Kindle Unlimited is a fun and cheap way to read comics

I’ve been reading comics digitally for awhile now, and I would say I prefer seeing a whole page at a time, or the spread if you’re expected to read across the gutter, for comics where the panel layouts are unconventional.

I caved and am giving the 3 month trial a shot.


What do you mean? Are you disagreeing with Mark when he says reading on a phone is better than print?

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Now you know my middle name.


While on a trip, my kid borrowed my phone to read comics with some other app (forget which). Burned through 3 gigs of data in a couple of hours. I had to limp through the final ten days of the trip at throttled data speeds.

Yeah, I’ve got to find out which app that was and see what it was sending and receiving.

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Each his own preferences, but I really thinks some comics loose a lot when read panel by panel. Even something with a really strict 3x3 panel grid can have some composition effect at the page scale.
Page layout is a really important thing for cartoonists, breaking it up can have some bad effect on the rhythm or the aesthetic impact.

(An example from “The Love Bunglers” by Jaime Hernandez, reading this spread panel by panel would have a smaller impact !)


No, I’m saying that using the Kindle app to read comics on your phone is completely frustrating. I imagine if you have an actual kindle, or something bigger than a 3-inch screen, then it’s probably great.


I read them on my Kindle Fire 10, it’s perfect.

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Half the posts on BoingBoing are about how evil DRM is, and the other half are recommending Amazon-specific ebooks. I don’t get it.


You are showing a spread from what is arguably the best comic story of the last 20 years. So in this case, full pages are much preferred. I’d feel the same way about Clowes, Crumb, Wood, Kirby, and others of their caliber.


Let’s cut music so that there’s 2 seconds of silence every 5 seconds. I think you could make music like that but taking music that exists and doing that would destroy the flow.

This sort of thing isn"t new. I had to read some Carl Barks stories in the late 80s in the huge books. They had fuck up the page layout stuffing as many panels as would fit on to a page. There are also Little Nemo strips published in pocket books.


Sure ! But even less known cartoonists use some layout tricks to change the reading experience.
Jim Rugg in “Street Angel Goes to Juvie” use a really strict panel layout at first, but as soon as Street Angel escape, he break it !


Who says you have to read on a phone? You can install Kindle software on a tablet or PC. Then you aren’t limited to single-frame reading

The only drawback here is that not all the books are on Kindle Unlimited - or at least, they aren’t in the UK.

For instance, you can get all the books in Jamie Delano’s run on Hellblazer (which definitely gets a “Huzzah!”) but once you get to Garth Ennis’ “Dangerous Habits”, you are all out of freebies. Similarly, only the first Invisibles collection is on Kindle Unlimited, and I think we all know that you’re not going to want to stop reading there.


It’s not either/or, of course - one can view frame-by-frame or page-by-page. Both have advantages; some adaptations have novel frame-by-frame transitions that help the flow or highlight details.

Dunno if it’s worth mentioning, but this works on purchased Kindle comics too, not just Kindle Unlimited. I’m not into rental.


So… you are disagreeing with Mark then.

He said:

I’m currently reading Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles on my iPhone. It works really well using the one-panel-at-a-time mode. I prefer reading comics this way over reading the print version.

But I think this is also true of any comic worth its salt, from Little Nemo through Carl Barks to The Invisibles. I appreciate that you can always zoom out to see the intended layout, but I feel a bit uneasy about this reading style becoming the digital default - it’s important to understand that a good comic page is more than the sum of its panels, even in works like Watchmen where the layout rarely varies. Will a ‘born digital’ comic reader grok this? Will it change how artists approach the page, or the very concept of the ‘page’?

It’s a mutation issue, I guess - it might well be beneficial for future works, and open up all kinds of interesting possibilities. For existing, print-based comics, I’m not so sure.

Of course having access to thousands of great comics digitally is a huge deal, and we’ve already seen artists like Chris Ware making good creative use of a digital medium. I’m trying hard to fight fossilisation here. Can you tell?

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I should also have explained that my eyesight is not as good as it used to be, so this single panel format helps with this, and that my reading time is often limited to bedtime when Carla is sleeping and the lights are out, making my iphone my main reader.


Sure, this is an important aspect that I’ve benefited from this myself - and hi-res scans can also be a great way to study the form of artists (comparable to the huge artist editions). Accessibility is a tough nut to crack with comics. A zoomable version of a Chris Ware page, for example, is doubtless very useful to have, especially if there’s text on it.

I think comics are inevitably going to move further into the digital realm, certainly in the mainstream where the physical distribution method seems increasingly perilous. And physical editions of the classics aren’t always everything they could be - the EC Archives series has been through some tough times with digital recolouring, for example. There are a lot of factors here, but I think the glory of a well-crafted physical page of comics will always be one of them.


I agree, it’s great to zoom in on art in a panel.

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