I read quite a few different comic books on a regular basis, but constantly lose the issues. Instead, I’d like to go digital and read them on my iPad or iPhone. Is that possible? How can I proceed?
Comic books have enjoyed quite a renaissance in the last decade or so and the latest generation of artists and storytellers are creating a phenomenal range of visual stories with themes ranging from those appropriate for your 8yo daughter to those that are definitely for a mature audience only, and even those can be dark, aggressive and aimed at particular tastes. But that’s all good, it’s a win for all of us who enjoy a visual component to our stories!
I’m biased towards Dark Horse Comics because they’re producing a lot of the content I really enjoy, and even better, they have a splendid digital platform that lets you not only enjoy your comics on your mobile device, but make it super easy to share and sync across devices, so you can start a series on your iPhone and switch to your big iPad effortlessly.
The breadth of offerings on Dark Horse Comics is so big that it can be a bit overwhelming. Check for your favorites and I’ll bet you’ll find most of them, if not all of them! Dark Horse says they have over 3000 series represented, including Angel, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Baltimore, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Conan, Dragon Age, Elfquest, Emily the Strange, Empowered, The Fifth Beatle, Joss Whedon’s Fray, Grimm, Halo, Hellboy, Lone Wolf and Cub, Mass Effect, Prometheus, Serenity, The Strain, Frank Miller’s Sin City and 300, Tarzan, The Terminator, Tomb Raider, and Usagi Yojimbo.
So how do you get started with Dark Horse Comics? Easiest way is to search for “dark horse digital” in the App store. Or use this link: Dark Horse Comics in iTunes [or, if you’ve an Android smartphone or tablet: Dark Horse Comics for Android].
Launch the app — I’ll do so on my iPhone — and you’ll see it comes pre-loaded with some good reading:
Without paying a nickel, you can download about 150 pages worth of great comics. That’s a win.
But you probably want to sign up for a Dark Horse Digital account to get started and to be able to purchase the series (and back issues!) that you prefer. Easiest is to do that on their Web site, digital.darkhorse.com. Do so, then come back with your login credentials. I’ll wait.
Back? Cool. Now to log in to your new Dark Horse Digital account, tap on the three dashed line icon on the top left of your iPhone screen:
Tap on “Log in” here (yes, you can sign up directly from the iOS app, but I prefer using a bigger screen for that. Your call!) to get to the login window and, well, you know the drill:
Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to “Restore Purchases” so tap on that link and enjoy the warning:
You should only see this once, and it’s really behind-the-scenes stuff related to in-app purchases. If your logged in iTunes account is your main account, then just tap “Yes” to proceed.
But there’s a difference between restored and downloaded and ready to read, however, so when you go back to your collection, you’ll see all your purchases have shown up, but they have “Download” buttons:
I need to catch up on Baltimore, so I’ll tap to pick a specific issue — The Plague Ships #1 — and since I’m not on wifi, the app will very politely warn me that I’m poised to eat up some cellular bandwidth:
If you are on wifi, of course, you won’t see this warning. I have a lot of data through my AT&T Wireless plan, so I’m in! A tap on “Download” and it zips down quickly enough, then I can tap on it and…
The experience on a smartphone is good, but where it’s really excellent is on a tablet. Vibrant colors, the ability to tap to zoom in so you can appreciate the nuances of individual illustrations, and the ability to carry dozens, or even hundreds, of issues stored in your tablet is a massive win.
Oh, and about those plague ships… 🙂
Disclaimer: I also write for Things From Another World, so I have a business relationship with Dark Horse’s subsidiary, just so we’re all clear and transparent. But I help out with TFAW because I really like Dark Horse and its product line!