Friday, March 20, 2009

Comical - an excellent alternative to reading comics on your computer

I said it before and I will say it again: I HATE reading manga on a computer. I like the feel of having the actual book in my hand rather than staring a a bright glowing screen. Although, as much as I hate reading manga on a computer, I still do it anyways. Usually I do it when there's a series I really want to read and can’t find it elsewhere, or to continue reading a series that I have started. When I first started reading manga on my computer, I did a very painstaking process of clicking each picture file open one by one. Then half a year ago when I got Adobe Photoshop CS2, Adobe Bridge came along with it. So I used Bridge for reading manga, and when I went and read something on my Windows laptop, I used Image Viewer. Then after doing a bit of searching around, hoping to find a better alternative, and I have found it. And the answer is a program called Comical....

I’m sure there's an even better program out there, but for Mac users like myself, our options are pretty slim to the kinds of programs we can use. So Comical is like a blessing for Mac users. Adobe Bridge is still a good program to use for reading manga, don’t get me wrong, but it has 2-3 major problems. The first being that to my knowledge, its a program that you have to pay for (although, I lucked out big time and got it free thanks to my cousin). Another big problem is that you can only view one page at a time, so when it comes to 2 page spreads, its quite annoying seeing it broke up as 2 separate images (that's if the person who made the file did not put the images together). Then my biggest gripe was you cannot zoom into a picture. So when i’m reading a series that has small font, I have to put my nose to the screen and squint to try and read it. It doesn’t help the fact that the text isn’t 100% clear either and is somewhat pixelated, making it even more difficult to read. Overall, the program is designed for viewing pictures, not for reading a bunch of comic-like files.

Comical is designed for the comic readers. Although it seams to be designed with left-to-right printed comic books in mind, but it works pretty well for Japanese manga too. The people who made the program also have an option where you can change the format so it could be either read from left-to-right or right-to-left. Its preset at left-to-right, so to read manga, just switch it. To read the files, you just have the file as a .rar, .zip, .cbr-type file, open it and read it that way. With Bridge I had to unzip the file before I could read it, so this makes things nice. What I like most about the program is that you can customize the settings to however you like. You can set it to one page view or 2 page (like a book), rotate pages, and adjust what level you wish to view the file at (have it zoomed in or not). When you have it set to 2 pages, when you click the double arrow, it moves ahead 2 picture files, like you have just turned the page to the next. Then there is even a full screen mode and you can view it that way too. Well, Bridge had a fullscreen view as well, which I kinda liked better, but Comical can do 2 pages at once. Then again, I don’t really use fullscreen mode anyways, I still thought I should point that fun detail out. I really like this program, its perhaps the closest thing I have found so far that resembles reading the actual book. I actually enjoy reading manga on my desktop Mac again. I liked this program so much, I even loaded it onto my Windows laptop, it totally beats Windows Picture Viewer, which I was using before on there. It’s a great lil program overall, highly recommended. (Although, I think this program still works best for comics that are read from left-to-right.) Oh, and the best part is that its free, and nothing can top the awesomeness of something that is free! ;)

Heres the link to the site if you want to check it out.


Anonymous said...

This program is indeed very useful. I have found one fatal error in its coding though. If there happens to be one page that cannot be read, I do not mind skipping it... but comical does. You can click okay in the pop up box all you want but it will pop up continuously and you will not be able to read the comic.