By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]
So far, comics have been a very underutilized media for the iPhone, but it looks like publishers might be considering that option for electronic distribution more and more. Most recently, IDW has released “Star Trek Archives: The Best of Peter David No. 1.” It costs 99 cents through iTunes, and the rest of the comics in the series should follow.
The Star Trek comics, like the others released through iTunes, use the iVerse comic reader. It seems a little odd to me that individual comics are treated like apps, each with its own icon. If you start reading a lot of them and want to keep them on your phone, it could get very crowded very quickly. I think that at the very least it would be better to have different issues of the same title under the same icon.
That aside, the iPhone actually doesn’t make a bad comics reader. Using the iVerse reader sure beats PDFs anyway. The problem, of course, is that the small screen necessitates frame-by-frame reading. As you move through the pages you may have to turn your phone sideways on occasion for landscape frames. If you appreciate comics for the art–especially big pictures taking an entire page–than this medium will do nothing for you. Of course, if that’s the case then you probably wouldn’t be interested in electronic versions at all. For something like the Star Trek comics, I think I can get on board with iPhone distribution, but I can’t see myself using it for, say, Sandman.
The iPhone comics also have the advantage of being inexpensive. Most of them are 99 cents, and sometimes the first issue is free. I also checked out the (free) first issue of the manga Oz. Though for me, black and white is harder to read on the iPhone than color. Also, the selection right now is pretty dire. The Star Trek comics seem to be the first breakout.
Oh, and like any great launch, the product was buggy. When I downloaded the comic yesterday, most of the comments from customers were about how there were pages missing. There has been a fix promised in a free update.
So what do we think? Yea or nay for comics on iPhone? If you have one, I’d recommend downloading one of the free ones just to try it out. If not, check out this video to get an idea of how it works: