App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
iPhone Integration Rating:
User Interface Rating:
Re-use / Replay Value Rating:
As if there weren't enough apps around to get people to use their device's camera more often (much to the chagrin of dinner plates, street signs and shoes everywhere), now there's ComicBook!: An app designed specifically so that users can create their own personal comic books using photos from their camera roll. It's certainly flashy, and the end result is bound to interest those whose likenesses have been assimilated, but the execution is a little rough in places.
The app itself is fairly straightforward: A tray at the bottom of the screen (accessible by tapping on a tab) can be used to select a panel format, add various text bubbles/boxes and kitschy comic-style stickers. Adding an image to a panel is as simple as pressing one of two buttons (one for taking and one for choosing from storage). From there the image can be resized, repositioned and rotated by way of the usual pinching methods, and effects can be added and adjusted. Once the page is complete, with all the imagery and text in place, it's ready to be saved to the camera roll where it can be shown off at parties and moments at work when the boss is out of the room.
ComicBook! is a surprisingly slick app. The interface is easy to figure out, tossing a layout together is a snap and everything can be undone and readjusted at any time. At least until the current page is cleared to make way for another one. It's easy to see how a lot of people can get caught up in making their own personal graphic novels during their morning commute.
The downside to all this is that the interface could still use a little tweaking. Everything is responsive, sure, but there are a couple of issues that can make fine-tuning a creation somewhat frustrating. For starters, the panels are all "active" at the same time, so a slip of the finger can result in moving the wrong image. This is especially problematic in layouts with small panels, as it's very difficult to pinch correctly in such a tiny area. Being able to zoom in on a given panel would be a real boon in situations like this. I also wish it were possible to save a project as opposed to saving the single page as a photo and then wiping the slate clean. Revisiting a page and making adjustments, rather than having to remake it from scratch if it's not quite right, is something that should really be considered in a future update.
I suppose it's unfair for me to think of ComicBook! as a design app, because it's not. It's a photo app, created to allow people to mess with the images on their iOS devices in humorous ways. As the former, it's a bit lacking but still quite functional and very well made. As the latter, it's a lot of fun to play around with.