The 10 best digital comic readers for Android and iOS

(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics)

Whether you want the latest superhero action, mind-expanding sci-fi, or soul-chilling horror, comics are one of the most diverse storytelling mediums on Earth. Yet while physical comics and graphic novels will always have a place in our longboxes and on our bookshelves, digital marketplaces and reader apps offer two distinct benefits – the portability of taking an entire collection anywhere you go, and the opportunity for creators to experiment with comics unbound by the limits of the printed page.

As digital comics and reader apps have evolved, the marketplace has gotten pretty crowded though, with numerous services battling for your attention – which is where we step in. From voluminous archives of classic comics to the latest releases, via original creations designed exclusively to be read on your devices, here's our pick of the best apps for comics, whatever you’re reading.

10. Astonishing Comic Viewer

(Image credit: Aerilys)

Available on: Android

Price: Free

Astonishing by name, astonishing by nature. At a surface level, this is a reader that again supports CBR, CBZ, and PDF files, curates your collection, offers cloud storage integration, and supports western and manga reading directions. Look a little deeper though and you'll find it packs in a few other tricks too, such as continuous reading between issues, the ability to share favorite panels or pages, and even support for casting your comics to other screens – reading comics blown up on a 4K TV is a unique experience!

9. Chunky

(Image credit: Michael Ferenduros)

Available on: iOS - iPad only

Price: Free

Chunky is a pure reader targeting the iPad exclusively. The lack of iPhone support may disappoint – as might its absence from Android tablets – but this is an app designed to make your digital comics look as good as possible, which means demanding the biggest screens possible. Supporting CBR, CBZ, and PDF formats, Chunky will automatically upscale low-resolution material, with pretty impressive results – as the developer says, it's "built by graphics-geeks, for comic-nerds." It will also automatically arrange your collection as you import files, and recognise metadata tags from cataloguing services. In fact, the more you dig into Chunky, the more features you'll uncover – such as auto-contrast features, parental controls, western and manga reading modes, and both portrait and landscape display support. Best of all, it integrates with just about every cloud storage option out there, allowing you to easily load your comics into the app.

8. comiXology

(Image credit: Amazon / Comixology)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: App free; Individual purchases; Amazon Prime subscriptions

Moving away from simple comics readers and into the realm of digital comic storefronts, comiXology was once the pinnacle of digital comics as an entire concept.  However, the platform was bought by Amazon in 2014 and, well, it’s all been a bit downhill ever since. Both Android and iOS apps have long lacked the ability to buy comics in-app – speculated to be a way to avoid cuts taken by the respective app stores – which forces readers into the frankly terrible user experience of having to search for and buy comics through Amazon’s website, then managing their library back in the comiXology app. Amazon’s push to merge comics into its own Kindle ecosystem, coupled with the absolute mess that searching for anything on Amazon is nowadays, has ruined what once felt like the future of comics. However, muddle through the purchase process and comiXology still has its perks. Not only is comiXology still the main avenue for buying digital comics day and date with physically released new issues, but as a reader app, its Guided View mechanic – which sweeps through zoomed-in panels for an almost cinematic reading experience – remains best in class. The library is also hard to beat, with offerings from every publisher you care to imagine and a few more besides, frequent sales and discounts, and a range of comiXology Originals that offers a slate of titles not available anywhere else – including genuinely excellent work from creators including Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder. Prime subscribers also get access to any titles included in Prime Reading, which can be browsed and downloaded in-app, unlike purchases. Overall, comiXology remains worthy of note as one of the best comic readers, but its shining star has definitely fallen.

7. Crunchyroll Manga

(Image credit: Crunchyroll)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Crunchyroll subscription required

A manga-focused spinoff from Crunchyroll’s anime streaming service, Crunchyroll Manga, offers titles from a wide array of Japanese publishers. Big titles such as That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Fairy Tail, and Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card are joined by buried treasures including Okitenemuru and Father and Son, and many are published simultaneously with Japan. However, while many titles have at least the first chapter available to read for free, you will need a subscription to Crunchyroll's anime offerings to access most of the content here, and even then, some titles have gaps in available chapters. The reading experience is a mixed affair – page-to-page scrolling is smooth, and it has a form of guided view, but there's still no landscape view support. Turn your phone sideways for a double-page spread, and you'll just get each page, vertically, that must be scrolled top-to-bottom. Still, a solid selection of genres and titles, and the fact that it’s basically free if you do have a Crunchyroll subscription for anime, makes this a solid choice.

6. Azuki

Azuki manga logo on pink background

(Image credit: Azuki)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: $4.99/month

Despite being a newer player on the manga scene, Azuki has already picked up some must-read AAA titles, including Attack on Titan, Fire Force, and the cyberpunk classic Battle Angel Alita. It’s also learned some lessons other manga-focused apps still haven’t, with support for multiple reading modes – single page focus, double page spread, or a vertical scroll of pages that works particularly well on phones – and a clean library view. Discovery is a delight, with the ability to browse titles by genre or publisher, and it even offers a publication schedule so you know exactly when new chapters will drop. On the downside, Azuki is online only, with no way to download chapters at present. The lag also makes page transitions slower than is ideal. Hopefully, these issues will be addressed in time, since with its expanding library and global availability (bar Japan itself), Azuki has a lot to offer fans.

