The paper-based comic book has been, for at least a decade, an absurdity. Each 32-page issue takes up a significant amount of space without delivering very much story. And the idea of taking a fat stack of them on vacation or a plane ride is as bad an idea as it appears on its face. Even more so than the novel, comics and electronic readers are a natural match. And the Mac now has a signature way to read comics in the form of ComicNerd, a new app from A Nice Cut of Tea and a Sit Down LLC. As the owner of a huge comics collection, much of it digitized at this point, I can state unequivocally that this is pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for. And it’s hard to imagine anyone doing it better.
What ComicNerd gets right is everything that the Mac gets right. It’s simple, intuitive, and uses clever interface elements to make the computer melt away. Of particular note is broad file format compatibility, including .cbr, .rar, and .cbz, which means pretty much any comic you choose to “scan” will work in the app. Moreover, the app has fascinating Smart Reading List functionality akin to iTunes’ Smart Playlists that let you autoload a series of comics based on a query.
That’s all nice, but it doesn’t actually speak to how well ComicNerd functions as an app to wile a few hours away. Ultimately, though, it comes down to the experience, as any quality Mac app does. And it’s here where the reader truly shines. I’ve used many apps in this class, but none before implemented the simple pleasures of both two-finger trackpad scrolling for moving around a page and three-finger swipes to flip between pages.
Despite all of its successes, ComicNerd isn’t perfect yet. For one, it
doesn’t offer a readily apparent full-screen mode, which means the dock and other interface elements are always present., has a full-screen mode that’s only accessible via a key command (cmd+F) or double-clicking the image, not through a menu. I myself couldn’t figure it out until the creator of the app sent me a note. He plans to fix it in a future revision. Moreover, on a 13″ screen, without the extra height from full screen mode, the lettering of many comics is a bit too small for comfortable reading. I expect this to be addressed in a future revision, and It’s strong enough in all other regards that it’s easy to forgive. And I can’t wait for the iPad version, either.
ComicNerd is available from the company’s website now and should appear in the Mac App Store shortly.