Comics and Japanese manga, after books, are the most popular reading material on the planet and, even with comics and manga now available digitally, any fan of the material surely knows that reading the comics or manga on your computer is a pain because of all the different formats floating around on the internet. Plus, there’s hardly any good comic reader app that can read all those formats without hiccups. Surely, every comic and manga fan has come across comics and manga bundled in ZIP or RAR files and the even more perplexing and obscure CBR and CBZ formats.
Thankfully, there are many apps that can help the true believers in reading all or some of the formats comics and manga are available in without going through all the hassles of converting them or extracting the images. So, diving right into it, let’s check out the best comic reader applications you can use on your PC, Mac or Linux computer to read comics and manga.
You might also want to check out our article on 4 Interesting Furry Web Comics Worth A Read.
Best Comic Reader Apps #1. CDisplay/CDisplayEx (Windows)
Although it was released back in 2003, CDisplay remains one of the best comic books and manga reader available. It is an exceptionally lightweight image viewer that supports CBR, CBZ, ZIP and RAR files. You can also resize images to fit your view, and apply color corrections. It also has a right to left image scrolling available if you’re reading manga.
The creator of the software, David Ayton, has passed away since making the app available, but that has not deterred the popularity of the application in any way and has instead provided support for it, resulting in the birth of CDisplayEx, which is an open source application with some improvements to the CDisplay formula. Expanding on the original, which is still available but quite outdated, CDisplayEx adds a multitude of features to the original comic book reader, including support for 7zip and PDF files and multi-language support, among others.
Best Comic Reader Apps #2. ComicRack (Windows)
Another free comic book reader for Windows-based PCs, ComicRack takes the comic viewing and reading game a bit further than CDisplay. It still supports the most popular formats for comics and mangas, but adds the ability to navigate through your comic collection in its three paneled interface. You can browse through your collection in the bottom pane of the application and read the comic or manga in the top pane.
Another innovative feature of the comic/manga reader is that it allows you to pack your favorite comics together in collections, creating a CBZ file out of them, and then allowing you to export the archive for reading on other devices. It also allows users to share their comic library over the home network in order to make the content readily accessible anywhere.
Best Comic Reader Apps #3. MangaMeeya (Windows)
MangaMeeya is on of the best manga reader created and maintained by fans at Manga Underground. The program works like a charm for manga as it is custom-made for manga fans who have to bear with translation notes and, obviously, read from right to left. But this doesn’t mean that the application is only meant for manga, the software is an excellent comic reader and image viewer for all images. The app allows users to read multiple pages at once, customize key commands to browse images, and is quite capable as a simple sequential image viewer even if reading comics or manga is not your thing.
Even though Mac does not have as vast a collection as Windows when it comes to niche applications like these, it does come through for fans with SimpleComic — an exceptionally simple, fast, intuitive, completely open source and free application for reading comics and manga on your Mac. It supports both full screen and windowed viewing.
The comic reader app is also able to scale your pages to the size of the window when not in full-screen. Another great feature is the quick look support for OS X, where users can take a glimpse of the comic before they start reading. One great thing about the application is that it bookmarks your place in the comic or manga, so that you can resume your reading from the previous place. It also supports translation and other notes left in the metadata.
Best Comic Reader Apps #4. Comix (Linux)
Like with Macs, if you’re a comic and manga fan and are using Linux, variety is not something at your disposal. Comix, a lightweight, free and open-source image viewer and comic book reader with a simple interface that is designed to handle sequential images, aims to alleviate your comic book reading needs on Linux computers. The application shows all the pages of the comic on the left side of the screen, and a large pane on the right displays the current page. As a standard comic viewing app, Comix supports images inside of archives like ZIP, RAR, or TAR files, but can also handle plain old images inside a folder.
Comix requires Python, PyGTK+ (or another GTK+ framework), and the Python Information Library installed on your PC in order to run, but some package managers already include Comix, so try installing it through the terminal and see if it works!
With digital books and comics moving to e-readers and tablets day by day, the choices for reading comics and manga on your PCs are becoming more and more scarce. So grab these great tools now to keep coming reading on your PC alive. As always, the best app will be decided by you, so test the apps out and shout out your preferences, suggestions in the comments section below.