All Your Digital Comics Just Went HD

Reading comics on the new iPad's retina screen is about to get a lot better. New comics from Marvel, DC, Image, and other major comic publishers are all available in retina-level resolution, and back issues and indie comics should follow suit very shortly.

The bulk of the retina comics comes from Comixology's freshly updated apps, which power Marvel, DC, Image and other publishers. About 125 issues are available in the "CMX-HD" format to begin, covering every issue released last week, and every issue released from this point on will also be in HD. Comixology and the publishers are also beginning work on making their entire back catalogs available in retina within a few months, hopefully.

Graphicly, the main competitor to Comixology in digital comics, has its retina app submitted and is just waiting on approval from Apple. It also offers Newsstand subscriptions for several comic titles that let publishers push new issues directly to users; those are already updated to provide HD downloads.

All Your Digital Comics Just Went HDS

As for actually getting the new files, the Comixology apps will recognize if you're using a new iPad, and automatically offer to re-download any already-purchased comics in the new HD format. Graphicly didn't say specifically how its would work, but expect something similar.

The CMX-HD format files are a little more than twice the size of current files. Graphicly has emphasized image quality over size all along, but you can expect a noticeable size bump from their stuff as well. Which could be rough on your iPad's storage—especially since new iPad users won't be able to download non-HD format issues. But then, Comixology and Graphicly had both been sending files at higher-than-iPad-2 resolutions for a while, which is why there was a noticeable bump in image quality immediately on the new iPad. So it's not like you had super small files to begin with. Retina resolution should improve the quality even further on full-size, and eliminate pixelation on zooming in.

Comics already look really, really good on the new iPad, so we're pretty excited about digging into even purdier books from here on.

Update: Looks like DC's app isn't updated just yet, so Marvel's the only major publisher that's live with retina so far. We were told that DC and the other publishers would be up today, too, but we've reached out to try to see if something went wrong.

Here's a sample side-by-side of the old and new resolutions, zoomed in on a panel. Click for the full size. (Copy the url of the expanded version into another tab for the full-full size.)

All Your Digital Comics Just Went HDS

And here's another from Marvel:

All Your Digital Comics Just Went HDS