Comics Get Technical

Marvel app allowing users to download comics

You’d be forgiven for thinking that iPads are mainstream, for people going to and from finance offices that want to pass the time looking at Facebook on a crisp screen, or play Angry Birds more intensely than the guy opposite with his tiny iPod.  However, the device offers a lot more – and has seemingly re-kindled a passion for comic books and graphic novels world wide.

Back in the day, when people wore orange flares and the Bee Gee’s were a starry eyed young trio looking out on the world with nothing the dream to sing angelically in high pitched tones to anybody that would listen, comic books and graphic novels had tatty corners, coffee stains and carried an essence of fear that your mum might throw them away.

“MUM!” You’d scream from the top of the stairs, “I hadn’t finished with it yet.” Then back to your room you’d go, the sun creeping through the crack in the curtains and casting a line across the floor that designated who was Good and who was Evil, and you’d wait for the next issue.

The iPad however has changed this; there is no waiting in the darkness, there is no action figure war of Good vs. Evil and most importantly your mum can’t throw away your comics because you don’t live with her anymore and you’ve put a password on the iPad, just in case. Seemingly the iTunes app store has more apps than there are people, so to say “there’s something for everyone” would be to say the Bee Gee’s took their flares and conquered their dreams one epic tune at a time, it was always going to happen.

The comic book and graphic novel selection within the app store is vast, with collections of comics such as the Marvel app offering the reader to download any comic from Spiderman, to Iron-Man, Captain America and Thor – all very popular with the recent film releases behind them. DC also have their app with Superman and co. all on board for a 2011 tablet revamp.

On top of this IDW Comics have their own app offering Transformers, Astroboy, Star Trek and more. They also have separate apps for each comic, such as the Star Trek IDW app, the Transformers equivalent and even G.I Joe gets a look in, once again all very popular with recent film releases. Something that brings all these apps together as one is the iVerse comic reader, the Spotify of the comic world. Much like Spotify lets you download the Bee Gee’s greatest hits in seconds, iVerse is a platform that offers iPad users the chance to read Marvel, Image, IDW and Archie comics, all at the click of a button whilst your mum waits anxiously for the enxt spring clean.

There are also various graphic novels available for download as apps, should you be more of a novelist than a superhero.  The Carrier, and Luke McBain get their own apps – both novels that would offer anyone hours of entertainment as they wait somewhere between London Bridge and New Cross to get home and feed the cat. Should you require something darker, something to release the pain of seeing a Spiderman special that your mum threw away being sold on eBay for near a thousand pound then there’s a selection of novels called Carnival Comics. Each app is a separate episode in the series and offer an alternative from capes and masks and gives you creepy clowns and shadowy figures with the glint of something sinister in their circus faces.

Obviously a real comic connoisseur may not entirely agree with the e-versions of all their favourites, they’d even argue that the Bee Gee’s sound better on vinyl and that tatty corners and coffee stains give feeling and character to the work. There is however something magical in the apps making the comics transferrable, accessible and enjoyed worldwide – without the fear of them being binned.

Keith Hodges