Friday, April 13, 2012

Comics on tablets

If the future of books is tablets then what is the future of comic books?

I just explored a couple of options. I am using a Nook Color which is a 7" tablet. I have tried comic books on a 10" tablet before, also and the results are about the same.

My Nook Color runs a dual boot so I was actually using it as a generic Android Tablet running the Nook Android App. The results are the same as running it natively since the Nook Color is Android-based.

Barnes and Noble is offering some graphic novels in digital form. I bought Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 volume one.

So, what's the experience like? Not that good. A tablet is a fraction of the size of a graphic novel. I had to zoom and pan in order to read it. Also, Nook only supports this format in portrait mode. That lets you see the entire page but you can't read it. It would be a big improvement if you could rotate the page and have it auto-size.

So - reading comic books on a Nook Color or the Nook Tablet leaves a lot to be desired.

But... Marvel and DC offer free Android apps. Since I am running generic Android, I was able to install these. They make a huge difference. You can read the comic book normally (with the same problems as the Nook app) but they also support a pan and zoom mode. This does all of the work for you. It will show you the splash page then zoom on the word balloons or, where appropriate, start with the close-up and zoom out. It is almost cinematic. Even better, Marvel is upgrading their books. When I loaded the app I was notified that some books that I had already downloaded had been enhanced and offered to refresh them.

Also, this app does support rotating. In some cases a panel was tall and thin. In other cases it was short and wide. I could rotate the tablet and the panel would resize.

This is probably the future of comics. Especially as artists get used to creating content for electronic media.

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