Comixology offers free upgrade to HD comics

The largest comics app on the market adds high-definition books for the new iPad, throws in free upgrades for people with supported comics, and begins basic social-networking support.

Somebody with a chiroptera obsession has a shocking experience in this week's Batman #7. On the left, as viewed through the new iPad's Retina Display. On the right, the iPad 2. (Credit: Screenshots by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

Comixology continues to dominate the mobile comics-reading app market with new features for its iOS app, including high-definition comics that take advantage of the new iPad's Retina Display.

Updated earlier this week, Comixology's Comics 3.1 (download) lets you read comics on the new iPad with double the resolution of comics on previous models. It also supports sharing your comments on comics via Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail; and offers a Read Now button which lets you begin reading a comic before a comic has fully downloaded.

Support for the Retina Display almost didn't make it into Comixology 3.1, said Chip Mosher, the company's vice president of marketing. "Our developers turned around HD support in about five days. That's a testament to how dedicated they are."

The difference in resolution is apparent when holding a new iPad next to an iPad 2 and looking at the same comic. If you've downloaded a comic for the iPad 2, Comixology will let you download it again in HD at no extra cost.

Comixology's new sharing options: e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. (Credit: Comixology)

Readers can identify high-definition comics by the "CMX-HD" badge in Comixology's store, and the company plans to update its entire catalog with high-def comics over the next few months. While originally only a selection of DC and Marvel comics were available in HD, it now offers more than 1,000 comics in HD. Comixology also has said that there will be no price difference for the HD comics, which are around two to three times larger on disk than the current comics.

And as with other media sharing, tweeting, Facebooking, or e-mailing from the Comixology app will insert related links and cover art to the comic book for you. While the social features are more rudimentary than revolutionary, they do show that digital comics apps -- or at least, Comixology -- are maturing as readership grows.

Corrected March 26 at 2:45 p.m. PT: Comixology now has "more than 1,000" high-definition comics available, not "a selection of DC and Marvel comics." This story also incorrectly stated Chip Mosher's title. He is the vice president of marketing.