Comic Zeal & Other comic readers

Discussion in 'iPad Forum' started by Theydon Bois, Jun 10, 2010.

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  1. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Blimey, I need to update this don't I? I still have not added ComicRack, nor updated Zeal.....
     
  2. ratbrain

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    finally got an ipad air and have been looking for a good review of all comic readers. this is a great thread.

    looks like i need to decide between comic glass and comic zeal.

    been using comic book lover and its good for free, but lacks any way of organizing books as series.

    keep the reviews coming!
     
  3. ratbrain

    ratbrain
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    another question, if you have multiple readers installed on iPad, is the imported collection shared between readers? or do you have to re import them again for each reader?
     
  4. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Promise promise promise I will do some updates soon.

    How about some comics for your readers and do some charity work :)

    Groupees
     
  5. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Is there a new King in town? I hope to have something written up in the next day or so.

    And why Apple, are you restricting the 'shown' apps in a folder when you have so much real estate? I have 10+ comic readers and its goes to 2 pages, rather than all on 1....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    And I just noticed that the iOS update has turned bluetooth on. :facepalm:
     
  7. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I dont know why I give a timeline :blush: I can never stick to it. The review is just over half done at the moment :)

    I also have started a refresh of the comixology app, its been 3 years! since I reviewed it last. If you didnt know, they have linked Marvel Comic purchases to it now, so books bought in Marvel are now linked to your comixology account. Which is excellent news!
     
  8. Theydon Bois

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    [​IMG]

    Version: 1.8 [March 2014]

    Price: £1.99

    Website: Chunky Comic Reader for iPad

    Formats: CBR / CBZ / PDF

    Cloud Support: Yes

    Manga Mode: Yes.

    Importing

    This is where I normally say, open iTunes and drag and drop comics blah blah blah. Not this time, as I did not even bother getting my Macbook out. Why? Because on opening Chunky Comic Reader for the first time I noticed that it has more or less complete cloud support - simply click the Cloud icon and then sign in and browse your chosen cloud storage.

    [​IMG]

    I added my Dropbox account and pointed it at a folder full of comics. You can then select one, a few or all of the comics within the chosen folder and it will import them, even in the background while reading another comic.

    I have not tried this before as I named all of my scans properly, but I had one comic that that I had in my Dropbox folder with loads of extra details in the title (the author and artist, I must have been experimenting with some kind of meta data) and it quite happily ignored the extra 'fluff' and just imported it with the comic title which is quite clever.

    The Comics are imported directly into their respective titles, X-Men (with just 5 characters that can trip some readers up) imported ok as did the other titles without any additional sorting required. The Comic numbers (after the title) are added automatically - I tested that it is clever enough to name them based on the numbering of the titles themselves by importing numbers 3-5 of another comic and it showed that correctly. If the numbers added to the series title bother you, simply move them into a new folder called the same thing and the numbers disappear.

    A nice little touch is that if you import 4 single title, it groups them into a series header called 'Other Comics', and it appears that the series header can be a healthy 40 characters before truncating.

    [​IMG]

    Organisation

    The app opens directly into a list of your comics, a vertical list of series with comics shown by a cover view that horizontally scrolls through the titles within. There are no comic box or shelf like views, just a plain coloured background with series headers. There is no list view that I could see and no way that could shrink or increase the comic covers to fit more series onto one page. The list automatically adjusts its view if you hold the ipad in portrait or landscape.

    [​IMG]

    There seems to be no way to browse the series one step deeper as such, meaning you need to scroll to the left or right repeatedly, which could be a chore for if you have 100 comics or more in that series. There is a search function at the top of the page which if you enter say Fantasic Four will then show the comics in one page with vertical scroll though.

    You can edit the series header and individual comics easily by pressing and holding the comic or header. This then reveals a selection of options, however there does not appear to be any Manga view that I could see.

    [​IMG]

    Context menu for Series Header: Rename series, move the comics to another series, delete the series, Mark them as read or unread, how many it contains, size of folder.

    Context menu for Comic's: Rename comic, assign to another series, delete, mark as read or unread, size, page count, cover selection.

