Webcomics on your smartphones, part 2

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After downloading a whole mess of iPhone apps, I came to the realization that Shlock Mercenary updates every day. How do I know this? Because I left the notification on, and a little pop up shows when a new strip appears. This seems pretty unnecessary for Shlock Mercenary, which updates every day. But wouldn’t this be a great feature for webcomics that update infrequently, like Lackadaisy or The Meek?

One of the apps I use quite often, for example, is the one for the Red Letter Media video podcast. Whenever there’s something new, Mr. Plinkett pops up with a little, “Ring, ring, ring, ring.” Red Letter Media does not update all that frequently: when they get on a roll, it’s once a week, but that’s sort of the exception. So when the notification pops up, I run to their site to check it out. Sometimes its through the app, sometimes — especially when I’m out of wireless range — I go through my desktop. Point is… the notifications are really, really neat, and could possibly be a been to webcomics with infrequent update schedules.

Anyway, onto the app reviews, part 2!

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1.) Rage Comics

Like xkcd, Rage Comics is one of those genres that inspire many multiple apps. There are actually apps available that let you creat your own rage comics, because copying and pasting in MS Paint is way too much effort. I downloaded two. First, there’s Rage Comics app developed by Alberto Garcia Hierro. It’s very easy to use, and it’s surprising how nice it comes out in a smartphone environment. Each panel is nicely isolated in a simple side-swiping environment. Simpler is better, especially when 95% of the time the punchline is that one with the black background and the dude with the look of horror on his face.

Analysis: Worth it

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2.) Rage Comics: Box of Rage

This Rage Comic viewer features an attractive interface.. which is kinda weird since it’s severely contrasts with the crude drawings of Rage Comics. It’s not a bad app. However, I kinda prefer the other app because while this one draws attention to how pretty the app is, the first one does a better job at presenting the comic itself. Also, it took me a while to figure out that swiping sideways was how you viewed one comic to the next. Beyond that, it’s a pretty good app. What does it say about the webcomic apps field when two of the best are about rage comics?

Analysis: Worth it

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3.) Comic Ave.

The Comic Ave. app lets you view fifteen different comics, from Chicken Wings to the delightfully named Gyno-Star. Now, the app tended to crash a bit often on my phone, which is the bad thing. However, the app does include a nice feature where it pulls up any strip and automatically segments a comic into individual panels. So, I can pull up KC Green’s Gunshow and view it panel by panel with a simple swipe. It’s pretty convenient, though the process is a little slow.

Analysis: Kinda worth it

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4.) Aeria Comic

Oh, for want of that segmentation feature in this app. Aeria more or less reposts the entire full page comic. The art’s nice, which sorta justifies the full page view. However, the text at this resolution is kinda hard to read. It’s a simple interface: it has a nice archive system and separate menus for the main comic and the sillies. A fairly decent app.


Analysis: Kinda worth it

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5.) Basic Instructions

Scott Meyer’s slice-of-life webcomic tends to be extremely wordy. Each panel, typically arranged in a 2×2 format, is packed with captions and word balloons. So I was pretty pleased that the “forward button” in the lower right immediately zooms into the first panel, and subsequent swipes send you to the next one. It’s simple and low frills and works for the kind of comic Mr. Meyer makes. (I also noticed that the zoom-in feature is automatic. There’s a full panel Basic Instructions that was put out on Thanksgiving that still zooms in to the upper right quadrant.)

Analysis: Worth it

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6.) Rival Angels

The comic still exists (Alan Evans’ latest update is on November 23), but it seems that the app is completely defunct. Comic feed: not available. Blog: Loading. Twitter: Not available. Facebook Fan Page: there’s an update. But the latest comic mentioned was a whole chapter ago. I may be the only person in the world who actually has a Rival Angels app on his phone.

Analysis: Drop it

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7.) Nemu Nemu

This app does not exactly optimize the comic for the iPhone screen. In fact, it just seems to take the info from the website and reposts it in the app. Thus, little discernible advantage over pulling it off just the website. That said, despite the lack of programming prowess, I do have to say it is easy to use. The archives make it pretty easy to access old strips (despite the lack of a bookmark feature), and the strips are generally simple enough that the text isn’t terrible at the resolution the app gives you. Tough call, but given that some apps have crashed on me for offering too much, I’d say that the reading experience on the Nemu Nemu app is alright.


Analysis: Kinda worth it

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8.) iWebcomix

iWebcomix accesses the feeds of almost 40 webcomics. I can’t vouch for the accuracy, by the way. When I pulled up the latest feed for Nerf This!, I noticed that the most recent link posted on the app was from a storyline several months old. (Though my first thought was, seriously, “They’re still on that goddamned beach?!?!?!?!”) I gotta say that the app does pull up comics quicker than if you try to access the same comic on Safari. It’s a pain though, trying to zoom into each comic once they pull up. The feeds are a little inconsistent, too. Some will pull up the strips themselves. Others, like A Series of Cats, pull up the entire site, including the blog posts, comment sections, and sidebars.


Analysis: Kinda drop it

About El Santo

Somehow ended up reading and reviewing almost 300 different webcomics. Life is funny, huh? Despite owning two masks, is not actually a luchador.

Posted on December 7, 2012, in The Webcomic Overlook, webcomics. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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