Comics are traditionally known as stories, which are told in an illustrated format. Comics usually mostly consist of drawings, with text appearing only as dialogue, SFX, or exposition.
Originally, comics were created in through traditional art. This means drawing the illustrations physically, as opposed to digitally. Comics were also compiled and sold as physical books.
However, these days, most comics are drawn digitally. Digital drawings take less time and effort to do, so it is the preferred method for creating monetised art. Comics are also distributed in digital form nowadays, which makes accessing comics much easier.
And though they often overlap, digital comics are not necessarily the same as manga apps – though some platforms may have a mix of both. There are various apps that allow you to read comics online, most of which are free to download and use.
Best apps for reading comics online: Top Apps
Digital comics are extremely popular nowadays, with new comic book readers popping up all over the globe. We’ll go through four of the best apps for reading comics online.
#5 – Tapas
Tapas is a popular platform for reading comics, or webtoons, with over 97,000 stories published. These comics are are created and distributed by users of the app; and can vary in genre, style, and price.
Users of the app, or independent artists, can use Tapas as a platform to showcase and sell their comics for free. There are comics of various different genres, including action, romance, fantasy; so there’s always something for everyone.
Tapas also allows creators to publish written stories, as well as illustrated ones. Tapas is free to download and use.
There are many comics on Tapas that are free to read, so non-paying users can still make good use of the app.
Priced comics are usually pay-per-chapter, which can get quite expensive cumulatively. You pay for comics using ‘inks‘, which can be purchased within the app.
Fortunately, there are ways to get free inks on Tapas. Every Monday, you get to open a fortune cookie, which will grant you a random amount of ink.
These ink are only available for the week, so be sure to use them before they’re gone.
You can also get free ink by completing surveys, or having friends use your invite code to join Tapas.
Tapas also features some paid comics that can be unlocked for free. You can unlock most episodes by subscribing to the comic, and waiting a certain amount of days. After the set amount of days has passed, one episode can be unlocked.
Unlock the episode by pressing on it. Then, you’ll have to wait another set amount of days to unlock another episode. You can choose which episode to unlock – it doesn’t have to be in any order.
Tapas allows you to read comics by scrolling vertically through a chapter, and swiping to access the next chapter. This makes for a convenient and non-disruptive reading experience.
You can subscribe to comics and save them in your library for easy access. You can also set notifications for different comics to ensure that you won’t miss any updates.
Overall, Tapas is a great free app for reading comics. It allows for a seamless reading experience, and offers many free comics. There are quite a lot of paid comics as well, and they can be quite expensive to purchase.
Thus, it’s not the best comic app for free users. However, you can get free ink for purchasing chapters, so it’s still a worthwhile app for non-paying readers.
#4 – Comixology App (free with Amazon Prime Reading)
Now admittedly this one is a bit of a cheat, as the Comixology app is only free if you sign up to Amazon Prime reading.
However, when it comes to the best comic books apps, this is definitely worth checking out as they have a wide selected of different comic books – this ranges from DC Universe and Marvel Comics all the way through to smaller Comixology originals too.
The app has a great user interface for both iOS and Android devices, and they obviously work extremely well with the Amazon Kindle.If you’re a comic book reader, it’s worth heading over to the Comixology website to check whether them out.
#3 – Visionbooks Comics
Price: individually priced comics ranging from $1.99 to $2.99.
Visionbooks is free to download and use, but some comics require purchasing.
Visionbooks Comics is a free app for reading and purchasing comics. The app offers only traditional comic-style books, which are distributed by companies as opposed to independent artists.
Visionbooks offers both paid and free comics. The paid comics are all quite cheap, usually priced lower than $3.00.
Therefore, it’s low investment. The app also offers quite a range of free comics, so Visionbooks is worth using for non-paying users. Such comics include Faith by Valiant, Psycho Bonkers by Aspen, Tell by Virtual Graphic, and Farmhouse by Asylum Press.
Most Visionbooks comics feature partially animated pages to make for a more dynamic reading experience.
The reader automatically switches between horizontal and vertical mode depending on the page you’re on. The reader adapts to the most suitable mode to make for an easy and convenient reading experience.
You can swipe across the screen to access different pages, press speech bubbles to maximise them, or double-press the screen to view all the pages. Some comics are also available in different languages, so you can choose your preferred language.
You can download comics for offline reading, or save them onto your cloud for safe-keeping. You can also favourite comics, and access them from the favourites tab.
Overall, Visionbooks Comics is a great place for reading free or cheap traditional comics. The reader is designed with convenience in mind, and focuses on making the comics easy to read. The comics can also be downloaded, or uploaded to your cloud, for offline reading.
