There are many reasons to buy an iPad, which is why so many people own one. One of the best uses of an iPad is as a digital comic book reader. As nice as it is to hold a printed comic in your hand, the comic book scene is very much alive and kicking on iOS and iPadOS.
In this article, we list the best iPad comic readers to download and use. These will enable you to either build a comic book collection from scratch or read your existing comics. And all on a glorious, high-definition screen which will make the artwork pop like never before.
The Best CBR and CBZ Readers for iPad
If you’re reading this, there’s a strong chance you already own a sizable collection of digital comic books in the CBR or CBZ formats. If that’s the case, you’re probably looking for a way to read them on your iPad.
Here are some of the best iPad comic readers to which you can import your existing comic book collection.
Chunky: The Best Free iPad Comic Reader
Chunky might be the most popular comic book reader available on the iPad. It’s totally free to install and offers a range of different ways to import your collection. What’s great is that Chunky automatically upscales your comics to improve low-resolution images. You can even turn on auto-contrast to compensate for faded panels and muted colors.
Sync Chunky with iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, and other cloud services to import CBR, CBZ, CBT, and PDF files. If that isn’t convenient enough, upgrade to the Pro version to wirelessly download comics from a computer or NAS drive.
The Pro upgrade also gets you access to alternate color schemes and automatically crops the borders off of each page. Even without the upgrade, Chunky offers all you need to organize and enjoy digital comics on your iPad.
Download: Chunky for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Panels: A Sleek-Looking App With iCloud Drive Sync
Panels is a sleek new comic reader that uses Google to sync your reading progress across your iPad and iPhone. It works with CBR, CBZ, and PDF files, to cover all of the most common formats, which you can read in horizontal, landscape, or panel-by-panel mode.
The free version of Panels only lets you import your comics using iCloud Drive. But you can upgrade to the Pro version to unlock Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and web server options.
Even without upgrading, you can still connect your iPad to a computer to transfer comics using iTunes or Finder.
Download: Panels for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
ComicFlow: The Best Option for Larger Collections
ComicFlow takes a free, simple, and open-source approach to reading digital comics. It allows you to load up your iPad with CBR, CBZ and PDF files with minimal organization. Just put your comics into a folder to treat them as a series. This is a polished and reliable reader, despite the fact that it doesn’t get regular updates.
You can transfer comics via Wi-Fi using a web server or a WebDAV server. Simply drag-and-drop your comics into the server window and wait for them to appear in the comic reader on your iPad.
Unfortunately, ComicFlow limits this feature to 50 transfers. After which you need to upgrade via an in-app purchase. But you can still sync comics for free using iTunes or Finder if you don’t want to upgrade.
Thanks to its focus on simplicity, ComicFlow promises to handle thousands of comics and tens of gigabytes of files. And does so while offering all the features you need to enjoy your collection.
Download: ComicFlow for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
iComix: A CBR and CBZ Reader to Sync With the Cloud
Like ComicFlow, iComix is a free comic reader for your iPad with an emphasis on simplicity. The app offers light and dark themes, with just a few tools for organizing your library.
There’s no handy web server transfer, but you can connect to Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Box to import comics instead. If that’s no good, you can also transfer files from a computer using iTunes or Finder.
iComix only supports CBR and CBZ files, so it isn’t the most compatible comic reader available for your iPad. That said, the majority of digital comics are in one of those two formats anyway.
Download: iComix for iPadOS (Free)
YACReader: Get More Features and PC Support
You can think of YACReader—or “Yet Another Comic Reader”—as a paid upgrade to the free options above. It’s great for people who want extra features and compatibility options. YACReader supports CBR, CBZ, PDF, ZIP, RAR, and RAR5 files, so you don’t even need to extract your comic archives before you read them on your iPad.
When it comes to importing comics, you can sync using Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive. Or if that isn’t good enough, plug your iPad into your computer to sync comics using iTunes or Finder instead.
The app really shines when combined with the free YACReader desktop app for Mac, Windows, or Linux. This lets you connect your iPad to your computer and access your collection without leaving the YACReader app.
Download: YACReader for iPadOS ($2.99)
iComics: The Most Compatible iPad Comic Reader
Highly customizable and polished, iComics is another option for those who want even more from their comic readers. As testament to this, iComics supports all of the following comic book file formats: ZIP, CBZ, RAR, CBR, 7ZIP, CB7, TAR, CBT, LZH, LHA, EPUB, and PDF.
