International manga fans have long been known for downloading their stories online, but now regular comics are appearing online as well. With copyright expiring, some of the great classics can now be downloaded for free, legally.
Most of these comics and manga can be read on your computer with your native image viewer, but to really enjoy them, you’ll want to use special comic book reader software. You can find decent comic book readers for most devices, but none of them will fare as well as ComicRack does on Windows.
ComicRack describes itself as ‘the best eComic reader and manager for Windows computers’. Having tried it, I don’t dare to refute that claim. ComicRack doesn’t just look good, it is an all-purpose solution; the Swiss army knife of comic book apps. It’ll function as a comic reader, a library management application, and a conversion tool.
The ComicRack reader supports the usual zip, rar, tar, 7z, pdf files, but also cbz, cbr, cbt, or cb7. These last four are essentially renamed archives of the first type, and are typical for eComics.
There are various reading modes. The one you see below, two page display, gives a real comic book view to it. For smaller displays, you can also view a single page at a time, or only part of a page with auto-scroll. I can picture a few Blake and Mortimer comics where that might be necessary.
Network Sharing must be one of the more exciting aspects of ComicRack. You can share your entire eComic library over your network, optionally passworded, and access it from another laptop or tablet wherever in reach. Other nifty features of this comic book reader includes a magnifying glass, auto-rotation for some tablet PCs, and even a special manga reading mode.
Library & Conversion
ComicRack is more than only a fine eComic reader, it allows you to organize and manage your soon all-encompassing library. Albeit digital, most collectors want to do more than just keep their comics within reach.
The library view – which can be opened simultaneously or in a different tab than the reader – offers you a shelf view of eComic thumbnails. You can find your way by launching a Quick Search, or creating a list or smartlist. The latter one allows you to sort on eComic information, like ‘author’, ‘series’, ‘read’, and so on, essentially creating a more dynamic sort of sorting than general lists and folders.
ComicRack also allows you to convert between every supported format. Do you have a PDF that you want to turn into a cbz or cb7 eComic archive? Just give the command! The application also supports batch converting, allowing you to take a whole folder worth of comics at once. Back in the library view, you can even modify the color scheme for a single eComic.
Do you know any other great eComic reading or management solutions? Perhaps for Linux or Mac OS X? Let us know in the comments section below.