Chapter 10. Comic Books

The Skim

Finding Free Comics Online

Comic Books

Comic books remain one of the Holy Grails for electronic publishing. Music, video, and even books are good fits for digital distribution: An iPhone screen is nicely sized for movies and TV shows, and text, like water, can flow to fit the limited bounds of whatever display contains it.

As you will see in Chapter 11, an iPhone makes a great reader for comic strips. But things get tougher for comic books. A comic book page is a rigid field that can have any number of panels of any size and shape ... and your eyes can take just about any path through them, at the artist's or your own discretion.

In fact, the iPhone's touch interface makes it a very credible comic reader. Any iPhone user considers it to be second nature to pinch to zoom out, stretch to zoom in, and flick a finger to slide around the page. Pages that are too detailed to really read when shrunk down to the size of an iPhone screen (admittedly, that includes most of them) can easily be "surfed" with a minimum of hassle.

The real difficulty? Comix publishers aren't really getting their acts together. There's one service on the immediate horizon that aims to change that (more on that in a bit) but for the most part, digital comics are a big leaky bag of Fail. The publishers that do digital comics at all publish just a fraction of their print output, usually months after ...

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