was singled out during the government hearings on comic book influence. Eventually Gaines shut down all the comics EC put out, with the exception of Mad, which continues to be published. The impact of EC can still be found in movies, books, and comics today.

EC Comics aren't readily available in a digital format, but you can still find loads of comics out their for your various digital devices. DC and Marvel have them available through their websites, as do a number of other comic book publishers. However, I'm a Golden Age guy, so the place that I go to is Digital Comic Museum, an online resource filled with hundreds of public domain Golden Age titles. This means THEY ARE FREE, and that's not a bad thing.

Will you be able to find Superman, Batman, Tales From The Crypt, or Mad there? No. You will, however, find loads of attempts by smaller publishers to cash in on the popularity of those titles. There's lots of forgotten humor, crime, horror, and superhero titles to be found here. Some are good, some are bad, but at the very least you're gonna have fun nosing around.

I've tried a few comic readers on my laptop computer, but none have made me as happy as Comic Zeal has. However, there are a few free Windows and Mac readers suggested by Digital Comic Museum.

Windows: pixelComic, CBViewer

Mac: Comic Book Viewer, Jomic




Baron von Püpi said...

This is the main reason I would want one of these new-fangled devices.


The size is perfect for reading comics, and I love carrying hundreds of issues with me everywhere.