Here’s an article on Forbes discussing some new history and science comics called In Science We Trust, which were specially developed for reading on cellphones with a special app called Tinyview.
Comics creators know that people are trying to view their comics on small devices, and before Tinyview, several other solutions have popped up. One easy solution is for webcomics to display panels individually, so that they stack on top of each other in mobile view. For example, comics site The Nib has a mobile view that makes some of their comics easier to read on a small screen. However, not all of the site’s contributors use the same method. A few comics on their site still seem to be designed for a larger screen – or even with print in mind.
Another platform where webcomics have been doing well is Instagram. It’s where Nathan Pyle’s Strange Planet found a huge following last year. Some Instagram comics make use of the fact that you can upload up to ten images per post, allowing readers to swipe through panel by panel. But with only ten images per post, the length of an Instagram comic is limited. And since Instagram itself is free, posting comics there requires creators to find a different path to monetization.
“Tinyview is designed with monetization in mind,” says Rajesh Lalwani. It uses a freemium model where some comics are free to read, while others require a purchase.
The problem that Tinyview addresses isn’t a new one. Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics, first referred to the “infinite canvas” in the context of web comics. Even in a non-mobile browser, it’s more natural to scroll down than sideways. Artists can get really creative with that vertical space, like XKCD’s Height, which depicts the observable universe on a logarithmic scale. But the format of the comics in Tinyview’s In Science We Trust sticks to the familiar shape of stacked panels which makes it feel like reading a comic on a page.
The vertical scrolling mobile friendly format is also in use on sites such as WEBTOON, but with genres including romance, fantasy and drama, the content there seems to fill a particular niche that doesn’t fit everyone’s style and it’s probably not where you would go to read a historic graphic novel.
Read the whole thing here to see some of the many offerings the Tinyview app hosts. Tinyview is available on iOS and Android and its free comics can be read in a web browser. Soon, Tinyview will also make it possible to read premium content on the web.
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