After a much longer run as a private beta than originally intended, the digital comic book store and comics reader called LongBox has finally opened its doors. The public beta is available for Windows and Mac, and although it's still quite rough in some spots, it represents a major breakthrough for the print-centric medium.
When you open LongBox v0.5, you'll see a massive information overload. The layout uses boxes to keep the busy display from getting too chaotic, but the varying shades of blue don't keep things as separate as they could be. Just because this is comics doesn't mean you're going to encounter a lot of primary colors or ziptones here, but some of that old-school feel might have helped here.
In the upper left box, you'll see a horizontal scroll of featured titles. Below that is a newsfeed from the comic book news and reviews Web site Comic Book Resources. The Blackbox is a comic creator spotlight, with the debut focus on Steven Niles, perhaps best known as the writer of 30 Days of Night. It is currently not functioning.
The column on the right is devoted to your LongBox stats on top and a scroll list of comic books being published for the current week. The stats counter wasn't working in the version I tested but should display your purchased comics, comics subscriptions, and comics loaded on your current device. That's a hint at what's to come for LongBox, which anticipates an iPad version, an Android tablet version, Xbox support, and support for other handheld devices. Comics downloaded through LongBox are shared to your account in addition to being stored locally, so you'll be able to read them on any LongBox-supported device without having to download them a second time. … Read more