iPod touch and Comics

Comics are a powerful medium. The combination of visuals and text can really get an idea across--just ask Google. To announce their new Chrome web browser in September, Google issued a comic book to explain why they were making their own browser and how Chrome is different from the others.

There are a variety of ways to read comics on an iPod touch. iPREPpress sells Graphic Biographies and Histories for iPods. These "eBooks" are actually simply a folder full of images you can load onto an iPod. Each panel of a comic is its own image so each eBook consists of over 50 images. You view the eBook like you would your other photos in the Photos application.

Moon Landing eBook

You can certainly use iPod touch's Safari web browser to visit websites that have comics. Because comics are usually large images, you'll have to zoom in and scroll around the screen to read them. Be aware that if a site uses Flash to display the comic, it won't show up on the iPod. To help you out, Stripr is a site formatted for the iPod touch and iPhone screen (a.k.a. a web app) that lists a variety of comic strips. Stripr also presents the comics so you don't have to load the actual site it came from. You'll still have to zoom and scroll to read them, though.

Another way to view comics is to use software from the App Store. Some apps are designed be a single graphic novels like Nancy Drew Volume 3 Issue 2. Comic Envi, however, uses the Internet to download a variety of the latest comic strips and political cartoons. It displays them as a slide show on your iPod touch.

Reading comics is great, but creating your own comic is even better. For desktop computers, there's software like Comic Life and websites like Comiqs.com that allow you to create your own cartoon story. For iPod touch and iPhone, there's Comic Touch ($4.99) and iToony ($2.99) from the App Store.

Comic Touch

Behold some educational comics I made using Comic Touch:

Juipter ComicPhoto from Pics4Learning.com

A lot vs. Allot ComicCreative Commons Licensed photo from flickr.com/photos/15066227@N00/90017858/

Skeletal Muscle Comic

Comic Girl Debt
Creative Commons Licensed photo from flickr.com/photos/justastranger

iPhone users can use their phone's camera to take a picture and instantly bring it into Comic Touch or iToony. Since iPod touch doesn't have a camera, touch users can import images from the Photo Library. There are several ways to get photos into the Photo Library:

  • Place the photos you want to sync in a folder or album on your desktop computer. Use iTunes to sync the photos onto the iPod.
  • Drawing software from the App Store (like iDoodle2 Lite) allows you to save images created in the program to the Photo Library.
  • Save Image ButtonPhotos can be sent as email attachments and that email can be opened on the iPod touch. Tapping the photo in Mail produces a menu where you can save the image to the Photo Library.
  • You can save an image while browsing the web in Safari. Tap and hold the image you wish to save. The image you are about to save is highlighted. Tap the Save Image button that appears.

As you undoubtedly noticed in my comics above, Comic Touch has warping effects that are a lot like PhotoBooth on the Macintosh. Although iToony doesn't have warping effects, it does have a wider variety of speech bubbles and lets you draw, sketch, and decorate in many colors.

After creating a comic in Comic Touch or iToony, you can save the cartoon to the Photo Library. From there you can sync the image onto a desktop computer or send it through email. Once on a desktop computer, the image can be used wherever you use JPEGS: documents, slide shows, webpages, blogs, wikis, etc. Or, since you can email the photo right from the iPod touch or iPhone, you could email the image directly to a blog for posting (most blog services allow you to post via email). Wherever the images happen to appear, students and teachers will have a blast creating, sharing, and learning from their comics!

12 Days of iPod touch continues tomorrow with math apps.