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Modern Tales Family Goes Downloadable

Today I'm happy to announce that the Modern Tales family of websites (Modern Tales, GirlAMatic, serializer and Graphic Smash) is the first major webcomics network to embrace the downloadable CBR format for full-length, high-resolution digital comic books.

Not familiar with the format? CBR format has rapidly become the preferred means of digital comics delivery for people who mostly like to read comic books or graphic novels when they read comics in print (as opposed to newspaper strip fans, who are very well-served by traditional webcomic technology). Unlike traditional webcomic strips, Comic Book Reader files are complete issues of "comic books" or even full-length "graphic novels" in digital form, released all at once, downloaded onto the fan's hard drive and consumed at his/her leisure, with crisp graphics and immediate page-loading.

Like MP3 files, CBR's first gained prominence in the file-sharing world. Apparently there are a lot of comic book fans out there who enjoy scanning their collections (or even the comics they just bought this week) and sharing them with their friends. I don't necessarily approve of this activity, but I have a lot of respect for the way that P2P and filesharing systems often stand at the forefront of innovation when it comes to media formats and user-friendly ways of doing things.

At Modern Tales, we've always attempted to bridge the gap between webcomics and indie print comics. We've spent a lot of our emphasis and energy trying to popularize the "longform" webcomic (that is, comics that are more like comic books or graphic novels than like newspaper strips). We've done a pretty good job, but that's not an easy thing to do. Quick, humorous, non-continuity strips just work better on the web, for a lot of reasons. They always will. And there are plenty of great ones (we have some on our own site!), but -- well, you know, there's always more that comics can be. And we'd all like to see comics be everything they can be, right?

CBR format is, far and away, the very best way I've discovered to read "longform" comics in digital form. I'm not the only one who thinks so -- recently the CBR format has been embraced up by several "real" comic book publishers, like Slave Labor Graphics (see, for example. It's just a completely different experience from browsing comics on the web. Every line is crisp and clear; every page loads immediately; you can take your hand off the mouse, put one finger on the "page down" key, and lean back, read, and relax.

Seriously, try it out. Note: EyeMelt and others are selling their CBR files. Ours are free. So you really have no excuse not to give it a whirl.

First you'll need some Comic Book Reader software, such as CDisplay (for Windows), FFView (for Macintosh), Qcomicbook (Linux/KDE) or cbrpager (Linux/Gnome).

Once you've downloaded one of the software packages linked above, here are the launch CBR's from the Modern Tales family:

From Modern Tales proper:

Headsmen (Rogues of Clwyd Rhan one-shot) by Reinder Djikhuis

Hotel Fred Vol2 #1 by Roger Langridge

Ballad of Little Monster by Herve Largeaud

Wahoo Morris (Free Comic Book Day issue) by Craig Taillefer

From GirlAMatic:

Galaxion # 1 by Tara Tallen

From serializer:

Make Love the Fetus-X Way by Eric Millikin

From Graphic Smash:

Charity Begins in Hell (Reckless Life) by Tim Demeter

See what I mean?

There will be more. Stay tuned to the respective homepages (or RSS feeds) of the sites listed above to keep up with our latest CBR releases. I'll also be announcing the CBR/digital downloads/insert catchphrase here/etc. strategy for my biggest site, Webcomics Nation, shortly. Like all things WCN, the CBR system will be a bit more comprehensive, and maybe even more exciting, over there.

That's "Fred the Clown", not

That's "Fred the Clown", not "The Hotel Fred".

Yes, Roger pointed that out.

Joey Manley's picture

Yes, Roger pointed that out. Mind-fart on my part


I like it

Erg's picture

Its a good step for long form comics. Dramatically improves their readability. And its nice not to have to use bit torrent to get an online comic book. ;)


I've been reading CBR's of

I've been reading CBR's of dubious legality for a year and a half now - they are INDEED awesome and easy to read. I love zooming the pages to fit the window widthwise, so I can see all that art up-close.

Though I find using the wheel on my mouse easier that reaching over for page-down. ;)

When I'm viewing in

Joey Manley's picture

When I'm viewing in full-screen mode, I use the wheel, too. I usually read my CBR's (the absolutely legal ones as well as the ones that have ... um ... questionable provenance) in two-page mode, just because it looks better that way to me, with the total comicky goodness being wider than it is tall (full disclosure: I have a vasty monitor). That's where the pagedown key comes in handy.

Yeah, I'd view them that way

Yeah, I'd view them that way too if I had a monitor the size of Texas. As it stands, I've just got a plain ol' 4:3 LCD, though it DOES have a monster resolution...


Shishio's picture

I posted this on Talk About Comics, and I want to post it here as well:

I want to both thank and congratulate you on what I feel is a very smart move on your part.

One-liners - New strips on Fridays.

Thanks, man! Joey

Joey Manley's picture

Thanks, man!