Collecting and reading physical comic books can be a fun hobby, but those comics take up a lot of space if you’ve been collecting for years. Physical comics can also be difficult to find, especially if you’re looking for older issues or you don’t live near a local comic shop.
Luckily, many of the major comics publishers have digitized their comics and developed their own subscription services and apps. That means you can access some of the most popular and influential comics throughout the years, like The Dark Knight Returns on DC Universe Infinite and House of M on Marvel Unlimited.
You can download many of these apps to your smartphone, but its smaller screen might make reading panels uncomfortable or difficult. Tablet screens are larger and allow you to view whole comic pages at once, and they make it easier to view splash pages — a comic page or two that’s mostly one image.
Here are the best ways you can read digital comics.
Best tablets for digital comics
These are the best tablets you can use to access and read your favorite digital comics.
Best subscriptions and apps for digital comics
Here are the best subscriptions and apps to access your digital comics.
According to Google Trends, more people have searched for Marvel Comics than other major comics publishers over the past 20 years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe probably factors into these searches, but the first MCU film — Iron Man — was released in 2008 and Marvel Comics was beating other publishers before the film’s release. If you’re into Spider-Man, X-Men, Captains America or Marvel, Thor or the Avengers, you’ll find them in Marvel Unlimited.
Marvel Unlimited subscriptions start at $10 for a monthly subscription and $69 for an annual subscription, and the service gives you access to old and new comics featuring beloved characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America. The app has over 30,000 Marvel comics available, and it adds new comics weekly.
DC Universe Infinite
According to Google Trends, DC Comics might be the second most popular comics publisher, but then, it has Batman. Based on Google Trends data, the Dark Knight is the most popular superhero over the past 20 years compared with other well-known characters like Spider-Man, Superman, Captain America and Iron Man. DC Universe Infinite gives you access to comics starring the DC Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as teams like the Justice League, Teen Titans and Suicide Squad.
A DC Universe Infinite subscription starts at $8 for a monthly subscription or $75 for an annual subscription and gives you access to the full runs of archetypal comics like Action Comics and Detective Comics. You also have access to over 32,000 other comics, including influential works like Watchmen and The Sandman, and new comics are added every week.
The Comixology app is a digital comics storefront owned by Amazon, and it has over 230,000 comics, manga and graphic novels. While you can purchase comics from either Marvel or DC through the app, you can also purchase popular nonsuperhero comics, like Saga and The Walking Dead.
Comixology also has a subscription service, called Comixology Unlimited, which you can subscribe to for $6 a month. With a subscription you can access over 45,000 comics and manga, including collected volumes of The Walking Dead and Attack on Titan, and a library of Comixology Originals from creators like Scott Snyder. You also get discounts on some digital single issue comics.
Libby is an app that connects you to your local public library’s ebook collection, including any digital comics your library offers. However, that also means you’re limited to only the digital comics your library offers. So you might not have access to older or newer comics, or comics that aren’t as popular or mainstream.
Libby’s biggest strength is its cost: free. All you need is a library card, a tablet to read on and a love for comics. That means you can save your money for tickets to Comic Con.