Geek Services Review: Comixology

Recently I’ve made a pretty significant change to my life. It was a difficult decision, and it took me quite a while to think everything through. I’m talking, of course, about going all digital with my weekly comic reading. Since I’ve made the switch, I’ve been taking a closer look at the quality of the comic reading apps available, and by far the best one is Comixology.

20131108-comixology_logo

I’ve done most of my digital comics reading on an iPad and a Kindle Fire, though I’ve also attempted a little on an Android phone, iPhone, and PC. Comixology is available on all of these platforms and it’s strong on all of them. It offers users the ability to manage their collection, buy new comics, and of course read them. On larger devices users can chose between page view and guided view. Page view is the pretty much the way it sounds, you’re looking at the comic page just as it would look in a physical comic. This is how I prefer to read digital comics, mostly because it is closest to hard copy comics. Old habits die hard and all that stuff. Guided view on the other hand takes the reader through the comic panel by panel. For larger panels and two page spreads, guided view will move from speech bubble to speech bubble and then finally present the whole page. Depending on your screen size and the font being used, it is sometimes better to use guided view on two page spreads as the font can be hard to read. On smaller screens, such as phones, users are only able to use guided view, provided it’s available.

At least on Apple devices, most of the major publishers have their own apps, but in all honesty, the only one that even comes close to the quality of Comixology is the Marvel app. Most of the apps only allow users to look at their own books and have a rudimentary store function. Marvel has more advanced functions than the other publisher apps, but it unfortunately still requires users to have multiple apps in order to enjoy comics from different publishers. That is honestly one of the greatest strengths of Comixology: the availability of comics from tons of publishers. They also have a great selection of small and independent comics through their Comixology Submit program. Comixology also offers some great sales and comic bundles. I’ve gotten more than a few complete runs thanks to those sales.

Featured screen of Kindle Fire app.

Featured screen of Kindle Fire app.

Comixology isn’t without its drawbacks however. Chief among these issues is that fact that Dark Horse comics aren’t available on Comixology. While many people like the Dark Horse app for its high quality scans of back issues, I would much prefer being able to get all of my books from one source. Another issue that has cropped up recently is exclusive to Apple products. Because the iTunes store takes a certain percentage of each in app sale, after Amazon bought Comixology, they removed the ability to make in app purchases. Users can still buy comics using an internet connection and their browser, but not directly through the app. Also, though many publishers are now offering DRM free backup copies of books that users purchase, Marvel and DC have yet to jump on that bandwagon. Given their corporate parents, I’m not certain that we will ever see DRM free from them.

In general, I’ve had the best results on my Kindle Fire. The Kindle app is very robust, probably due to the fact that Comixology is now owned by Amazon. While going all digital isn’t for everyone, I have found it to be a great decision that has enhanced my enjoyment of comic reading.

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Filed under Comics, Geek Life

In the Service of Absolution

It took about fifteen minutes for everyone to gather in crew’s mess. A very brief announcement was made ship-wide that DSF personnel would be boarding the ship, that they were not to be interfered with in any way, and that the crew was required to assemble on the mess deck immediately. No one seemed quite sure what was going on.

Michaels was the last to enter, covered head to toe in a blue-green powder except around his face where he had been wearing goggles and a respirator. “Did I miss anything?” he asked while trying to catch his breath.

“Have a seat, Michaels. We’re just getting started,” Captain Lawrence replied. Michaels found an open seat and plopped down, generating a small dust cloud as he did. It was rare to have the whole crew assembled in one place, even for meals. Typically those not on watch or working would eat as a group, and the rest would grab a meal when they had free time. Not only was the whole crew together now, but they had been joined by a squad of DSF marines, as well as what appeared to be some fleet support personnel. Continue reading

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Therefore I Geek Podcast Episode 17, Comic Book Round Up Rides Again

 

**** SPOILER ALERT *****

This podcast will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.

death of wolverine

In which, Andrew has a conversation with Santana Perez and Andrew Piovane about the hottest comics on the shelves this fall.  Of course, Death of Wolverine is the big one, but there is a lot that is happening in the comic book world.  There is also a discussion of up-coming comic book movies–especially Marvel’s Age of Ultron.  As always, hilarity ensues.  Continue reading

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Winter is Coming

Winter is coming.  Fall is upon us and that means a lot of big name games are going to see release next month.  Every year about this time, gamers are in the midst of the fall release schedule.  The big names save their releases for November, so some of the B and C-list titles tend to make good use of the season and plan their releases around them.  Every developer is vying for a piece of the holiday pie in the form of your money.   It should be expected, then, that the games you purchase are whole and complete.  However, digital media have a flexibility that other forms do not.  With the internet at their beck and call, getting a game patch to consumers is very easy to do.  So easy, in fact, that game developers expect consumers to accept the patches as a part of the experience.  This is not a good thing for gamers.

I remember the good old days of gaming.  The days when games came on cartridges, and the internet was just a twinkle in Al Gore’s eye.  Those were the days when arcades had the coolest games, and consoles were in their infancy, but growing fast.  The games produced back then were all self-contained.  The developer had only one cartridge on which to create the game.  They had to work within the memory, storage, and computing capacities of any given system.  The result was a game that had been thoroughly tested, balanced, and de-bugged, because the developer knew that it could not change any part of the game once it was released.  The internet has given the developers leeway to get sloppy and we, the gamers, have allowed them to do so.  People, like electricity, tend towards the path of least resistance. Continue reading

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Filed under Gaming, Staff Writer