#2 – WebComics
Price: (for Premium) £5.99 monthly, or £17.49 quarterly, or £67.99 yearly.
WebComics is free to download and use, but you can purchase the premium version to get rid of all ads and access premium comics.
This upgrade is completely unnecessary for a non-disruptive reading experience as most ads on the app are optional.
The only non-optional ads are small ads that lie at the bottom of a chapter. They make no sound and don’t pop-up, so they’re easy to ignore.
WebComics is a popular platform for reading comics and webtoons, which are all created and uploaded by independent artists. The platform offers comics from a variety of genres, such as romance, comedy, and thriller.
There are many free comics available on WebComics, but most comics require purchasing. Like Tapas, it’s a pay-per-chapter service (although sometimes there are offers for purchasing multiple chapters at once).
Chapters are purchased using coins or gems. These can purchased from within the app.
Luckily, there are many easy ways to earn coins. You can watch multiple ads, get daily rewards, collect free coins whilst reading comics, and spin a rewards wheel. You can also use coins to purchase gems once or twice a day.
Additionally, there are free-read tickets you can use to access all paid chapters for a limited amount of time.
You can purchase these tickets with coins, or earn them for free by spinning the rewards wheel. You can spin this wheel 6 times a day.
WebComics provides a seamless reading experience by allowing you to scroll vertically through different chapters.
You don’t need to swipe or access a separate tab to access to the next chapter. You simply just continue scrolling and the next chapter will automatically load for you.
Overall, WebComics is a great app for reading free comics and webtoons. The app allows users to earn coins/in-app currency more easily and frequently than other platforms, such as Tapas. WebComics also offers other methods of reading paid content for free.
Therefore, it’s a great comic app for non-paying users. The reader also provides a seamless reading experience, by allowing you to scroll across chapters without accessing a different menu.
#1 – WEBTOON
WEBTOON is free to download and use.
WEBTOON is by far one of the most popular platforms for reading comics and webtoons, featuring widely-known comics like Noblesse, Sweet Home, Tower of God, The God of High School, and True Beauty.
All of these comics have been adapted to different forms of media, including anime, live-action movies, and live-action dramas.
WEBTOON comics are all created by independent artists, some of which are commissioned by WEBTOON themselves. WEBTOON can choose to commission a certain artist or comic if they so wish.
The artist will then get to choose whether they want to accept the offer, or if they wish to remain completely independent.
If you’re commissioned by WEBTOON, you’ll have to stick to an upload schedule. In return, you’ll be paid by WEBTOON to create the comic.
WEBTOON has a section for non-commissioned comics (canvas), and commissioned comics (originals). This allows users to freely browse between the two types of comics.
The originals tab showcases comics according to their update schedule. Different comics will update on different days of the week. The canvas tab categories comics using best-of lists, which update regularly.
WEBTOON offers comics in over 20 different genres, including crime/mystery, supernatural, school, thriller, superhero, and slice of life.
All comics are available for free, but you can purchase a fast pass in order to access chapters before their upload date.
This only applies to commissioned comics (originals). Some chapters for non-commissioned comics can be accessed early by watching an ad (one ad per chapter).
There is no need to pay money to use the app. This makes WEBTOON the best comic app for non-paying users.
WEBTOON’s reader allows you to scroll vertically through chapters. After finishing a chapter, you can access the next one by swiping up and letting go. You can also press the arrow buttons to switch between chapters.
Overall, WEBTOON is a widely-used comic app, which provides all comics for free. Some comics have a regular upload schedule, so you don’t have to worry about missing updates; or sporadic hiatuses.
You can watch ads, or purchase fast passes, to access chapter early; but there is no real need to spend money when using the app. This makes it the ideal comic app for non-paying users.
Best of the Rest
Along with the apps we’ve mentioned, there are a few others you may want to check out if you’re looking to get the latest original comic books and graphic novels in digital format.
They’re not all free, but they are worth your time to check out.
- Crunchyroll Manga app
- Shonen Jump app
- DC Comics app
- Marvel Comics app
- Madefire (edit: company now closed)
In conclusion, there are many free apps for reading comics. Most comic apps focus on independently-created comics, also known as webtoons, as opposed to traditionally popular options like DC Comics or something from the Marvel Universe.
If you’re looking for an app that focuses on providing traditional comics, try using Visionbooks.
And if you want to read Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics or DC Comics, then you’re usually better off getting them directly from their own apps at a cost.
Otherwise, if you’re looking for more webtoon-oriented content, try WEBTOON or WebComics. They’re some of the most friendly comic apps for free users.