A few years back when ebooks started to gain traction, some predicted the end of the printed book. Years later, printed books are still readily available alongside their digital counterparts. It wasn’t long before virtually every publication followed suit. Newspapers and magazines began publishing digital editions, and it was only a matter of time before comic books did the same.
While a physical, tangible comic will always have its place, the convenience afforded by the digital format is unparalleled. Imagine lugging a giant tome like “The Walking Dead” omnibus onto a subway. Now imagine carrying all seven of them. As comics made the transition to digital, multiple apps cropped up to read them.
Comixology, Marvel and DC all have fantastic comic reader apps for Android. However users have to be locked in to their ecosystem to really enjoy the benefits. If you have a large collection of DRM-free comics in various formats, you might want something more flexible. Luckily, we have you covered. Check out our picks for the best free Android comic book readers.
1. Comics Plus
Comics Plus is one of the more fully-featured readers available. It has its own integrated store, so users can purchase and download comics directly within the app. Comics Plus also allows you to import your own DRM-free comics in PDF, ePub, CBR and CBZ format. In addition, Comics Plus also enables users to rent comics for a limited time.
2. Perfect Viewer
What Perfect Viewer lacks in flash, it makes up for in functionality. Perfect Viewer doesn’t have an integrated comics store, but it manages your comic collection without any hiccups. It supports multiple file formats and a bunch of other handy features like bookmarking and different reading options (like swapping from left to right and right to left for mangas).
3. Astonishing Comic Reader
Astonishing Comic Reader sports one of the more attractive interfaces of the bunch. It supports your standard comic formats like PDF, CBR and CBZ; however, it has a few tricks up its sleeve. First, Astonishing Comic Reader has configurable controls. Want to turn the page with a quick tap to the right side of the screen? Consider it done. Finally, it has an automatic organization feature that can sort your comics into collections.
Despite the name, ComicScreen markets itself as a one-app solution for all of your digital files. In addition to supporting common DRM-free comic formats, it also functions as a picture and text viewer. It has the ability to view a variety of compressed file formats including CBR, CBZ, PDF and ZIP. Additionally, the app supports SMB and FTP for wireless file transfers. It may not be much to look at, but it does the job well.
Challenger doesn’t have the smoothest interface, but it makes up for it with its Cloud storage support. All of the readers mentioned above allow users to load their DRM-free comics via an SD card or PC. With Challenger, users can import comics from a variety of cloud storage providers. Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, all the major players are covered. Furthermore, Challenger also supports protocols like Samba and DLNA for wireless transfer over a network. Best of all it’s free and has zero ads.
In conclusion, there are many apps available on the Google Play Store that have the ability to read comics and graphic novels. Many have a wide variety of features, and more than a few have a fair share of limitations. Whether that is an ecosystem you’re locked in to or you have the inability to import your own comics, it can be a deal-breaker for those looking for an app that “just works.”
The best part about the apps mentioned above is that they are totally free. Most are ad-supported; however, the ads are not intrusive and shouldn’t get in the way of enjoying your books. So give each one of them a shot and see which one suits you best.
Are you a lover of comic books who likes to read on your Android device? Do you use any of the apps mentioned above? If so, what do you think about them? Do you use a comic reader app that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.