Comics form a genre of entertainment that has remained largely unchanged for about half a century. The concepts might have evolved with the passage of time, but the basic traits (like illustration style and appearance), are essentially the same. It just doesn’t seem to be a real comic unless the illustrations appear to be handmade, and the fonts are stylized. Although you can read comics on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll mostly have to make do with plain digital versions of their printed counterparts (unless you’re using the official Marvel or DC apps). Madefire is an iOS app that finally brings some innovation to comics. There aren’t a lot of comic books in the app just yet, but the ones that are will really endear Madefire to its users. The comics available in the app have been designed specially for Madefire by veteran comic creators, and offer a nice mixture of classic and contemporary style in terms of design, but that’s not what makes them special. The books have background sounds, panel-by-panel animations and transition effects that will make you want to keep turning pages, and are divided into short episodes for an optimum reading experience. The app was initially released as an iPad-exclusive, but recently went universal with the release of its iPhone variant.
The Store section of Madefire lists all the books available in the app. For now, everything there is free, like the app itself. Madefire has 6 comics in its repository at present, and each of them has to be downloaded individually. Before downloading a comic book, it is better if you read the prologue and synopsis of the series, available on the comic’s description page. All downloaded comics will appear in the My Books menu. From the Settings menu, you can adjust volume and brightness of Madefire, while the option to restrict downloads to Wi-Fi is present as well.
As mentioned before, the app’s reader is truly unique to the genre. We’ve seen smart panel-by-panel navigation in the official DC and Marvel apps before, but Madefire takes it to the next level, adding animations and sound effects to each panel, and transition effects between them. Every time you tap the red arrow on the right side of each page, the reader reveals the next speech bubble, animation or panel.
For your first reading session, you will be shown a brief tutorial regarding the options available. By default, the reader runs in full screen, but you can change that by tapping the middle of the screen. The bottom bar lists all the pages available in the current comic, letting you jump to any page you want. You can also navigate to the previous and next page by tapping the left and right edges of the screen. The reader allows pinch to zoom, but it is hardly ever needed. If you really like a comic, you can share it over social media or via email.
Madefire is a free app, and we’re guessing most of its content will be free too. The app is perfect for the iPad’s bigger display, but works like a charm on the iPhone and iPod touch as well.