Most of the comic book industry is going digital, and as a result, they’re signing up with Comixology. In fact, the Big Two simply have redesigned apps built on Comixology’s infrastructure.
Not, however, Dark Horse. They have their own, independently built app that they’ve quietly been updating and improving, and its most recent iteration is a superbly designed way to read comics on a tablet.
It’s perhaps less than surprising Dark Horse has stayed independent in the digital comics arena. They got burned along with everybody else during the distributor collapses of the ’90s, and they’ve always liked a certain amount of control over how their comics are sold.
What makes the app work, though, are the little touches: This is a comic book app for people who read comic books on a tablet, and worked to wipe away the little frustrations.
Take, for example, the feature where, when you finish reading a book, it asks you if you want to buy the next issue and keep reading. It’s fairly frictionless and works with in-app payment systems, so you can pretty much start at the beginning of a series and keep reading until you’re broke.
It also has a few touches that make it stand out as reader apps go. For example, the loading times are a lot better than most apps; you’ll almost never be staring at a grainy cover image waiting for the image quality to improve.
Probably the best is the fact that Dark Horse has been working overtime to get its library up for sale. The real litmus test isn’t new books: It’s the old ones, and Dark Horse’s scans are easily the best of any publisher. Lone Wolf and Cub, for example, looks great, a book we picked because it’s been out for a while and detail is crucial to its painstakingly drawn artwork. Zoom in and you can see the fine line detail.
In short, Dark Horse will officially take all your money, and you’ll be happier for it. Albeit probably not when the rent is due.
The app is available for iOS devices and Android.