Five Great Free Comics For Your iPad

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So you stood in line (or waited for the delivery person), and now you’ve got your iPad 2, and you’ve heard how good comics look on it. Still, you want to take a look at some good stuff before you start running up a hefty Apple Store bill. Here are five awesome comics that won’t cost you a cent.

1. The Walking Dead #1

The Robert Kirkman-written series about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse (yes, the TV show’s based on it) keeps going and going, as if not even death could stop it. It’s also incredibly addictive. The first issue (drawn by Tony Moore) is free on the dedicated Walking Dead app or on Comics by comiXology. After that, they’ll cost you. And there are a lot of them–82 issues to date.

(More on Robert Kirkman Talks Walking Dead Weekly)

2. Underground

A few months ago, somebody on 4chan posted scans of this entire graphic novel–a spelunking thriller by Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker about a park ranger trapped in a cave. The creators’ response was to chat with the community about how they’d created the book, and to offer higher-quality images of the whole thing for free on their own site (they suggest a $5 donation)–you can get it in CBZ or PDF format, and they even offer a black-and-white variant. That’s some good karma generation right there.

3. Final Crisis #1

Grant Morrison’s superhero mega-event Final Crisis is densely packed–Techland posted a reader’s guide to it a few months ago–and requires slow, careful reading to make sense of. But it’s also outlandishly entertaining, and J.G. Jones’ artwork looks fantastic on an iPad’s screen. The first issue (in which extradimensional gods invade Earth, and the Martian Manhunter falls into the hands of a coalition of supervillains) is free on the DC Comics app.

(More on A Prospective Reader’s Guide to Final Crisis)

4. BodyWorld

Before Dash Shaw’s sci-fi opus about a drug that allows people to experience each other’s sensory perceptions was a printed graphic novel, it was a webcomic. Still available for free on Shaw’s own site, it’s perfect for reading on an iPad–each of its chapters is one long scroll downward, which feels natural on a touch tablet.

5. Dark Avengers #1

The selection of free issues on Marvel’s official app rotates on a regular basis. The best one up there at the moment, though, is the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato’s Dark Avengers series. It’s the most-reprinted Marvel comic in recent memory, and deservedly so: a high-velocity superhero adventure (about what happens when very, very bad people seize positions of power and declare themselves the good guys) that’s also a pointed political satire.