Many people have speculated the iPad will bring genre changing applications to much of the print media industry. As a lifelong comic nerd, I was especially interested in how the comic industry would accept the new delivery medium. Marvel Comics has always been ahead of other companies in embracing new technology so it be no surprise they’ll be on the iPad from Day 1. Thanks to Gizmodo and BoingBoing, we have a prelaunch look at the new Marvel Comics app.
I’ve been reading comics for almost 20 years so I can be a bit picky about the form and presentation of a good comic. This Marvel application looks simply amazing. Navigation is through the touch, tap, flick interface familiar from the iPhone and now the iPad. Users retrieve the comic they want by moving through a series of screens that feature a cover flow interface for selecting a title and specific issue. Comics are also categorized by Featured, New, Popular, and Free. A Browse button is also provided if the reader wants to browse the whole selection available. Once a specific issue has been selected and purchased if necessary, the reader can move through the comic by using a thumbnail bar at the bottom of the screen or by using the page flick gesture the iPad is about to make famous. You can even zoom in on individual frames of the page with a double tap.
I don’t know if my enthusiasm for this application can be conveyed in words. I have boxes and boxes of back issues of comics, stored away where hopefully they will stay in reasonably good condition. This app changes all of that. Here is a central storehouse for all of my comics going forward and that is really quite a great prospect. No more hunting and searching for something I already own or having to trudge to the comic store when a new issue comes out. It’s all right here in a great user interface I can peruse from the comfort of my own home.
I’ve said in a couple of instances that for the iPad to save print media they need to make a concerted effort to use the new device to save themselves. Apple threw them a life preserver, they need to choose to swim with it. I think the Marvel Comics app demonstrates a company that gets that and has used the potential of the device to its full. When I finally do get an iPad, this app will be a must have. I hope all of the print media do as good a job as Marvel has done with this app.
And did I mention it was free? And it works on the iPhone albeit with a slightly different interface than what I’ve detailed for the iPad.
Are you impressed by companies like Marvel trying to bring themselves into the digital age? Do you prefer to feel the paper of your comics or would you be happy with digital only editions? Will more apps like this compel you to think about buying an iPad? Let us know in the comments.