    Additional Settings from the main settings icon allow you to change the colours of the background from white to any colour in the spectrum, as well as the series titles and the Chunky logo. There are also Pan settings, hot corners, motion blur and upscaling and recolouring of images - for instance if your scans are yellowy.

    There is an edit button that changes the header icons and then allows you to select multiple items to move or delete - just click edit, select multiple issues, then the comic box (or bin) at the top to then select the series folder you wish to move (or delete) them all to.

    [​IMG]

    Viewing Experience

    Arguably the most important point of any reader, how does it read? The proper hotspots are all accounted for - right to advance, left to go back, top to bring up the menu, centre to bring up the comic menu. It also has bottom right hand corner for two page view - more on that later.

    For zoom options, it does not have a specific zoom lock, but different zoom modes - full screen (fit to height) is default, but a double tap makes it fit to width. Double tap again to zoom further, double tap to zoom in further again and it has another zoom after that. You can pinch to zoom in and out, but it will settle on one of the preconfigured points as above - it will not exactly pinch and lock. Zoom setting are retained if you switch between landscape and portrait.

    There seem to be no load delays - some readers have a pause or a blurred image before the full image, either on comic load or page turning, Chunky had none that I saw.

    Unless you glazed over it, I mentioned Pan settings above, and yes, that means that it does have the pan assisted mode of Zeal! A fit to width setting will with a single tap advance to the bottom of the screen, meaning you don't have to scroll down. Landscape takes three taps to scroll to the bottom (which may be one too many for some) and tap tap tap will start a page, move down and then advance a page as Zeal does.

    The two page viewing mode is also well done, simply tapping the hotspot in the bottom right corner pops you in and out of two page viewing, splicing two scanned individual pages together, great for those splash pages.

    [​IMG]

    A tap to the centre while reading a comic brings up the Comic settings menu as you would expect, a slide bar navigation that has pop up thumbnail images (again with no load or delay) and retains the top right corner menu that appears in the 'home' screen.

    [​IMG]

    Manga Mode: There is also a manga mode which is a well hidden (the first draft of this review had omitted it until it was pointed out to me) - click the arrow underneath the page count and the pan assist switches to the left. This setting is retained throughout your reading session until changed back.

    Another little (unique?) feature is the speech bubble icon on the left, which when tapped allows you to square off an area and when pressing the cut icon, allows you to send the area selected as an email or message (and possibly other social media? I dont have a Facebook or Twitter accounts to test.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, the end transition has a nice little image of the next comic that a tap will load and move into.

    [​IMG]

    Theydon's Thoughts

    Chunky Comic Reader has ticked off quite a few key features for a comic app - more than any other currently. For me Zeal has stayed at the top simply due to the power of pan assist mode - but it has shortcomings due to the lack of proper (and much delayed and often asked for) Dropbox/Cloud support - opening something from Dropbox into a reader is not real intergration. Then add the over complicated sort method (from its change from version 4 to 5) - possibly wanting to emulate the Note taking app from the same publisher and you get to see why Pan Assist was so crucial to Zeals popularity.

    Lets start with the bad points about Chunky first, and I am nit picking really. There is no finite control on the zoom options - but from the brief comic reading session (20-30 comics worth) all seemed ok with the fit to width that I prefer (even on a retina iPad) and I am not quite sure on the point of the last two zoom modes, but some one might. Some people may moan about the lack of bookshelves or pictured backdrops, but a comic shop does not have book shelves for comics, just graphic novels, and the many colour options for backgrounds should find one suitable for your mood. There is no way to change the inital view via list or change the size of the cover images to fit more on the screen as well.

    Arguably, the 'worst' thing for me about the app is the lack of a separate list of the comics - that horizontal scroll could go on for ages with a 100 comics in it (say for instance the entire Sandman or Preacher series), where a quick tap to the series header to open up a cover view of the contents would solve this issue by showing 16-20 instead of 4 per page. Yes you can do a search via the comic title to get the same results, but the lazy buggers amongst us will will think thats far too much effort :) You can also click the A-Z rather than Series button, but with any one that has amassed a few hundred comics will simply have to scroll though multiple issues instead making this view superfluous - a list view would be better.

