Catch up on the funnies with GoComics

IMG_2500GoComics is an iOS, Android and Windows Phone app from Uclick, a division of Andrews McMeel Universal. It’s available now as a free download for all three platforms, and carries optional in-app purchases to temporarily remove advertising through a subscription to the service’s “Pro” account.

GoComics is a companion to the Web service of the same name, which has been offering electronic versions of classic and contemporary comic strips to Internet-based readers since 2005. Content on offer includes political and editorial cartoons as well as established classics such as Garfield, Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts, other syndicated content and original Web-based comics. The available comics are updated daily, with featured content displayed on the app’s front page in a “slider” interface as well as quick access to both popular and new strips. The archives are also searchable, allowing users to quickly find their favorite strip and, once located, jump back to a specific point in time to view the comic for that day.

The GoComics app is much like using the Web service. It is not necessary to sign up for an account to browse the available content, but doing so provides a number of benefits — most notably the facility to add individual installments of a comic to a “Favorites” list and the whole series itself to a “My Comics” list for easy access at a later time. The user may also connect their account to Facebook, though the exact benefits of doing this are not made particularly apparent in the app itself. Other social features include the facility to share an individual comic on Facebook, Twitter or via email — doing so provides a link to the comic’s Web-based version for anyone to read, regardless of the device they are on.

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GoComics monetizes through banner ads at the bottom of the screen while browsing the service, and through sales of its “Pro” subscription plan. 30 days of “Pro” may be purchased for $0.99 or a whole year for $11.99. Going “Pro” provides the user with a number of benefits, including removal of advertising, a daily email digest of the comics the user is following along with unlimited access to the archives, collections and ability to share content. The subscription also carries across onto the Web-based component of the service, allowing for commenting on strips, use of the “Pro” homepage and numerous other benefits. A proportion of the service’s advertising revenue and income from the subscription fees goes to the original content creators, helping them get paid for their work. This is a positive move, as unauthorized merchandise and redistribution of content is a big contributing factor to why a number of these strips’ creators (including Calvin & Hobbes’ Bill Watterson) are no longer working on their creations.

GoComics is a fairly no-frills app — it’s not designed for visual chrome and flashy animations like other digital comic readers, largely because the strips themselves are rather more sedate than the average fare you’d find on Comixology or other equivalent readers. That said, it’s functional, easy to navigate and provides its users with a wealth of content at their fingertips. Some of the content on offer has aged better than others and some strips which have been online since GoComics’ launch are posted at rather low resolutions, but there’s plenty to explore here. Best of all, users can browse to their heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that GoComics is a legal means of catching up on their favorite funnies while helping give something back to the creators of some of the most beloved comic strips of all time.

You can follow GoComics’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.