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The 5 Best iPhone Apps for Comics

The iPhone has dominated the mobile comics market since its debut a little more than two years ago, when digital versions of comics like Jeff Smith’s “Bone” began to trickle onto the App Store. Since then, comics have often charted as best-selling downloads on the device, pushing aside classic literature and even religious texts for top spots.

The iPhone isn’t just for reading comics, either, with all kinds of comic book-related downloads starting to pop up in the App Store. We’ve picked the five best iPhone applications for users with a comic book habit — and even better, almost all of them are free.5. Free Comics

While many single-issue comics are sold as individual apps for around $1, some mobile distributors like Uclick and iVerse offer free downloads of debut issues. It’s a good opportunity to get familiar with iPhone comics’ slide show format and try out a title that might get overlooked at the comic shop. Many previews link to comic book online retailers as well, giving traditionalists a chance to order a printed edition if they like what they see.

4. Clickwheel

A free comic book viewer linked to a catalog of free reading material as well as purchasable content. Clickwheel’s interface is a bit more complex than other apps and can strain the eyes at times, but its supply of free content is worth a look for those who can’t find what they’re looking for through iTunes proper.

3. Eisner Awards App

With the 2009 Eisner Awards just a few weeks away, it’s a good time to catch up on some of the comic book industry’s most commended works. Uclick makes it easy with an app that breaks down each category, its nominees and thumbnails of their respective contribution to comics. While its functionality is fairly cut and dry, it provides a nice cross section of the past year’s most acclaimed material.

2. xkcd Reader

The internet-famous stick figure webcomic is simple enough to view via the iPhone’s Web browser, but the “xkcd” reader by Josh Snyder optimizes the viewing experience for the device. If you’re already a daily xkcd reader, this app is a good way to clear up space on your RSS reader while spicing up your morning commute.

1. Comixology

There are a few pull list generators designed to help fans manage new releases, but Comixology stands above the competition with an attractive, easy-to-navigate app that syncs up with the functionality of its website. While a “lite” version of the app exists for free, Comixology is worth ever penny of its $1.99 asking price. With advance lists of Diamond’s entire catalog, it’s nearly impossible to miss a new release – even variants and second printings are clearly marked. Participating comic shops can also opt in to automatically receive your pull list, which could help cut down on holes in your collection. Try it out if you want a wonderful alternative to trying to organize your buying habits from memory.

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