How to Read Comics on Your iPhone 3G

"Is it possible to read comics on my new iPhone 3G?" was the first question on my mind after I finally got my hands on my new geeky gadget. I bet with all the new iPhone apps, somebody makes a .cbr reader for iPhone, right?

How to read a comic book on iPhone 3G
I got the iPhone 3G because it's a tiny little Internet browser (I don't even use it as a phone right now). I'm kind of addicted to reading the various comic book blogs, and I love the idea of being able to surf the comic-blogosphere while waiting in line or during bumper-to-bumper traffic. Kidding on that last one. For now.

I decided to see if I could find out how to read comic book scans on my iPhone. First stop: see if there is a comic book reader iPhone app that does the trick...hopefully an iPhone app that can read cbr cbz and pdf comic book scans. A Google search brought up a couple candidates, but they're hacks that require you to "jailbreak" your iPhone (in other words, hacking the iphone software and reprogramming it yourself). Look...I just spent a good chunk of change on this pretty gizmo...I'm not interested in "cracking" it! Nope...not going THAT route.

iPhone 3G comic book cbr reader
The built-in Photo viewer works pretty well, so I created a folder containing some Bob Hope comic scan jpegs. I created that comic folder by unzipping a standard .cbr comic book reader file into separate jpegs. I do that by changing the cbr extension to rar and then unarchiving them. Then I synced that image folder with my iPhone...

Good idea, but when I viewed the comic pages on the iPhone, I found them to have been magically degraded in much that images were too blurry to comfortably read. What gives? Turns out that the iPhone automatically "optimizes" (=ruins) the images when you import them. No workaround for this yet.

PDF files don't get degraded when you import them into your iPhone, but the iPhone needs a native PDF reader even more than it needs a comic book reader application. The only way to get a PDF file into your iPhone right now is to email it to yourself and read it as an attachment. I don't want to wait for a 35Mb download over the iPhone's bandwidth. Not a viable solution IMHO.

iPhone 3G used as a cbr cbz pdf comic book reader
Lastly, I used screen-capture software to take screen-caps of the individual panels of a comic story. I used SnagIt (which I love's like Photoshop for screengrabs) to capture and compile a folder full of single-panel -- or sometimes single-tier -- images which I then put in a folder and synced to the iPhone. This approach actually produced a nice readable iPhone comic!

how to read comic books on your iPhone 3G cbr reader
The only problem with this method was that it was extremely tedious and time-consuming to make individual captures of all those panels. Sigh.

All of the images above are panels from Foxy Fagan #1, imported into the iPhone by the last method I described.
I'm sure there's gotta be a better way... if any of you readers have any suggestions on how to read comics on an iPhone, I'd love to hear about them in the comments section!

I've just started a brand-new blog:

Come and click on over
for regular updates to the
iPhone comic-app scene.

For more discussions and info about
how to read comics on your iPhone,
check out the following links:

More links about using iPhone as Comic Book Reader:
Still More iPhone 3G comic links...but just for fun ^_^

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