To commemorate tomorrow being Free Comic Book Day I’ve reviewed ComicRack, software that manages your library of and lets you read eComics. eComics are digitial forms of traditional comics, typically scanned in by dedicated groups of fans or offered by creators who believe the Internet is the future of comic delivery, maybe even Marvel and DC will jump on-board someday. eComics are made by putting sequential jpeg files inside of a compression format like zip, rar, or 7zip. The extensions are then renamed .cbz, .cbr, or .cb7 respectively.
Back in the day, I would have recommended CDisplay as a simple, light-weight cbr/cbz reader but it hadn’t seen updates in a while and when Yahoo! pulled the plug on Geocities CDisplay went down with it. Instead though, ComicRack has taken its place as the recommended comic book reader. It’s being actively developed and offers a lot more features than CDisplay ever did.
Whereas CDisplay simply allowed you to open .cbz and .cbr files, ComicRack provides an entire management client where you can organize your library, view thumbnails of the covers, and access your comics.
One of the greatest contributions ComicRack makes to changing your comic library is through the ability to add metadata to your comics. You can add useful information to each book like title, publication date, synopsis, volume number, and a whole lot more. You can also re-arrange the order of pages if you need to make an edit. All of this is accessible right-clicking on a book and going to Get Info… This allows you to add ratings to certain books so you can easily recall your favorite books with a high rating or search your library for other attributes. There are also scripts available that can be used to extend the functionality of ComicRack.
The real reason you’re using ComicRack isn’t to play Mr. (or Mrs.) Librarian but instead to read some great stories. Above the thumbnails of your library collection, a bigger viewing window of the selected book is shown. You can turn pages and zoom in but to read it most easily, you can also switch to a minimal user interface or go full screen to optimize your reading space.
If you’re looking to download some free eComics, ComicRack has some links to resources for that. Download the ComicRack application for Windows and check out FlashBack Universe’s recommendations for Mac alternatives.
Just another reminder that tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day. Use the FCBD website to find a store near you that’s participating and pick up some free books. Be sure to check out the other titles on the racks or spinners for some great reads. Since I’ll be in the comic book shop tomorrow, any suggestions for books I should be reading?