Comic Life

App review by
Mark Raby, Common Sense Media
Comic Life App Poster Image
Turn photos into comics if you can navigate clunky controls.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

This app is also available as a computer program on PCs and Macs, so it looks and feels more like computer software than a traditional mobile app. So although it uses a straightforward point-and-click interface, some of the features involve navigating through menus and figuring out where all the available customization options are. It is not as intuitive as other, similar apps, but most users should still be able to take full advantage of all the features.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Comic Life is a mobile app that lets kids take their own pictures to create digital comic books. Kids select a template that maps out all the comic panels, add their pictures, and then the rest is up to their imagination. They can edit the images, add captions and speech bubbles, and insert special icons and graphics. When done, users can share their personalized comic books through Facebook or by printing to a connected wireless printer. Comic Life is also available as software to install on Mac or Windows computers.

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What's it about?

Comic Life is all about creativity. Users are able to transform their own personal photos from their mobile device and bring them to life in an interactive comic book. Any photo will do, no matter how seemingly boring or mundane. This app is for more than just budding comic book artists though. Anyone can pick-up-and-play, with user-friendly and intuitive controls that make every process -- from adding cartoon-style graphics, speech bubbles, and giant action words, to editing images on-the-fly, to setting the layout of each comic book page -- simple and enjoyable. Once complete, the creations can be shared through social media sites, email, or sent directly to a wireless printer to create a hard copy.

Is it any good?

COMIC LIFE allows users to take their ordinary, everyday photos and turn them into an exciting comic book adventure. However, the level of customization feels somewhat limited. The available templates are bland and have no special flavor or feeling, and the number of fonts, speech bubbles, and canned photos is limited. Additionally, because it acts more like a computer program than a mobile app, the controls are sometimes clunky. As a result, this app does have value and anyone with a little creativity can unleash a fair share of masterpieces with this, but it may fall short of some users' expectations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Look at cartoons in the newspaper and discuss how the author uses visual elements, instead of words, to tell a story.

  • Go over a comic your kid created; reflect, and discuss if all elements are clear to the reader.

  • Help your kids create a cartoon by outlining the story offline, and then design it with the application.

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Price: $7.99
  • Release date: July 19, 2011
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Size: 35.20 MB
  • Publisher: plasq LLC
  • Version: 1.0.4
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 4.3 or later

For kids who love creativity

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