How To: Get thousands of back issue comics on your iPad for pennies an issue

archie comics iPad

Comics and iPads – two extremely geeky things that go great together. And while I have the DC, Marvel, ComiXology, IDW, and Archie apps, one thing they all have in common is the digital issues don’t quite reflect the cost savings you would think would accompany ditching the printing, shipping, and restocking fees associated with going paperless. But this holiday season while monitoring Amazon’s lightning deals, I stumbled across a very cost effective way to get thousands of back issues of your favorite comics onto your iPad (or iPhone/iPod touch) for just pennies an issue. Here’s how.

archie comics iPad

My daughter has recently gotten very into the Archie comics, primarily for Betty and Veronica (and who can blame her?). So when the Archie comics app for the iPad came out, I picked it up, downloaded some free issues, then downloaded some pay issues, then, realizing this was still getting expensive, I went the eBay route, picking up lots of old Archie’s 50 at a time in lots. While this was a nice savings, it still was costing about a buck an issue, so when I saw Amazon had a lightning deal on a DVD of “Golden Age” Archie comics in PDF form for $3.00, I decided to take a risk, and I’m glad I did.

archie comics iPad
Above: If you look at Veronica’s Ass, you’ll see the watermark that appears on the pages. Not a bad tradeoff methinks.

Each DVD has about a decade worth of comics on it, and we’re talking the ENTIRE ORIGINAL comic, including the ads for Sea Monkeys. Each issue runs about 10 MB, and installing them couldn’t be easier. First, you must make sure you’ve downloaded Apple’s free iBooks app onto your device. Then, simply drag each PDF into iTunes, and then sync them under the BOOKS tab of your device’s syncing options. You can also edit their meta info in iTunes to group them better, or create playlists based on whether they’ve been read or not.

The cool thing is, it isn’t just Archie you can do this with. Many comics are being sold this way, on Amazon from X-Men and Avengers to the entire 50 years of MAD Magazine (for only $18.60), all at ridiculous savings compared to per issue paper or regular digital downloading.

archie comics iPad

Of course, as with all gift horses, you may notice one small problem if you look too closely in its mouth. While all these DVDs say the issues are “printable”, so far I’ve found they have a light but noticeable watermark on each page (see below). This really isn’t an issue for me or my daughter, or I would wager anyone going the digital route, as digital comics don’t appreciate in value like their paper friends, and the watermark is light enough to not be annoying. I assume this is done to prevent you from republishing all the old Betty and Veronica’s and making a FORTUNE… cough… but whatever. I’m getting Archie’s, Jughead’s, and Betty and Veronica’s for 2¢ an issue, and that’s pretty sweet.
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archie comics iPad

Comments
9 Responses to “How To: Get thousands of back issue comics on your iPad for pennies an issue”
  1. The Captain says:

    This is a very good deal.
    This Christmas my wife gave me the CD collection of all the past STAR TREK comics ever printed (from ThinkGeek.Com) and that’s a lot! Right down to the comics from the old Peter Pan Storybook Albums, Gold key, DC, Marvel, etc. It cost me a fortune to buy them all on iTunes.
    But it doesn’t help with the newest stories.

  2. john boy says:

    I’m still stuck looking at Betty’s ass…

  3. Kenneth says:

    Awesome tip Doc! It’s a sad state of the digital content economy when you have to get on copies of print content, scanned and compiled on dvd, sold online, shipped via mail, all to read on your e-reader for a reasonable price.

  4. Aldo Johnson says:

    That’s not Bettie, that’s Veronica! Veronica Lodge, daughter of the richest man in Town.

  5. Goodman Holiday says:

    I have some of these collections. You can view them without the watermark in GoodReader for iPad.

  6. Sean says:

    Can you provide more detail on how you organize the PDF comics with playlists and meta info? I don’t see any way to sync books to iBooks based on a playlist’s contents.

    I’d love to be able to have sub-categories in iBooks (e.g. “PDFs>Comics>X-Men”, but I’m not sure I see Apple getting that granular.

  7. jason says:

    hmm seems dc has not gotten in on this like marvel and archie has only DC book is Mad

  8. Matt Brady says:

    Yeah – GIT had great collections a few years back – I’ve got all the Marvel ones, but theirs was a licensing deal made just as Marvel was looking at digital comics, and they didn’t renew the deal with GIT. It was an understandable decision, based on the fact that a lot of the GIT collections (scans tho they were) came out at around $20 (or could easily be found for $20) and had over 500 issues on them, on average, and Marvel was wanting people to sign on to their digital comics stuff for a monthly subscription.

    For me, part of the charm is the ads (both external and in house). I wish they could make the old comics smell as well.

    If you’re looking at the few remaining GIT/Marvel copies on Amazon, I’d only go as high as $50 for ‘em, but that’s me. As I said, they’ve got TONS of comics.

  9. PAUL says:

    How do transfer the cd/dvd content onto you Ipad? I am new to the iPad and I am not familiar with all the how to’s.

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