“Is it possible to read comics on my new iPhone 3G?” was the first question on my mind after I finally got my hands on my new geeky gadget. I bet with all the new iPhone apps, somebody makes a .cbr reader for iPhone, right?
I got the iPhone 3G because it’s a tiny little Internet browser (I hardly ever use it as an actual phone). I’m kind of addicted to reading the various comic book blogs, and I love the idea of being able to surf the comic-blogosphere while waiting in line or during bumper-to-bumper traffic. Kidding on that last one. For now.
I decided to see if I could find out how to read comic book scans on my iPhone. First stop: see if there is a comic book reader iPhone app that does the trick…hopefully an iPhone app that can read cbr cbz and pdf comic book scans. A Google search brought up a couple candidates, but they’re hacks that require you to “jailbreak” your iPhone (in other words, hacking the iPhone software and reprogramming it yourself). Look…I just spent a good chunk of change on this pretty gizmo…I’m not interested in “cracking” it!
Nope…not going THAT route.
The iPhone’s built-in Photo viewer application seemed to work pretty well, so the first thing I did was create a folder containing some Bob Hope comic scan jpegs. I created that comic folder by unzipping a standard .cbr comic book reader file into separate jpegs. I do that by changing the .cbr extension to .rar and then unarchiving them. Then I synced that image folder with my iPhone…
Good idea, but when I viewed the comic pages on the iPhone, I found them to have been magically degraded in resolution…so much that images were too blurry to comfortably read. What gives? Turns out that the iPhone automatically “optimizes” (= ruins) the images when you import them. No workaround for this yet.
PDF files don’t get degraded when you import them into your iPhone, but the iPhone needs a native PDF reader even more than it needs a comic book reader application. Right now the only way to get a PDF file into my iPhone is to email it to myself and read it as an attachment. I don’t want to wait for a 35Mb download over the iPhone’s bandwidth. Not a viable solution IMHO. Direct file transfer is what’s needed here. I’ve heard good things about FileMagnet (for Mac only), but even FileMagnet uses wifi to transfer files.
An app I’m really looking forward to is DataCase, which promises to transfer files through the computer. It’s not been approved by Apple yet, so we have to wait a bit. Believe me…when it’s available, I will post a review!
Lastly, I used screen-capture software to take screen-caps of the individual panels of a comic story. I used SnagIt (which I love dearly…it’s like Photoshop for screengrabs) to capture and compile a folder full of single-panel — or sometimes single-tier — images which I then put in a folder and synced to the iPhone. This approach actually produced a nice readable iPhone comic!
The only problem with this method was that it was extremely tedious
and time-consuming to make individual captures of all those panels.
There are some promising apps I’ll be looking at in the next few days. Until then, please let me know what’s been working for you, and enjoy these links to more iPhone comic book reader news:
- Reuters Article about Reading Comics on the new iPhone
- British Comic Books for iPhone
- Manga reader for Japanese iPod/iPhone
- Use your iPhone/iPod Touch as portable manga reader
- More about iComic Comic Book App for iPhone Jailbreak
- pretty as a picture: WOWIO ebooks on the iPhone
- jComix Comic Book Reader Jailbreak
- iPhone Hacking Terms Explained
- iPhone Comic Book Reader link-o-rama