A couple weeks back I decided to enter in to the new age and get an iPhone. I figured that the monthly rate wasn't much more than what I was paying for my cell phone which didn't have any of the bells and whistles (didn't even have a camera or adjustable sound levels, yes, it was a piece of crap). So what was the first thing I did? Searched for games. But after that, it was comic time. I decided to try out two apps, the Marvel app and Comixology. Yeah, pretty much the same thing I know. But different content. And yes I realize that with the iPad out (in the US at least) I'm already behind in the tech.
I had read through some of Darkness/Pitt #1 on a friend's iPhone a while back. This time I went with Spider-Man #546 on the Marvel app and Box13 (all the chapters) on the Comixology one. I won't go in to a review of them, this is just about the reading experience for me.
Overall I found that they really tried to make the reading experience as good as they could and it was okay. But with the Spider-Man issue and especially the Darkness/Pitt (which had so much detail from Dale Keown in such large panels) I felt the experience just wasn't as good. It was clear that the book was meant to be read as a full page and I don't think anything the iPhone can do could make up for that. I don't think I'd mind reading a few books like this but for the books I really want to experience in all their wonder (Fables, Elephantmen, Invincible, etc) I just can't see myself reading them this way. Box13 on the other hand was made with the iPhone in mind (as far as I know at least) so the panels fit nicer, you didn't have to turn the iPhone back and forth (vertical/horizontal) as often (I know some readers don't mind, I think anything that takes me out of the reading experience is not good), and as it went on it seemed it started to take more and more advantage of being on the iPhone.
So for me, I can take reading some originally print comics (ie. comics that were made for print and then transferred to the iPhone) on the iPhone, where I just want to see what happens basically. But comics made specifically for the iPhone I find easier to read on the device. But here's the thing, does anyone really care? A lot of people seem to have already made up their minds that they want their comics on the iPhone and discount any difference in reading them on their as compared to the print versions (and for some people this is quite likely true, I have learned over and over again that I often have a far too critical eye when I'm reading a comic). Other have already decided that print is the only option for them. And really, who am I to try to convince them otherwise. They like what they like.
Now a lot of the issues I have with reading comics on the iPhone can be fixed by going to an iPad but you still have some differences between print/digital. I can't remember who tweeted it but one comic writer mentioned the iPad helping those writers who couldn't time their big reveals to even page numbers. So friends have been assuming I'll be going with an iPad. The truth is I won't. At least that's the plan. Currently my life is mostly sitting at work (with several computers including a laptop) or sitting at home (most often with my laptop and cintiq with my TV on) or on the bus (with my iPhone). I recognize that for some people there's a gap between their laptop and cell/smart phones but for me, I just don't see it at the moment. And so I just can't justify spending the money on something I'll use only occasionally to read comics. That's not to discount the iPad, I think it's a great step forward and I'm somewhat jealous of those who have one or will be getting it. I just don't see myself owning one.
Anyway, that's just some ramblings I wanted to get out of my head. There's more but I doubt very many people have read this far. :) And yeah, I am still wondering if Longbox Digital or something else can fill some of my comic reading via the laptop instead of the iPhone. But reading comics on the iPhone did seem a little nicer than when I've read on my laptop.
And as a warning, with my weekly comics purchasing at such a low I'll probably be posting more of these ramblings from time to time.