Name That App: DC Comics

**As published at DIGIDAY:DAILY** Publisher: DC Comics Price: Free Platform: iOS Advertising: None Functionality: A Fun Factor: B Overall: B I should start by saying that I’m not exactly a comic book fan. I do hold a special place in my heart for anything from Bill Watterson’s epic Calvin & Hobbes collection, and I particularly enjoyed Art Spiegelman’s Maus. But put me in a room full of comic fans and I’d stick out like a sore thumb.

That said, I do know the DC Comic family well. Then again – who doesn’t? Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman – these are characters that enjoy a unique international stardom in the comic world. The DC Comics app does a great job of introducing those and other characters to fly-by-night readers like me. Die-hard fans, on the other hand, might be looking for much more from the publisher’s deep catalog of hits. While the application is free, DC Comics is very much looking to increase sales through this app. When I checked, there were only 14 of 141 comics available for free download, and many of those were previews of the full-length version. The price for digital versions of the comics ranges from 99 cents to $1.99, and users are also given the option of looking up nearby comic stores to pick up the copy in print. The coolest feature of the app lies in the unique reading experience that the developers created. Rather than simply flicking through pages, users get automatically zoomed into the dialogue as it plays out. There are also dynamic layouts. One strip of content might be displayed horizontally to let the reader focus in a wider frame, for example, and the next strip might zoom right in to a character that just entered the scene. It’s tough to describe without visual aids, but DC Comics deserves bonus points for working to create a content consumption experience that takes full advantage of the medium. And I’d imagine that the experience is even better on an iPad. Comic book fans who cherish the medium as it is (i.e. print) might not enjoy the experience replicated on the small iPhone or iPod Touch screens, but they might be willing to give up their print purchases if they have an iPad. As for the app’s other features, there’s everything you’d expect. Users can download comics to “my comics” section and view the small digital catalog by tabs including release date, genre, series, creator, ratings and more. While the app might not check all the right boxes for diehard fans, DC Comics is off to a good start with this offering. I expect things will only get better from here.