ComicRack is a full-featured comic ebook reader and manager

ComicRack is a free comic ebook reader for CBZ, ZIP, CBR, RAR, TAR and PDF formats. It is designed as a full-feature reader with bells and whistles as well as being a manager for your library of comic ebooks and metadata.

It can also convert ebooks to other ebook formats.

If you don’t know what they are, comic-book format ebooks are typically images files that are compressed into archives and displayed in a reader according to the naming sequence of the individual images (more info on comic book formats here).

Comic readers are usually geared towards displaying pages/images full screen, rotating and scrolling them for the best reading experience.

ComicRack is a worthy replacement for CDisplay, the standard bearer for comic book readers (which is also free). It goes a couple of steps further in that it is not just a display engine but includes the functionality to manage your ebook collection. Here are most notes on this program:

  • Bells and whistles: there are many of these, including multiple display modes (rotate, 2-page views, etc), scroll mode, information overlays, color adjustment, automatic background matching, a magnifier tool, etc.
  • The user interface: is generally nice and highly customizable, but may have just too many options and tweaks to be user friendly. Supports a tabbed, explorer-style file browser that can be placed on the left, right, or bottom of the screen (or in its own window). The type of view within the browser can be customized as well in a way reminiscent of Windows’ folder views. You can even save your workspace once you arrive at a customized layout/view combo that you like or create and save multiple workspaces. See the tips and tricks page for more info.
  • PDF support: supports PDF eComics (which is to say PDFs that contain images only). However ComicRack also has the ability to read any PDF provided that you install the latest version of Ghostscript as well.
  • Ebook conversions: convert any supported format to PDF, TAR, ZIP formats, or a JPEG folder. Rename the ZIP extension to CBZ or if you want CBR just compress the folder of Jpegs into a RAR archive and change the extension to CBR.
  • Search function: searches your entire library using available metadata (see below).
  • View multiple files: at the same time, each having its own tab on the main display.
  • Metadata: ComicRack is a full-featured metadata manager, allowing you to really get in all the information that you ever care to specify about your collection (right click on any page then select info to get there). It will also allow you to search your collection’s metadata and to filter by the various properties (genre, writer, series, etc.) or use these to create smarlists.
  • Ratings: right click to quickly give your ebook a 1-5 star rating as part of its metadata.
  • Portability: can be used portably. From the program’s readme: “[change] the value “UseLocalSettings in ComicRack.exe.config to true … [then] copy the whole install folder to a USB stick and start it from there. All settings and the library access will now work from the USB stick”.
  • Keyboard shortcuts: you can set these in the preferences section if you are keyboard-oriented.
  • Sharing: multiple ComicRack installations on networked computers can share libraries (but no you cannot share your library with other users over the Internet. More info here.)

Wish list

  • At times I had a feeling that less may be more (the file browser in particular seems like it has way too many functions-within-functions). This is less a criticism than a personal preference, though.
  • File associations: you have to go to the settings to associate files with ComicRack. It would be helpful to be asked to make decisions on these in the installation process.

The verdict: if you have comic ebooks, ComicRack is a must download. (See this page for some resources on getting free comic ebooks).

Version Tested: 0.9.75

Compatibility: Windows 2000 or better. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 required

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx 1.97 megs); scroll to the middle of the page for the link .


 
 
 
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  • paladinMJ

    one issue with ComicRack is in the 2 page displayy of manga, instead of displaying page 1 on the right page 2 on the left as is the standard, CR displays left to right as in western comics with no option to display it correctly. A small issue to be sure but an annoying one. It also takes quite a while to get set up the way you like it. the defaults are a little odd to me.

  • Deemonie

    I’m so glad you featured this.
    I’ve been using it for a couple versions now and it’s simply the best for ecomics.

    My preferred settings for reading ecomics are:
    One page, full screen, fit all.
    Then I rotate 90°, stand my monitor on it’s side, and hide all menus.

  • Deemonie

    Handy tip:
    Hold scroll-wheel (or equivalent middle-click button) down and drag mouse to zoom whole page in and out.

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  • http://digistrom.blogspot.com Nosh

    Hi Samer,
    Just wanted to say that you write some of the best reviews I see online. I’m not interested in a comic book reader and I still found myself clicking the link to your post coz of the fun way you present stuff. Great work!

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  • http://- Zapdos

    I prefer cdisplay cause it doesnt need framework.