    The plus points are far better, with its ability to import multiple comics via Dropbox, bypassing the clunky iTunes import completely is a really useful and essential part of a reader app and one that I have not yet seen done properly. This on its own would have still probably held me in the Zeal camp, but as I opened a comic and started to play about and it panned.....well I was sold. Add to this a clean interface, a nice and easy 2 page view mode, no apparent load for pages or books, books automatically imported into like named series, a Manga mode, little touches like the social media interaction, no stupidly small series/name truncation.....all add up to a very solid comic reading app indeed and for me has taken the prime position on my iPad dock.

    So there you have it, a fantastic pan assisted reader + proper Dropbox support = Fantastic Comic Reader. The King is dead, long live the King!


    This review is my own personal opinion, and reviewed on a non jailbroken Retina iPad 4 running the latest OS [7.1 at time of review], and I use a Macbook Pro running Mavericks for iTunes. I normally read a minimum of 10, normally 20 comics during the review. In cases where I already had used the app prior to a review, the app is deleted and re-installed. Full screen images are 25% scale (Retina images are originally 1536x2048) and converted to jpg.

    I will endeavour to review and amend any apps that receive updates and happy to receive any differing opinions, as well as features I may have missed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  9. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Just an edit to Chunky - there is a Manga mode so added and updated the review to reflect this.
     
  10. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    What's best reader for a kindle hd ? (If any)
     
  11. Theydon Bois

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    Buy me one and I will happily test some for you :)
     
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  12. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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  13. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    fudgeers have already removed the store, even when you do not have the new app installed. Annoying as I had a couple of quid of iTunes balance to spend.

    Updating the app now.

    Update
    @@@@

    Both apps can be installed at the same time. The X without the word 'comics' through it is the new one.

    The 5$ credit for the new app is on the US store, and not your UK account annoyingly and even redeeming the credit and then logging in to the UK account does not show any balance. I just used it in the US store and spent the 5$. It does not appear that the UK store has the egift facility that the US store does.

    Due to the nature of the iPad, the comics are not even the same app, and thus do not share the same directory - you will need to re-download all the comics in your library once more.

    They have already mucked up the pricing once:

    ComiXology Causes Mass Panic Over US/UK Prices. Until It Was All Fixed. (UPDATE) - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

    ...and I expect we will see no change in pricing due to the new takeover - the 30% that apple once took will turn into pure profit for Amazon.

    This is really annoying as I was in the middle of a massively updated review of the app, and other than a certain (key) aspect (that I will detail), but it was still a brilliant app. The removal of iTunes credit and the deals piled on top of monday deals is just a kick in the teeth.

    Its not just me either, the app rating has gone through the floor:

    ComiXology App Now On One-And-A-Half Stars - Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors

    Other than the Store missing, there is something more annoying - the lack of continuation in a series. I will be adding pictures tomorrow.

    My favourite review is a simple one star rating and the word 'bellends'. Love it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2014
  14. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Really, really bad move for the consumer, in my eyes. Be interesting to see whether it takes a hit from this. I wasn't a massive user of the app, though I did use it and have a few comics there – mainly a load of TWD collected editions from the sales, which were bought with iTunes vouchers (again, picked up when on sale) via IAP. Obviously, I won't be able to take advantage of that any more.

    And, as a result, I can say quite categorically that I will not be buying anything else from them again. I prefer to have the physical editions anyway, and it was only a matter of the digital versions being better value for money that led me to them anyway.
     
  15. Theydon Bois

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    Agree.

    While they obviously want to make money out of a very good purchase, they have not only removed the store to bypass paying Apple, but the bait to buy more comics to the end consumer as well which is a stupid move, and one they should have thought how to get round before implementing.

    Take a look at the info page of Batman/Superman 8.

    Both contain the same amount of info, but pretty much all of the text in the old app had hyper links back to the internal store, searches based on the artist and writer, series links, as well as story arc links.

    comixnew_info.jpg

    comixold_info.png

    The End page is worse still - no information on any other books in the series, nor in the story arc meaning you have to leave to check up on Comixology or the DC website to see if there are any other comics at all in the series.

