The Ultimate Digital Comics Reader?
Graphic.ly will change the way we read comics.
is to say, if you read comics in the first place. Those
of us dipping our quills in the digital ink traditionally
consume our comics in rather shady means -- torrent downloads.
Yes it's ugly, but until recently that was the only presentable
option, and not a very good one at that.
a PDF gives you the gist of what is going on, but it takes
away the fundamentals -- touching the uniquely textured
comic book page, smelling that unique comic smell (especially
the classics...mmm), and tasting...well, no tasting. But
you get the point. Tactile response will always be lost
in the move to digital, but PDF fails to enhance any of
the other aspects of comic consumption. Poring over the
page in meat space somehow feels different than reading
a comic book PDF. Until recently, the PDF/Torrent scene
was the only option, but now we have digital comic books,
a whole other beast unto themselves.
Digital comics are recreations, and while they are fantastic
recreations, they are still modified versions of the medium.
They are hybrids -- part comic and part animatic. Many have
just enough movement to feel animated, but retain the look
an feel of a panel. Many of the bigger productions actually
go as far as adding voice over narration and character line
readings, removing the need for text boxes and speech balloons.
Enhancement? Defilement? This falls to the
eye of the beholder, but in this comic lovers book the digital
comic is a welcomed addition to our options. But it's not
the solution to the main problem -- reading comics in a
Even if things are moving the way of the
digital comic, I still don't want to have everything done
for me. I want to retain some of the illusive emergence,
the imaginative play that was so rooted to my love of the
Graphic.ly is the brainchild of Kevin
Mann -- a comic lover who grew frustrated with the disappointing
availability of comics at local shops while living in the
NorthEast of England. Mann wanted to build a comic distribution
platform, a community built on the ability to purchase and
discuss comic books with other readers and creators/publishers.
Mann teamed up with Micah
Baldwin to build the first phase of Graphic.ly, an app
built for Windows 7 and Adobe
Air which allows you to download, read, and discuss
comics in a digital format. Make no mistake, these are comics
in every sense of the word, but they are also slightly enhanced
in a way that completely retains the medium. Well, if you
exclude all the tactile stuff I was waxing poetic about
The concept is simple, you purchase and download comics
from the Graphic.ly comic book store, and then you read
them. But you're not simply reading a comic, you're flipping
through each page. Nay, each panel! With each new full page
you get a macro view of the layout, and when you flip to
the next section, you fully focus on panel #1.
The art and text take center stage here,
and this is what makes Graphic.ly so monumentally intriguing
-- this app pulls you into the process of comic book reading.
The Graphic.ly team is still beta testing the Windows 7
and Adobe Air versions of the app (full disclosure: I've
been in the beta since the release of the Air app on 1/22).
Next up, the team plans to build an iPhone and Android interface.
Yes, you read that correction -- comics delivered to your
phone. So far I've torn through the first two books in the
beta: Spartacus Blood and Sand #1 and #2, and next
up is Berserker.
Not necessarily my cup of tea, per se, but
the promise here is phenomenal. Needless to say, although
it is still working out the kinks, Graphic.ly has me hooked.
If you're interested, sign
up to check out the beta.