ComiXology are the undisputed kings of digital comics with millions of titles available from the world’s biggest publishers every week, as well as the very best independent titles released via their digital publishing arm ComiXology Submit. But what if you are looking for titles which aren’t available on the Amazon-owned giant or are after a platform where you can download your purchases in a format of your choice to read on another device? Well help is at hand as we rundown 10 great ComiXology alternatives for fans of digital comics!
Madefire’s award-winning app started life as a platform for their ground-breaking motion books like Liam Sharp’s Captain Stone Is Missing and Dave Gibbons’ Treatment. But thanks to partnerships with major publishers like DC Comics, Dark Horse and Valiant, plus a new comprehensive storefront, the Madefire app now also releases new titles from these great publishers every week. They even produce motion book variations of titles, like Valiant’s recent event The Valliant, which are available on the same day as on ComiXology. Madefire also publish fantastic indie titles like Milk For The Ugly, which are created via their Motion Book tool which is available via their DeviantART channel.
Download the Madefire app here
2. Comics Plus
ComiXology’s long term rival, iVerse’s ComicsPlus app gives you access to some of the latest digital comics from major publishers like DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, Vertigo and more. It may not have the range of ComiXology, and doesn’t offer DRM-free purchases, but it does offer a simple website interface that easy to browse giving you access to the latest releases from these great publishers. With app editions available for iPad and iPhone as well as Android devices, it’s main advantage over ComiXology’s Comics app is that you can purchase and download your comics direct to the app, not having to worry about purchasing via a website.
Download the ComicsPlus app here
3. Image Comics Digital Store
One feature which ComiXology has often been criticised for is that it does not offer readers the ability to download and store purchases away from your iPad or iPhone. Although some titles are now available as DRM-free versions, not all are, and so that’s where the Image Comics DRM-free digital store can help. Purchase your favourite Image Comics titles, like The Walking Dead, The Wicked and The Divine or Saga from the Image Digital Comics Store and you can download them as either DRM-free PDFs, ePub files, CBR or CBZ files, all for the same price as you would pay on ComiXology. You can then store them on your PC and back them up safely, or transfer them to your iPad or tablet to read via a dedicated comics reader.
Download DRM-free comics from Image Comics Digital Store here
4. Marvel unlimited
Rather than charge for individual issues, Marvel’s Unlimited app offer readers the chance to access an entire library of back issues of their favourite titles in return for a simple $9.99 monthly subscription. With new titles being added every week, it might not contain the most up to date adventures of Spider-man, the Avengers or X-Men, however as a way to dip into their back catalogue and enjoy the classic adventures that made them such popular characters then this is essential. Although the selection is great, not all titles are available and do not have the panel by panel options you may have gotten used to with ComiXology and the Marvel Comics app. You also can only download 12 titles at a time for offline reading, and when you do download series you have to do them one issue at a time. However on the plus side this means you won’t use up valuable space on your iPad or iPhone when binge reading back issues.
Download the Marvel Unlimited app here
Another subscription based service, ComicsFix is the new kid on the block of digital comics apps, offering unlimited access to top titles from Valiant, Dynamite and the best of the independents for a simple monthly fee of $9.95. Titles can be downloaded within the app and added to a shelf for reading offline and for concerned parents, an age restriction can be applied so 18+ titles like Garth Ennis’ The Boys can’t be accessed by kids. As well as offering this great subscription service, ComicsFix also offer a publishing service, similar to ComiXology Submit, with digital comic creators able to upload their books and get them seen by the world.
Download the ComicsFix app here
Mark Waid’s Thrillbent imprint began producing cutting edge digital comics via it’s website with titles like Moth City, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood and Pax Arena, as well as Waid’s own Insufferable. Using unconventional layouts (often in landscape) and sequentially appearing text and pictures it is the blueprint for what has become the Guided View native style of comic we see on ComiXology. These titles are available in their entirety for a monthly subscription to the Thrillbent site and are also accessible via the dedicated Thrillbent iPad app. Although collected editions are available on ComiXology as well, this is the best way to get access to the very latest and best Thrillbent titles.
Download the Thrillbent app for iPad here
The Sequential iPad app contains some of the most exciting graphic novels from publishers like Fantagraphics, Knockabout and Top Shelf available in exclusive digital versions. Their library of titles feature the work of legendary writers like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Bryan Talbot and Jaime Hernandez, with all-time classics like From Hell and the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, sharing shelf space with more recent series like Love and Rockets or Nelson. Sequential offers a more mature output, featuring some adult content, and many of these classic titles are available as one of Sequential’s unique brand of deluxe digital graphic novels. These offer audio tracks and commentaries from the creators themselves, giving readers the ultimate fan experience, going into panel by panel detail of these amazing books.
Download the Sequential app for iPad here
8. 2000 AD
The galaxy’s greatest comic 2000 AD is a UK institution and the home to Mega City One’s ultimate lawman Judge Dredd! Over the course of it’s 30+ year existence 2000 AD has been the home to early work from some of the UK comic scene’s biggest names, including Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Mark Millar and more. It’s also the home to classic strips like ABC Warrior, Slaine and Rogue Trooper as well as cutting edge stories from the UK comics scene’s best new names. Previously only available via Apple’s Newsstand, 2000 AD now has it’s own standalone app, so you can purchase weekly ‘progs’ of 2000AD, Judge Dredd the Megazine, as well as a huge collection of classic 2000 AD action. Why not give one of the free samples a try, before Dredd sentences you to life in an iso cube!
Download the 2000 AD app here
9. Aces weekly
David Lloyd’s award winning webcomic Aces Weekly offers readers regular instalments of brand new digital only titles from some of the world’s best comic creators, including Herb Trimpe, Henry Flint and Lloyd himself, as well as fantastic new series from exciting new creators from all over the globe. You can access these series via the Aces Weekly website, where readers pay a monthly subscription (£6.99/$9.99 per month) to read their favourite series via 7 week story arcs that are then collected together into volumes. (Subscribers also get access to previous volumes). Although web based, Aces Weekly is formatted to be consumed on any digital device from an iPad or iPhone to tablet or desktop PC and is a fantastic way to read new and exciting comics and specifically for digital consumption.
Read the latest stories from Aces Weekly here
10. drivethru comics
Offering a huge variety of fantastic indie titles, DriveThru Comics is an essential first stop for anyone looking for something a bit different to the major publishers available on ComiXology. As well as the best in indie titles you can also get titles from Valiant, Archaia, Top Cow and Rebellion Entertainment – aka the publishers of 2000 AD titles such as Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper and ABC Warriors. Once you’ve purchased your comics via the DriveThru website simply download them as watermarked PDFs and read them on a dedicated comics reader for your iPad or iPhone.
Download digital comics from DriveThru comics website