    Yes Apple took a huge chunk of cash, but it looks they earned it!

    comixnew_end.jpg

    comixold_end.jpg
     
  16. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Comixology removal of in-app purchases sparks user backlash | Technology | theguardian.com

    "Effective immediately," wrote Mark Waid, author of Superman, Daredevil and creator-owned hit Irredeemable, "the iOS app was being retired and replaced with one that stripped out (a) the easy, one-tap ability to make in-app purchases, (b) referrals to other comics you might also like to buy with one button-tap, (c) any indication of what you ought to read next if you were in the middle of a multi-issue storyline, and (d) everything that made the Comixology app a gateway for new and casual readers of comics."
     
  17. Flashy

    Flashy
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    This paragraph sums it up for me: "Many comics creators have also reacted negatively to the change, pointing out that it removes one of the best ways for enticing new readers in to the medium."

    The simplicity and the fact you could take advantage of sales/discounts using iTunes credit was the key. I'd never read a digital comic before, preferring the 'real' versions, as I said. But this was new, good and it worked seamlessly. But no more.

    When I get home, I'm going to delete the app from my iPad. It's only 16GB so I could do with the space, for starters. If I want to read any of my comics there again, I'll download it again, but I can't see that being for a while, if at all. And seeing as I won't be using the store any more, there's no other pro versus the con of it taking up space.

    Shame.
     
  18. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I deleted the new app, and I am using the old one, even though the shop is closed. Principle of the thing rather than anything else!
     
  19. Flashy

    Flashy
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    I did the same. In the end, I couldn't quite bring myself to remove the original app with some good books in it. Wish I'd got up to date in TWD trades before this happened, though. Might have to rely in the good old-fashioned library.
     
  20. blaster9999

    blaster9999
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    From the people who know , which is the best reader at the moment? Ive used comic rack on the PC and like the possibility of syncing across devices .
     
  21. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Read the very first post on the first page that I update to advise what I think is the best - which just so happens to be the review of Chunky at the top of this page.

    I have Rack, but not reviewed it properly yet.
     
  22. Flashy

    Flashy
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    Can't confirm as on my iPhone and it won't show iPad apps, but App Shopper informs me Chunky's had a price drop and is currently free.

    EDIT: Home now and on iPad. App is free, but with an IAP of £1.99 for "pro upgrade", which enables you to install from PC, Mac, etc. As you were...
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  23. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I knew this - the dev told me so when I showed him the review. I said at the time "Do you want the free reader crown as well?" :)
     
  24. Flashy

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    Just seen there's a good bargain on Dr Who comics on Humble Bundle. Having only ever bought digital comics through Comixology before, not quite sure what to do.

    If I decide to go for it, what format do I want? Numerous options are available. I'd be reading on an iPad 2, I don't have any readers installed (unless the original Comixology app counts?). What would people suggest?
     
  25. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I bought them myself - no interest really, just bought the NON BTA bundle to test - I will be downloading them as HD PDF's.

    The Image graphic novel bundle from a week or so ago was superb - dont tell me you missed it, and perfect fodder for any of the readers as it came in CBR/CBZ formats. Watch this fornight of bundles, they will probably repeat it.......
     
  26. Flashy

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    I missed it... :(

    Was aware of the site, but thought it was only for games, which was of no interest to me. I'll be checking more regularly now, though. Might get this, just as a test. See you can pay through Amazon, which would be ideal for me. Do you know if they charge extra for making the payment in dollars, or would that come down to my credit card company?

    Also, don't suppose you know how big the HD pdfs are, as files? Worried my 16GB iPad won't cope!
     
  27. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Screenshot of my bundle

    doctorwho.jpg
     
  28. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    Image bundle had CBR/CBZ

    humbleimage.jpg
     
  29. Flashy

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    Thanks. Going to need a bigger iPad... :)
     
  30. Theydon Bois

    Theydon Bois
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    I think they have only recently done this - I dont recall it happening before with comics. Plus Image have started selling comics DRM free as well, meaning you can get them as CBR/CBZ from there own website (not comixology)

    imagcomics.jpg

    I think you do pay extra through Amazon in dollars - charges from the bank, thats why I never bother with US Amazon PC games anymore. The charge through paypal is nothing though I think?

    As for a bigger iPad - thats a no brainer :)
     

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