Comics are more popular than ever before, thanks to the MCU and now, the DCEU making headway in the Hollywood. This has exposed some of the best and complex characters of the last century into the mainstream. Think Punisher, Batman, and the clown prince of Gotham.
Comic Book Reader Apps
I prefer tablets over smartphones when it comes to reading comic books. Gives me more screen estate to read and view art without having to zoom in and out too much.
With that thought in mind, here are some of the best comic book app for Android, in no particular order.
ComiCat is an offline comic book reader which will scan your device for popular comic book formats like CBZ, CBR, PDF, CB7, CBT, Zip, Rar, 7z, and PDF. It is a feature-rich app with search, catalog options, password protection, orientation and zoom options, and different view modes.
The app will cache your files which allows it to render books quickly and easily. Manga fans like to read from left to right or vice versa in which case, they won’t be disappointed. It supports that too. Other options include parental controls, cloud sync, bookmarks, and gestures.
Watch out for the virtual shelf. It’s beautiful. It will cost you $2.99 though. There is support for SD card and cloud storage services with sync enabled.
Pros: Beautiful UI, number of modes and file formats, cloud storage, and parental control.
Cons: Couldn’t find any really!
Verdict: ComiCat is one of the better comic book apps with a host of features and options to choose from. The app has a good UI and offers a nice visual representation.
While ComiCat is a paid app with a lot of features and a cool visual representation, Challenger is a free app with no ads that firmly challenges other comic book apps.
Challenger supports PDF along with the following comic books format: PDF, CBZ/ZIP, CBR/RAR, CBT/TAR, CB7/7Z, DjVu, and ePUB. It comes with a comic books downloader.
While not as feature-rich, Challenger comes with both single and double page viewing modes, infinite scroll with pinch to zoom, and orientation support. If there is a viewing mode that exists, Challenger supports it. The UI is nothing to brag about but does the job. The good thing is that it comes with cloud storage support so you can access your catalogue on the fly. There is also FTP support.
Pros: Supports a lot of file formats, viewing modes, and cloud and FTP support. No ads.
Cons: UI is not up to mark and but will do.
Verdict: The Challenger dev team focused on function and features instead of form and bells and whistles which is not bad for a free app. You can customize it to your liking.
An app so good that eCommerce giant, Amazon, decided to buy it for an undisclosed amount. Comics is a Freemium app that will open your doors to more than 100,000 comics books. The subscription model is available to US customers only, for $5.99, that will further offer a catalog of 10,000 comics including from the likes of Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image.
You can download comics and novels to your phone’s SD card for offline reading. Supports multiple devices. The most notable feature has to be the Guided View. This will help you read your favourite comics and view artwork even on smartphones. It offers a cinematic experience.
If you log in with your Amazon account, all your comics and novels from Kindle will be available within the app.
Pros: Guided View feature is cool, access to Marvel, DC, and other comic brands.
Cons: Cannot import local library. Only available for US residents.
Verdict: Comics by Comixology is a good alternative if you can afford the subscription service. You get access to a large catalogue with some big names to boot. The only downside is that you cannot import your own collection. No need for separate Marvel and DC apps.
A popular with the comic readers, Astonishing Comic Reader runs on the freemium model. The app is beautiful and elegant with good looking UI. It comes with an advanced collection option with features like collecting comic books, starting next issue when you are done reading the previous one, intelligent suggestions based on your reading habits, automatic sync.
The cloud storage feature will cost you $2.49 which is called the heroic account. It also comes with some useful statistics and favourites option. The only app, so far, on the list that will allow you to cast your comic books on any screen remotely.
I liked the ability to create custom wallpapers out of my favorite pages using the Muzei app. There are no ads. It supports DRM-free content in the following formats: CBR, CBZ, and PDF. Comes with different orientation and navigation options including support for adding tags.
Pros: Beautiful UI, cloud support, wallpapers, searchable tags, and ability to collect comics.
Cons: Limited number of file formats, and needs another app for wallpaper.
Verdict: Astonishing Comic Reader is a good looking comic book reader app with a lot of features in the free version and cloud and sync support in the pro version.
Perfect Viewer, though in Beta, is one of the best comic book reader apps on the Play Store right now. It is ad-free and completely free.
It supports the following file formats: CBZ/ZIP, CBR/RAR, 7Z/CB7, LZH, CBT/TAR, PDF, HTML, TXT, and EPUB. There are different orientation and navigation options with 5 viewing modes. You will have to install a plugin separately but it will then support cloud storage and FTP too.
You don’t need a separate app to choose an image you like to set it as your wallpaper. There is a bookshelf, however, it is not as beautiful as ComiCat. There are also the usual features like add to favourites, bookmark, and gesture support. There is also cast to screens support for Google Chromecast.
Pros: Supports Chromecast, wallpaper, cloud storage platform, and a number of viewing modes and file formats.
Cons: UI is less than stellar but can’t really complain about an app that is free.
Verdict: Perfect Viewer is a serious competition to any paid app that allows you to manage your own collection of comic books.
ComicRack is also available on the Windows platform. This means you can easily create an entire local library on your PC and access it via your Android smartphone. This is the app’s greatest strength. The sync will happen via USB (free version) or WiFi (pro version at $6.49). The pro version only removes ads and allows you to sync via WiFi. Everything else is available in the free version.
The app can create live wallpapers automatically from your comic book covers, and apart from the usual formats, it also supports webcomics. It comes with widgets.
All the usual features like gesture, orientation, color, and comic books management that you would expect from any good reader are present. One particularly useful feature is the ability to sort books by viewing states as completed, unread, and reading.
Pros: Create a local library on Windows and access remotely. Live wallpapers and good UI.
Cons: The pro version is expensive for what it offers. Local library over LAN.
Verdict: The free version is good enough and there is not really a need for the pro version unless you need the WiFi sync. The ads, I found, were not affecting the experience negatively.
Wrapping Up: Comic Book Reader Apps
If you are looking for a free comic book app, Perfect Viewer is a cool app. If you want something beautiful and care to upgrade, ComiCat is an awesome looking app with all the features you could ask for.
If you can go for subscription and want an all-in-one solution, Comics by ComiXology is awesome. You also get access to some of the biggest names in the comics world.