You can even read manga comics from right-to-left and you can send individual pages to a printer. iComics also places great emphasis on the reading experience, with smooth scrolling and the option to crop the borders off.
Unfortunately, iComics might let you down with its transfer options. The only option you get is to connect with iTunes or Finder via a cable or to add comics from other apps on your iPad. You do this by going to Share > Open With from the other apps.
Download: iComics for iPadOS ($1.99)
Comic Zeal: A Feature-Rich iPad Comic Reader
A premium product that has been in development since 2010, Comic Zeal is mature and rich in features. Although it may seem bloated to those with few demands from a comic reader. The $4.99 price tag gets you powerful organization tools—perfect for keeping large numbers of comics at your disposal.
This app includes support for file transfer over Wi-Fi, downloading from cloud services, importing via AirDrop, and good old fashioned iTunes or Finder file transfers. However, to import more than one comic at a time from cloud services, you need to shell out for an extra in-app purchase.
In addition to seemingly endless customization, Comic Zeal also includes a power-user feature called the Slider. This tool makes it easy to organize your collection, create reading lists, reorder comics, and more.
Comic Zeal might be expensive, but it’s packed with features.
Download: Comic Zeal for iPadOS ($4.99, in-app purchases available)
Comic Store and Publisher Apps
If you don’t already own a collection of CBR or CBZ format comics, you might prefer to buy comics directly from a comic reader app on your iPad. The apps below should fit the bill for that.
The following iPad comic readers are all free to download, but you need to buy individual comics to read inside them. Sometimes there are free offers, but for the most part, you’ll need to pay for everything you plan to read.
ComiXology: Buy Individual Comics or Go Unlimited
ComiXology is owned by Amazon and is one of the best iPad comic reader apps available. It offers access to comics from Marvel, DC, Image Comics, IDW, Dark Horse, and much more. Although, you might find that the very latest releases aren’t available to buy until a few months after their physical release.
You can install ComiXology as one of the ways to read comics on your Mac as well as on your iPad or iPhone. This makes it easy to sync your digital comic collection across every device. The only problem is you can’t buy comics in the app itself; you need to add them to your Wish List and buy them from the ComiXology website instead.
If that sounds like an inconvenience, consider signing up for comiXology Unlimited instead. This subscription service costs $5.99/month and gets you access to over 20,000 comics from the comiXology library.
Download: ComiXology for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Madefire Comics: Discover Animated Comics With Motion Books
Another digital comic book store, Madefire offers access to DC, IDW, Dark Horse, Oni Press, and more publications. The most exciting feature in Madefire’s digital comic reader is its flagship “Motion Books” reading experience. This makes full use of the iPad to bring comics to life with interactivity, sound, and animation.
You can find a lot of free content from the sidebar that includes comics from Blizzard, DC, and IDW, to name a few. But you can also buy well-known series and one-off issues to start building your collection.
Download: Madefire for iPadOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
Comic Book Publishers: Marvel, DC, and more
Most major publishers offer their own apps for reading comics on your iPad. Many of them are extremely competent readers with a built-in store for purchasing new issues. You don’t usually get much in the way of organization options for the library, since the publisher organizes all of the comics for you.
You can get apps from DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, and IDW. But Marvel’s app is probably the most popular. You can also sign up for Marvel’s subscription service, which gets you instant access to tens of thousands of comics, although there’s a separate app for that.
You might want to look at our comparison of Marvel Unlimited vs. ComiXology Unlimited to help choose the best subscription service for you.
If you only read comics from a certain publisher, you’ll probably get a kick out of using their dedicated app. You might even gain access to exclusive issues that aren’t available elsewhere. But most people probably don’t want this limitation because it means splitting your comic collection across a range of different apps.
If you read comics from a lot of different publishers, you should probably build a collection of CBR or CBZ files to use one of the iPad comic readers listed above, or stick to buying comics from a third-party store like ComiXology instead.
Where to Find Free Comics to Read Online
Now you know all about the best iPad comic readers, you’re probably looking to expand your comic book collection.
Luckily for you, there are lots of places to read comics online for free . That might mean hunting down giveaways from the big-name publishers or indulging in classic issues that now belong in the public domain. Either way, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.
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