I'm rather new to the world of the Smart Phone, but the first thing I did when I got my iPhone was download a whole heck of a lot of apps (I mean come on, that's the reason you got your phone too, right?) One of the first ones I downloaded was the Dark Horse app. My reasoning? DH was coming out with a brand new Star Wars comic set in the original saga with the original characters. I was so excited! And not knowing of a comic book store that was close, digital download looked like the way to go! I got the app, clicked on it, and then cried... the app sucked so bad that it wasn hardly worth having! More about this technological fiasco after the break...
Dark Horse is one of my favorite comic book publishers. They publish Star Wars, Mass Effect, Hellboy, Orchid, and many other series that I enjoy. They are probably the company I read from the most (although I'm new to comic books so that's not really saying much). This is why I was so disappointed when after fifteen minutes of struggling to get the app to work I pretty much gave up on it.
- Lag, glitches, and gaps. Oh my! Especially when these apps first came out, the start up was slow, and don't even think about trying to turn the page quickly. For Dark Horse at least after the last couple of patches, the page turning has smoothed out (start up is still pretty slow). I always pray before I turn the page because if I get an email or text at the same time, my whole phone freezes.
- The Patch Attack: I don't know if this is just me or if everybody experiences this but it seems that every time I download an update for my comic book app my library gets wiped off my phone and I have to redownload my collection.
- The Infernal Zoom: I like to turn my phone sideways when reading my latest graphic novel or comic because it makes the page slightly larger and I don't have to fiddle with two fingers to zoom. So I guess I really just need a tablet, but if I'm going to buy a tablet, why not just buy the book (it's at least two inches bigger)?
- A day late and a dollar short: Most of the time, digital releases are a few days after the paper release. So guess you can't hang out with your friends for a few days in case of spoilers...
- Beauty and the App: One thing I will say about digital copies, they are absolutely breath taking. The images are sharp, clean, and the colors are vibrant. All together artistic perfection. The only problem... it's not tangible. If you like having the real thing in your hand, just buy the paper version.
- I Spy with My Little Eye: the ability to zoom really close does allow for the reader to notice more than ever before.
- It's cheaper... nuf said...
Other than the big name publishing companies, there are other comic book apps you can get. I've never used any of them before so you'll just have to try them on your own, but here is a great review by Wired Magazine.
All in all, the iPhone comic book apps are alright but nothing really beats the real thing. If you love comic books and want to have something tangible then support your locally owned comic book shop and buy paper copies (you can impress your friends with all your book shelves). But if you prefer the digital versions, don't come complaining to me when they all disappear off of your device some day after an update!