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Best Ways to Read Digital Comics in 2023

Tablets are a great way to read your favorite digital comics from Marvel, DC and others.

Updated on July 31, 2023

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Written by  Zachary McAuliffe
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Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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$270 at Amazon
Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch
Best entry-point tablet
Apple iPad (2021)
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$900 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
Best high-end Android tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
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$469 at Amazon
ipad-mini-cnet-gift-guide-2021
Best portable tablet
Apple iPad Mini (2021)
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$120 at Amazon
A Fire HD 10 tablet against a blue background.
Best if you don't mind sideloading apps
Amazon Fire HD 10
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Collecting and reading physical comic books can be a fun hobby, but those comics take up a lot of space if you've been collecting for years. Physical comics can also be difficult to find, especially if you're looking for older issues or you don't live near a local comic shop. 

Luckily, many of the major comics publishers have digitized their comics and developed their own subscription services and apps. That means you can access some of the most popular and influential comics throughout the years, like The Dark Knight Returns on DC Universe Infinite and House of M on Marvel Unlimited.

You can download many of these apps to your smartphone, but its smaller screen might make reading panels uncomfortable or difficult. Tablet screens are larger and allow you to view whole comic pages at once, and they make it easier to view splash pages -- a comic page or two that's mostly one image.

Here are the best ways you can read digital comics.

Best tablets for digital comics

These are the best tablets you can use to access and read your favorite digital comics.

Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch
$3 at Amazon

Best entry-point tablet

Apple iPad (2021)

Despite this iPad being a few years old, CNET'S Scott Stein said it's still good enough to do most things you'd want to do on a tablet. That includes reading your favorite comics. The screen is 10.2 inches and the starting price ($280) is low compared with most tablets, which means you can buy more graphic novels and single issue comics -- or prosthetics for your Hellboy cosplay.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus
$9 at Samsung

Best high-end Android tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus

If you want a tablet that can handle demanding tasks during your day and that lets you unwind with some comics at night, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus is for you. CNET's Joshua Goldman said this tablet could almost replace your laptop, and it has a 12.4-inch screen, so you can see all the cameos and details when the X-Men host the annual Hellfire Gala.

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ipad-mini-cnet-gift-guide-2021
$5 at Amazon

Best portable tablet

Apple iPad Mini (2021)

Apple's iPad Mini is the smallest tablet on this list, with a screen size of 8.3 inches and a weight of just over half a pound. But like Ant-Man, that smaller size packs a surprisingly powerful punch. Stein found that the Mini is powerful enough that you won't crash the system with current apps. However, the $500 price tag might be more than some people want to pay for portability. 

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A Fire HD 10 tablet against a blue background.
$1 at Amazon

Best if you don't mind sideloading apps

Amazon Fire HD 10

Amazon's Fire HD 10 is the cheapest device on this list ($150), making it a great option for people who want a tablet but don't want to spend a lot of money. You can easily access comics and manga on this tablet through Amazon's Comixology app, but you'll have to sideload other comic apps. Don't worry -- that's easier than it sounds. I'm not Ultron, and it took me only about 15 minutes to get Marvel Unlimited working on my Fire HD 10. Once you get your app loaded, you're set to read whatever comics that app offers. 

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Best subscriptions and apps for digital comics

Here are the best subscriptions and apps to access your digital comics.

Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited app icon
Marvel
Line graphs showing the search trends for the comics publishers Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and Boom! Studios.
Enlarge Image
Line graphs showing the search trends for the comics publishers Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and Boom! Studios.

That large spike in Marvel searches around 2018 coincides with the release of Avengers: Infinity War.

Google

According to Google Trends, more people have searched for Marvel Comics than other major comics publishers over the past 20 years. The Marvel Cinematic Universe probably factors into these searches, but the first MCU film -- Iron Man -- was released in 2008 and Marvel Comics was beating other publishers before the film's release. If you're into Spider-Man, X-Men, Captains America or Marvel, Thor or the Avengers, you'll find them in Marvel Unlimited. 

Marvel Unlimited subscriptions start at $10 for a monthly subscription and $69 for an annual subscription, and the service gives you access to old and new comics featuring beloved characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and Captain America. The app has over 30,000 Marvel comics available, and it adds new comics weekly.

You can download the Marvel Unlimited app from Apple's App Store or the Google Play store.

DC Universe Infinite

The DC Universe Infinite app badge
DC Comics
Line graphs showing the search trends for superheroes like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Captain America
Enlarge Image
Line graphs showing the search trends for superheroes like Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Captain America

It appears that films helped spike interest in comic characters over the last 20 years.

Google

According to Google Trends, DC Comics might be the second most popular comics publisher, but then, it has Batman. Based on Google Trends data, the Dark Knight is the most popular superhero over the past 20 years compared with other well-known characters like Spider-Man, Superman, Captain America and Iron Man. DC Universe Infinite gives you access to comics starring the DC Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as teams like the Justice League, Teen Titans and Suicide Squad. 

A DC Universe Infinite subscription starts at $8 for a monthly subscription or $75 for an annual subscription and gives you access to the full runs of archetypal comics like Action Comics and Detective Comics. You also have access to over 32,000 other comics, including influential works like Watchmen and The Sandman, and new comics are added every week. 

You can download the DC Universe Infinite app from the App Store and Google Play.

Comixology

The Comixology app badge
Comixology

The Comixology app is a digital comics storefront owned by Amazon, and it has over 230,000 comics, manga and graphic novels. While you can purchase comics from either Marvel or DC through the app, you can also purchase popular nonsuperhero comics, like Saga and The Walking Dead.

Comixology also has a subscription service, called Comixology Unlimited, which you can subscribe to for $6 a month. With a subscription you can access over 45,000 comics and manga, including collected volumes of The Walking Dead and Attack on Titan, and a library of Comixology Originals from creators like Scott Snyder. You also get discounts on some digital single issue comics. 

You can download the Comixology app from the App Store and Google Play.

Libby

The Libby app badge
Libby

Libby is an app that connects you to your local public library's ebook collection, including any digital comics your library offers. However, that also means you're limited to only the digital comics your library offers. So you might not have access to older or newer comics, or comics that aren't as popular or mainstream. 

Libby's biggest strength is its cost: free. All you need is a library card, a tablet to read on and a love for comics. That means you can save your money for tickets to Comic Con.

You can download Libby from the App Store or Google Play.

For more, check out the best tablets of 2023 and the best Android tablets and iPads of 2023.

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