I currently read digital comics on one of two platforms on my Mac, Comixology‘s app for Comixology purchases and Simple Comic for everything else – PDF, CBRs and even just large numbers of images. And the vast superiority of Simple Comic over Comixology distracted me enough to write about what it does so well instead of writing about a MonkeyBrain Comic.
First off when I want to read and go between a bunch of issues of comics like She Died In Terrebonne, I can drag all four issues in there and they work seamlessly. No moving between issues or having to go back a page. If I own it I can move on. This, when I am reading a collection of something is really nice to do.
And Simple Comics has a lot of side benefits too. For one thing – page ordering is wonderful to have especially if you are reading manga formatted comics or if not, you can switch to western style with the click of a button. Image Loupe (which is their term for magnifying glass) is nice for zooming in on the small details. And you can change the page layout, rotate as needed (so Snyder’s Batman stuff won’t be so difficult) and resizing is a snap and it stays the same for everything in your session.
But the biggest thing for me is key functions. Spacebar moves me down half a page. If I am in the center of a page, the arrow keys move me around. And if I am at the end corner of a page they move me around. And there are key combinations to turn one or both pages. And here is the thing – Comixology, the only way we can read comics we buy from their site – does not have these functions.
I can use the arrow keys to move up and down on a page but it I press left or right, it turns the page. Considering that pressing the spacebar just centers the page when it zooms in, and only at one level, it becomes even more frustrating. And the so called guided view is a waste focusing on words instead of pictures at times when the medium is supposed to be the blend. I want my comic reading experience to be simple and natural. Grabbing and dragging around a page takes me out of the experience.
While I figure a lot of functionality and programming is geared towards tablets and other devices, I’d really like it if Comixology would implement some more functions into the browser reader. While I can’t do much to focus, this is me saying what I’d like, making my voice heard and giving a view of what I think the program could be like.