  • Samer

    Nosh,
    Thanks for the feedback. Thats really good to hear :)

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  • http://homepage.mac.com/jcohen7523/PhotoAlbum2.html Copyboy

    Cool .cbr reader. Definitely want to try it out.
    I’ve also found a way to read comics on my ipod.
    http://cgi.ebay.com/COMIC-BOOKS-for-iPOD-TOUCH-iPHONE_W0QQitemZ280213664881QQihZ018QQcategoryZ67QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

  • Greg

    This seems fine, but HOLY GOD the aesthetic is nice on at least one online reader, Markosia’s Beta Comic Reader. (http://www.markosia.com/comics/silence/)

    A challenge to programmers: Can we PLEASE get a .cbr/.cbz reader that works like Markosia’s, with a similar page flip design?

  • Supernovae

    Only limited tabs are shown. and after a while they mostly disappear! I have a lot of comics on my computer and read 1 issue per title at a time then finaly get get back to the 1st title and start again. BUT COMICRACK loses all the SAVED DATA and i have to work out my reading order again. VERY POOR!!!!

  • jack

    um….this is all good en all but from whher do i download it……?

  • Anonymous

    where do I download?

  • tim
  • Zeesh

    I would personally recommend Comical 0.8 for all these comic book formats. It’s much lighter than this one. I don’t think anyone would want a RAM guzzler when it comes to scrolling through images!!

  • Morghan

    This looks to be a pretty nice comic book reader for Windows. It’s not Comix, but my favorite reader only works on Linux, so this one does a good job of filling in for it when I’m using Windows.

  • aditya

    cool but where the hell is software

  • http://pokedevil@gmail.com pokedevil@gmail.com
  • jfjb

    not for me, the program trashes my video — I have the feeling it doesn’t like the Emerge shell too well

  • lord necron

    I have been trying to figure out how to convert the comics files on Comicrack into pdf and have found nothing on its menu to do such a conversion even though it is advertised as being able to convert the files. Can someone help me?

  • wes

    mr. not so intelligent here. does this work on one of those netbook things? can you read comics that are on a dvd/cd type disc on a netbook? asking because i have not got a clue, but my son would absolutely love something like this for christmas. any info would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks,
    wes

  • Anonymous

    @ Wes – Yes, it works.. I installed it on my netbook and can read comics off the disc.. But do make sure your netbook does have a Dvd/Cd drive.. Mine did not so i had to buy an USB drive for it..

    happy holidays.

  • gdowson

    Terrible program. Actually, there may be a great program hidden in here…but, like Microsoft bloatware, there’s a lot of crap I don’t want and won’t ever need. And there is no proper FAQ or help to explain how things work.

    Thus, the bottom section of the page is taken up with a library viewer which I would never use, given my habits. It goes away and pops back up at the most annoying times. I don’t know why it is there or how I can permanently get rid of it. You can put the display portion in its own window, but then you have no navigational buttons.

    I could not figure out a way to open up multiple instances, in order to have several different comics up at once. I like to do this in order to compare art.

    This program is a classic example of too many features, not enough documentation.

  • chirag

    good to have that one

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  • Brondy

    Who can tell me how to read PDF books (no comics) with ComicRack
    Thanks

  • Brondy

    lord necron we are facing the same problem. I hope that there is somebody out there who can help us.

  • Samer

    @ Brondy: ComicRack can read PDF files if you install GhostScript on your system.
    http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~ghost/

  • Monica Wolf

    Just a note to add to this. Comic Rack, while free, is also nagware after 50 views. That may be OK for some and not for others.

  • test

    cool looking but slow and bulky
    prefer the old way
    use explorer to manage, use mangameeya to read

  • Lainey

    There is a way to convert your comics into PDF with ComicRack. Find your comic while in the folder tab, right click the desired comic(s), select export comics -> export ecomic. A number of options will open in a new window. Choose destination folder, delete existing file (if you want), select format type, compression, etc. It isn’t quite perfect, I’ve had some problems with some comics being skipped when I select several at a time to export and it lagged a bit to get going ( this may have been an issue on my end though).

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  • Funky

    I would like to know if ComicRack will work for .prc type ebook such as the following:
    Episode 1 : 8 bit Comics | http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005XEV99E

    • Samer

      @ Funky: it looks like this is ‘Kindle Edition’, designed to work on the Kindle or the Kindle reader on the PC, Mac, or other devices.
      I have a Kindle and I will say this: this file is likely to be either .MOBI or more likely .AZW format, but whatever it is it is also likely to be DRM encrypted.
      So, I would say that ComicRack is unlikely to play it, although I cannot say for sure. Your better bet is to use the aforementioned Kindle Reader for PC.

      See this article; item # 2 (http://www.freewaregenius.com/the-big-list-of-free-kindle-tools/)

  • http://comicseer.xylasoft.com Adam

    If you would like an easy to use comic reader, try Comic Seer (http://comicseer.xylasoft.com). It’s new, but rapidly evolving. For Windows and Linux.