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Bam! Pow! Regardless of whether or not you’ve seen the Batman television series from the '60s, you’re probably familiar with the pop-cultural trope of using visual onomatopoeia to induce an appropriately “comic book-y” feel to any given medium. And if you’ve ever felt the urge to create your own homage to camp violence or schlocky melodrama in paneled form, now you can with your iOS device.
That’s what ComicBook! is all about: creating unique, simple comics using your picture library and various easy-to-use tools that let you create comic book-style stories with minimal effort. This can easily be filed under complete time-waster, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun anyway.
Creating your stories is a snap: just choose your panel layout (from a wide variety of styles), pick out some choice pictures (or take some new ones), and add an appropriate filter, which will apply half-tone (read: that dot-pattern Andy Warhol was so fond of) and coloring to your selections.
From here you can drag or pinch your selections to move and size them to your liking, and after that it’s just a matter of picking out some text bubbles, adding text, and slapping on some "stickers" for text and visual action effects. Switching back and forth between drop-menus is easy, and the interface is clean and user friendly.
The iPhone’s smaller screen real estate can make resizing or activating editing menus for effects -- generally accomplished with a tap or dragging one side of a box somewhere -- somewhat trying at times, but it’s a minor complaint in an otherwise quality app. And obviously the iPad version has a lot more room.
The only real problem with ComicBook? You’re stuck with one panel layout per project, and no real way to save your work (aside from as a file in your photo library). So if you’re looking to make multi-page project, you’ll have to save one page at a time. At least you can export to social media and email. What kind of time waster would it be without the ability to spread your work online?
The bottom line. ComicBook! is an app that won’t win points for productivity, but clearly that’s not the point. This is a fun little diversion.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 4.0.2 or later.
Easy to use. Offers a lot of options. A good time-waster. Universal app.
One-page format is kind of restrictive. Weird saving system. A good time-waster.