Marvel Comics review
We review the Marvel Comics application on iPhone
Mainstream comics have been struggling for well over a decade in the print and paper realm, if not longer.
It’s only the movie licenses and graphic novels that have kept many of the comic publishers alive, as the ever increasing cost of print and distribution made most people’s comic book habits simply too expensive to justify.
But love for those immortal characters hasn’t dwindled in the slightest, and the popularity of e-books the iPhone and iPod touch has promised the potential resurgence of the comic book in digital form. Now the official Marvel Comics application has arrived, it seems that promise has been fulfilled.
Of course, displaying one colourful image after another doesn’t make for a digital comic book. That’s just an image viewer with Spider-Man.
Fortunately the designer behind the Marvel Comic app seems to understand this concept intimately, and has put together a piece of software for viewing comics in a surprisingly imaginative, yet very recognisable and accessible way.
The viewer itself is free, as are a good selection of comics, both new and classic. But the majority of the reading material is obtained via in-app purchase, and with previews, fast download speeds and very affordable e-comics (if there is such a word) your old reading habit is once again within reach.
As much as this isn’t an image viewer, Marvel Comics does use the established pinch and pull mechanics for moving around the pages that don’t entirely fit on the screen, as well as double taps and swipes to flick the page.
A single tap is where the real strength is found, however. Each page has been set up so the app can move between speech bubbles with a single touch, and zooms out to give you a good overview of the art when you’ve finished reading.
Where appropriate, a single panel is displayed with full orientation sensing so you can rotate the device and maximise the screen usage. To cut a long story short, it works beautifully, allowing you to get the full comic reading experience on the small touchscreen without ever feeling like you’re squinting or looking at your e-comic through a microscope.
On top of all this the application includes lots of social options. You can rate individual comics, get a list of the other comics available in that particular story arc, browse by creator, series and genre, check out the top downloaded, free and featured comics and log into your Marvel.com account.
The experience is as complete as any comic fan could want, and the Marvel Comics app will even help you find your local comic book shop should you suddenly find yourself hankering for paper and print again. But truth be told, this app is likely to hammer another nail in the coffin of traditionally published comic books, while simultaneously breathing new life into the entire industry.
Plus, this would be even more freakin’ awesome on the iPad. ‘Nuff said.
Marvel Comics info
|Ease of use:|
Platform: iPhone/iPod touch
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Developer: Marvel Entertainment
Website/Demo: Marvel Entertainment website