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Adventures of a Comic Book Newbie: What are My Digital Options?

Jessica Pryde

Contributing Editor

Jessica Pryde is a member of that (some might call) rare breed that grew up in Washington, DC, but is happily enjoying the warmer weather of the desert Southwest. While she is still working on what she wants to be when she grows up, she’s enjoying dabbling in librarianship and writing all the things. She can be found drowning in her ever-growing TBR and exclaiming about romance in the Book Riot podcast (When in Romance), as well as on social media. Find her exclamations about books and pho on twitter (JessIsReading) and instagram (jess_is_reading).

Adventures of a Comic Book Newbie is the place where you’ll find a discussion of the fundamental elements of comics and comic culture. If you’re new to comics (or perhaps a seasoned vet eager to get back to the basics), this column will serve as a guide on where to start and what you need to know to get the most out of your comics experience.

Panelteer Swapna:

Buying comics can be a little intimidating. I’m not sure I have room for all the comics I’m interested in on my shelves. I have a subscription to Marvel Unlimited, but what are my other options in terms of buying comics digitally?

Panelteer Jessica Pryde:

Readers have their preferences when it comes to reading comics digitally, just as they do for prose books. ComiXology is a one-stop-shop for single issues, where you can buy titles from all of the big publishers–not just DC and Marvel, but Image, Vertigo, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! etc. You’re not confined to single issues, though; you can buy trade volumes and collections as well.

I like ComiXology, but I prefer the more difficult route. There are some trades that I’ve bought on Amazon, and I don’t mind the way the Kindle app presents the books. I’ve also got the individual apps for each imprint–even though the one for DC is pretty much just ComiXology separating out the DC comics. Since I read way more Marvel than DC or Image, I’ve come to appreciate the various aspects of the Marvel Digital portal, not just the app, but the browser reader as well. With a full screen and magnifying option, the ease of reading is priceless.

The other aspect of “digital” in regards to comics is those items that are born digital–not just created digital issues, but webcomics that are regularly updated by unaffiliated writers. Most of these, I’ve come across by word of mouth–physical or online–and I like helping to spread the word for those, too.

There are so many digital options: special comics websites, surprise sales, and even ebook apps like Kindle.

There are so many digital options: special comics websites, surprise sales, and even ebook apps like Kindle.

Panelteer Kristina:

Jess already nailed a bunch of options above, and I agree ComiXology is a great one-stop-shop for digital comics (especially when they have big sales). Buying digitally has really saved my bacon while living abroad – it saves me money and space, and plus, every page looks gorgeous on my iPad’s screen. And yeah, there’s also webcomics, and there are so many great ones out there.

There is one other way I’ve been getting loads of comics though, and that’s through Humble Bundle. They’ve done some comics-related sales (recently: Star Wars by DarkHorse), and it’s hard to beat the combined awesomeness of paying what you want for a huge amount of books, and supporting the creators, and supporting charity. Once you’ve made your purchase, you can download them, DRM-free, in whatever format is available on the page and enjoy it as you like.


We all have our preferred method of reading digitally. What’s yours? If you were on the fence about digital consumption before, will you think about climbing over with us?