As a long-time comics fanboy who very quickly fell in love with the digital format (in my case, reading in Comixology’s Guided View on the iPad) I keep encountering a sentiment on comics websites and podcasts that is confusing the heck out of me.
People are talking about there being a problem with double page spreads and with constantly having to turn their iPad around in order to appreciate them, and something in the back of my mind can’t help but scream “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!”.
When I first tried to read a digital comic, I hated it. I too was constantly turning it around. And then a moment of absolute clarity hit me, an epiphany – like a bullet between the eyes. OK I’m exaggerating, it was actually pretty obvious: Try it in landscape! I did, it was odd for a few minutes, but I was soon convinced and I’ve been reading like that ever since.
The thing is, there appears to be zero downside to reading them in landscape. Vertical panels work perfectly well that way! In three months of reading just about everything DC has put out I haven’t once felt the need to turn the iPad around to see a vertical panel.
My theory is that after years of reading comics, readers are simply assuming that the correct way to view them is the aspect ratio that most resembles what they are used to. Unless all you’ve ever read is Frank Miller’s 300. But reading on Guided View is a whole new (and quite brilliant) ball-game, which may require some changes to what you’re used to, if you want the best experience out of it.
So let us know. Are we the crazy ones? How do you read your digital comics?
To finish, let me say – if you read them in portrait, just try it in landscape. For me. It’ll feel weird at first, but I am sure you’ll come to be surprised at how much better it is.
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