Digital Comics Don’t Fit

The appeal and ease of digital comics is something I should love the idea of, but somehow they never feel right. I’ll happily read books digitally, but why not comics? A lot of people love the format, but now I realize that the problem I find is with the formatting.

When people write books they never give a thought as to where the text wraps to another page or how a paragraph break sits in relation to all the other paragraphs, but the placement of comic panels and their arrangement on the page is critical. Text alone can adapt to any format; even before e-readers the same book was published in different formats without compromising the work. But comics are different; they are art that uses dialogue as a means of punctuation. The page of a comic is bigger than an iPad screen, meaning you have zoom to get the panels to the same size. I find this impairs your movement around the page, and enjoyment of it.

Comixology’s ‘Guided View’ comics, which have integrated ‘paths’ across the panels to lead you through the page, goes some way to fixing this issue, but not all comics have this.

Comics are art. In the same way you can appreciate a painting hung on the wall more than the same image set as your phone wallpaper, a comic you can hold and turn the pages of allows you to appreciate the artwork more than if it were simply backlit on a screen.

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