5. 2000AD

(Image credit: Rebellion)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free; Individual comic purchases

The legendary British sci-fi comic now delivers zarjaz thrills directly to your pocket with its own dedicated app. No idea what "zarjaz" means? No worries – you'll be able to pick up the publication's unique slang thanks to a selection of free titles, serving up a best-of platter of titles from publisher Rebellion. There's also the option to buy individual single issues of 2000AD dating back to 2002, pick up graphic novel collections of characters such as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, or Sláine, or subscribe to either the weekly 2000AD or the monthly Judge Dredd Megazine. Best of all, as Rebellion has picked up rights to titles from other UK publishers over the years, the 2000AD app now offers a host of once-lost classics, including The Steel Claw and The Trigan Empire. Improving on earlier versions of the app, there's now a library view, and although there’s still no equivalent of guided view – the ability to tap-to-zoom is a poor alternative – the reading experience remains clean and clear, with smooth page transitions and sharp HD presentations of the material.

4. Webtoon

Webtoon logo on green background

(Image credit: Webtoon)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free

Originally focused on Korean webcomics primarily designed to be read on smartphones, Webtoon is now a portal for creators around the world. While it’s the best place to read Korean titles that have enjoyed international breakthrough success – such as Sweet Home and Tower of God – western publishers have gotten in on the action, too. DC in particular offers up some fantastic Webtoon-original titles, including Vixen, Red Hood and the Outlaws, and the sublime Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, which drops the Caped Crusader and his host of sidekicks into a superhero slice-of-life comedy. With the reading experience tailored to a continuous scroll, Webtoon is one of the few comics apps better suited to reading on your phone than a tablet, while easy bulk downloads of chapters means you can binge read whether you have data or not – perfect for commutes or flights.

3. DC Universe Infinite

DC Universe Infinite mockup image on violet and blue background

(Image credit: DC Universe Infinite)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Various subscription tiers (£6.99/$7.99 per month to £87.99/$119.99 per annum)

DC’s answer to Marvel’s dedicated app has been on what can only be described as a journey. Originally launched as a hub for all things DC, it was initially more of a streaming service that happened to also throw some bones to comics fans. Following the upheaval at Warner Brothers Discovery, which saw video content migrated to HBO Max, the platform was relaunched as a comics-only product – and it’s never been better. Where the original was locked to the US, the new incarnation is available in multiple territories, and it offers a bigger library than ever, with thousands of series to read. Basic subscribers (£6.99/$7.99 month) will get access to new titles six months after print releases, while those who opt for the top tier Ultra sub (£87.99/$119.99 per year) can read new issues only 30 days behind physical publication. As a reader app, it provides the same Guided View option as Marvel and comiXology, and the HD presentation of titles looks gorgeous on a good size tablet screen. All combined, DC Universe Infinite is a vast improvement on its earlier incarnation, making it worthy of inclusion as one of the best comic apps.

2. Marvel Unlimited

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Available on:  Android, iOS

Price: £8.99/$9.99 per month, $68.99/year

If keeping up with the latest adventures in the Marvel Universe isn't your top priority, then Marvel Unlimited might be for you. With an archive of 30,000+ comics from across the publisher's 80+ years, and new issues added on a roughly three month delay from print copies, it's a fantastic way to catch up on the histories of Spider-Man, Black Panther, the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Hulk, Captain Marvel, and many, many more. The digital format also allows for Unlimited-exclusive “Infinity Comics”, read as a constant scroll, while more conventionally designed comics can be read in "Smart View", allowing fans to swipe through panels on their phones, or have a full-page view on tablet or desktop browser. Recent updates have improved the app further, removing the previous paltry limit of only allowing 12 issues to be downloaded to a device at once. It could be a little better on the navigation front though – all those downloaded issues just sit as an endless list, rather than grouping by title, unless you bookmark a series first, which then groups them in a separate tab; a messy and repetitive chore. The price also remains a little steep compared to some of its subscription-based peers, costing about the same as a Netflix plan, though you can slash 40 per cent from the total cost if you pay annually. US-based subscribers can also take advantage of the Marvel Insider program, unlocking access to merch and giveaways from engaging with the app.

1. Shonen Jump

(Image credit: Viz Media)

Available on: Android, iOS

Price: Free; Subscription models available

First, the bad news: Shonen Jump recently spiked its monthly subscription cost by 50%. Now, the good news: that hike brought the fee to the still almost comically low $2.99 per month, meaning this dedicated manga app remains the best deal in comics. And if three dollars (or local equivalent – Shonen Jump is currently available in 10 countries) is still too much, users can read the three latest chapters of some of Japan's most popular series for free. New chapters are typically published day-and-date with Japan, and subscribers also get access to a frankly ridiculous amount of archive content from publisher Shueisha to wade through. Whether you fancy reading all of One Piece’s 1050+ chapters and counting, diving into hidden gems like Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama's brilliant earlier series Dr Slump, or discovering modern classics such as Chainsaw Man, there’s an abundance of comics to read through. There's also the option to buy collected volumes of each title, guarding against titles cycling out of the library in future. The reading experience is solid, and although it lacks panel transitions that would help reading on phones, its support for landscape views makes double page spreads really pop on tablets. An incredible treasure trove of manga new and old, plus phenomenal value makes Shonen Jump hard to beat.

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Matt Kamen is a freelance journalist specialising in games, media, and technology. His work can be found online and in print for publications like Empire, Wired, GamesRadar, Newsarama, The Observer, and more.