Shaenon Garrity announces on the Modern Tales Blog that Modern Tales (and its affiliates, Girl-a-Matic, Serializer and Graphic Smash) is starting a free service, offering high quality digital versions of comic books related to the comics they run. After EyeMelt.com, this is the second rather high-profile outfit that chooses the grassroots, free cbr format over, or at least alongside the proprietary pdf format.
I like the “all-in-awe” description of the first time you read a comic in cbr format on Garrity’s blog :
CBR format is, far and away, the very best way I’ve discovered to read “longform” comics in digital form. […] 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.
Even though I’ve been using cbr’s for quite a while now, and I’m quite aware that they are just rar and zip files with a different suffix, I can’t help but agree with this description. Much of this experience is thanks to the supreme rendering engine used by David Ayton’s cdisplay, the predominant tool for reading digital comics in de PC sphere.
Modern Tales’ offering is quite impressive. It includes books by Reinder Dijkhuis (“Headsmen”, a Rogues Of Clwyd Rhan one-shot) and Roger Langridge (Fred The Clown vol. 2, issue 1 – complete !), along with the first issue to Wahoo Morris (Free Comic Book Day Edition) by Craig Taillefer.
As they say themselves : “you really have no excuse not to give it a whirl”…