Are you a comic book type of person?
Well, in my case I'd like to think that I am, and even at my age I still on occassion read comics and graphic novels.
I have about a dozen or so graphic novels in my personal collection, notably DC's Death of Superman, Batman: Knightfall, Zero Hour: Crisis In Time, and a smattering of Marvel's Spider-Man and X-Men graphic novels as well. I'd like to buy more, but lets face it, graphic novels aren't exactly the cheapest, nor the most practical book purchases out there. The cheap ones are at least about P500.00 or so, but certain compilations, especially the limited release or hardbound ones, can easily breach P1,000.00, P2,000.00, and sometimes even more.
While they can be expensive, they're also quite fascinating, and oftentimes addictive, if you find yourself following a particular story or plotline.
Fortunately, for us cheapskates, there's a less expensive alternative.
I'm referring to comic book files proliferating all over the internet. These consist of scanned images of real comic books and compressed in RAR or ZIP archives. They are usually identified by the filename extensions .CBR (compressed in RAR format) or .CBZ (compressed in ZIP format).
The format was apparently invented by hardcore comic book collectors who desired the convenience of being able to read their treasured comic books at any time they wanted without damaging them. Eventually, the format found new life as a way of distributing comic book content all over the internet.
The legality, unfortunately, is somewhat suspect, or at the very least, a gray area with copyright laws and all that jazz. All of the files are presumably made by legitimate buyers and owners of the comics in question, so it's arguably not that much different from say, making legitimate copies of CDs you own, or recording TV programs on a VCR for viewing later. So if you want read comic books on your computer in these formats, proceed at your own risk. Comic book publishers aren't complaining yet, but if the practice gets out of hand, I have no doubt they will sooner or later.
Suffice it to say that I do not encourage copyright violations, and if you really, really like the comic books themselves, then buy them by all means.
To start with, you're going to need a reader. Apparently the most popular one for computers running Windows is CDisplay Sequential Image Viewer, or just plain CDisplay. You can download it for free over here. If you're a Mac user, use FFView which can be download for free here. If you want an alternative reader for Windows or for Macs, or if you're running Linux, try Comical which you can also download for free here.
Now that you have your comic book reader installed, you're going to need some comic book files as well. They're pretty easy to find, you can Google them up (use CBZ, CBR, and comic books as keywords), use a peer-to-peer downloader such as Kazaa, LimeWire, or BitTorrent, or find links posted on forums dedicated to the subject.
Here are some links to get you started:
X-Men: The End Trilogy
Dreamers and Demons
Heroes and Martyrs
Men and X-Men
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
(You'll need BitTorrent for the last one.)
Another word of warning: the files can be huge, so if you're still on dial-up, tough luck.
There are a lot more links out there, if you look around. If you come across anything interesting, let me know. :-)
Thanks to iDi for the heads up.
I am not in any way endorsing the reader and comic book file links above as a means of encouraging copyright violations. Materials of similar nature as those in the links above are freely available on the internet, if you look around. It's your personal choice if you want to make use of them or not. The point of this post is to show that if you really want to read comic books on your computer, you can. Nonetheless, let's try to be fair (even though the fair use doctrine may or may not be applicable). Don't make money from these files, and if you really like the material, buy the original comic books.