Andrews McMeel Universal
Free on Apple iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8
Free comics! What’s not to like?
As a word of caution, when we say ‘comics’ we mean it in the old school sense of the word; not graphic novels but newspaper strips and editorials, presumably due to licensing issues or maybe just because that’s what the developer wanted to focus on.
And why not? Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, Peanuts – there’s a distinguished list of comics that graced the pages of various newspapers (if you’re into that kind of thing, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame even started out drawing comics at some ridiculous age (and no, those aren’t featured in this collection).
The app is simply laid out, and has various extras such as a Spanish language section, editorial cartoons from left, right and centre commentators, a blog about all things comic and of course, the strips themselves.
For someone who has been missing a bit of Calvin & Hobbes in their life, it’s great to be able to read back through all my favourite strips, or pin particular comics to my Favourites section.
However, while a fantastic idea, the app loses some stars for some irritating glitches. Firstly, there are near-constant ads along the bottom of the screen. Secondly, the comics don’t read well when they’re larger than the usual three or four panels; Calvin & Hobbes epic colour page comics for instance are very difficult to read, requiring you to zoom to read and then scroll wildly to follow the story.
The other, main issue is the lack of a bookmark option, for returning to your place in the sheaves of comics you’re obviously now reading, given that they’re free and at your fingertips. There is, however, a calendar option, so if you note down or remember the comic date you last read, you can skip to your reading place that way.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on your data caps, since it’s very easy to devour whole months worth of comics in one go.
But as a way to read your old favourites and discover some new ones, and as a way to take a look at the often hilariously cutting edge of political satire, GoComics is a grand little app – three and a half stars.