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No excuses here. If you don’t read comics, it’s because you don’t want to. On the internet there are millions of issues, I’m not exaggerating, that you can download and read for free, complete and absolutely legal. From classics to novelties, including all kinds of rare publications, fanzines and popular books.
If we were to add to this small list those blogs and websites that compile them and make them available for download in a less “legal” way, we could be sure that even with several lifetimes you wouldn’t have time to read them all.
Here are ten pages to help you find all those comics. The first five offer the possibility to download or read them online and the others will allow you to discover a large number of authors, get closer to their biographies and many more details about their works. If you think there is a (legal) page missing that should be listed or if you find a mistake, whistle in the comments.
Download and read
|Date of creation||2013|
|Total number of publications||More than 500|
eBiblio is the free loan service of public libraries and, although it is not the virtual store where you can access the largest number of copies, it deserves to top this list because it is a public service and because, in addition to comics, including new releases, you can access books, audiobooks, magazines(El Jueves among them with some 200 copies) or electronic newspapers.
Everything can be read online or offline via download for certain applications as a loan for a certain period of time, just as you would in a physical library.
The borrowing time varies from 21 days for e-books and audio books, 24/48 hours for magazines and 60 minutes for newspapers.
To start reading, all you need is a valid library card from any public library participating in the system, which is almost all except for Catalonia (eBiblioCat) and the Basque Country (eLiburutegia) as they use their own systems
|Domain registration date||24/09/2012|
|Total number of publications||More than 70|
Panel Syndicate is a portal for DRM-free digital comics that are sent directly by the creators to readers around the world for whatever price they want to pay.
It was founded in 2013 by writer Brian K. Vaughan and artists Marcos Martín and Muntsa Vicente to publish and distribute their comic THE PRIVATE EYE, its success allowed them to open the site to new series from different creators.
It is not one of the sites with more quantity, but there is a lot of quality. Their philosophy is not to offer comics for free. The idea is that the creators get some benefit and facilitate the distribution of their comics allowing readers to set the amount they want to pay, however, if you have no money, they offer the option to mark 0 in the purchase box to download the issue at no cost.
*Added thanks to the track by esbrutafio on Menéame.
Comic Books and Graphic Novels (Internet Archive)
|Domain registration date||14/12/1995|
|Total number of publications||More than 350.000 publications|
To speak of the Internet Archive is to speak of perhaps the largest and most priceless repository of multimedia files, publications and copies of web pages in existence today, which began to be built in the mid-1990s and continues to grow.
Since May 2014, when these collections of comics and graphic novels were created, more than 350,000 files have been uploaded
No registration is required to read them, although the best thing to do is to open an account (it’s free) to establish a kind of “limited reading time rental” and thus unlock some of the limitations in publications of many pages.
You can find almost everything in different languages, from comics from the Golden Age, Silver Age and European comics, superheroes, erotica, children’s comics, classics, graphic humour and even books on theory and popularisation and even some rarities.
Comic Book +
|Domain registration date||12/12/2011|
|Total number of publications||42,028|
Everything in Comic Book + is openly accessible for reading, but to download and participate in its forum you have to register. It only hosts open-access works, mainly from the United States, although you can also find some from other countries. As of today they have 2947 publications in spanish and 80 in catalan.
Although it has an outdated design it is a page candy, this huge archive contains tens of thousands of comics that entered the public domain for different reasons. Real gems to download or read online. Most of the publications belong to the so-called Golden Age of Comics(1938-1956), although there are many later ones.
What was a massive industry meant that publishers and their successors often neglected to protect their works. Many of these comics were not properly copyrighted, or were not renewed. Because of this, thousands of comics fell into what is called the “public domain” before the usual time, meaning that they now have no legal owner.
Digital Comic Museum
|Domain registration date||27/03/2010|
|Total number of publications||More than 20,000|
Another classic that claims to be the best site for free downloads of Golden Age comics. They claim that all the files they make available have been vetted by their staff and users to ensure that they are copyright free and in the public domain
To download the comics you only need to register, but they can also be read online without registration. The aim of the project is to archive these publications and make them available to anyone who wants to access them free of charge.
In addition, they accept the collaboration of comic uploaders, researchers, donors and moderators for their forum
Although there are no download limits, they warn that the site survives on donations and that they may limit them if they run out of bandwidth. The vast majority of the issues are impeccably scanned. A project to be applauded.
|Domain registration date||03/02/1999|
|Total number of publications||More than 15.000 publications|
Lambiek is one of the oldest comic shops and sequential art galleries in the world, known for its impressive collection of comics and famous as a meeting point for comic artists, collectors and fans.
Located in the centre of Amsterdam and founded in 1968 by Kees Kousemaker, it was for a long time a popular landmark on the Kerkstraat near Leidseplein. In 2015, Lambiek had to leave the Kerkstraat and move to Koningsstraat 27, near the Nieuwmarkt. Here you can read his full story.
Comiclopedia is his ever-growing digital comic encyclopaedia project. There you can access a directory of authors with more than 11,000 entries, many of them very well documented, among which you will also find references to some 950 Spanish cartoonists and their works.
|Domain registration date||18/09/2006|
|Total number of publications||No downloads|
Now comes the turn for those pages that, although they don’t have downloads or complete comics to read online, are very useful to organise your comics, locate authors, comics by date and find more information about the works and their creators.
The site, which catalogues and indexes comics from a variety of publishers, offers features including tools to search and display information about comic book stories and characters, cover galleries and creator credits.
You can begin your exploration by selecting a feature from the menu or by entering the title of a comic in its search engine.
|Domain registration date||26/05/2008|
|Total number of publications||+ over 1 million|
The idea of Whakoom is as simple as it is attractive and useful for any fan with a small or large comic collection. It is a social network where you can register and organise your comic collection and search for missing issues of certain series or unique albums that you would like to hunt down.
In 2013, Whakoom had already catalogued some 80,000 comics, and now it is very likely that it has well over a million publications catalogued in the different collections created by its users. According to its own figures, it already has more than 100,000 users. Here is my account.
|Domain registration date||11/11/2013|
|Total number of publications||+ de 5000|
Tebeosfera is a comprehensive site about comics, novels, cinema, games and popular graphic culture directed by Manuel Barrero and managed by the Asociación Cultural Tebeosfera
According to its own description, Tebeosfera is a digital publication dedicated to the research and cultural dissemination of graphic narrative and popular audiovisual culture (in any of its manifestations), graphic humour and other related media. Tebeosfera is not a company, it is non-profit and does not receive any subsidy.
I don’t know the total amount of articles, books, comics, information about authors and publishers and various references it has, but to give you an idea of the volume, only in terms of authors it already has more than 5000 listed.
A valuable page and a must for researchers and disseminators of graphic art, readers and fans of comics and graphic humour.
|Domain registration date||12/07/2013|
|Total number of publications||+ de 500|
Humoristán is a digital museum of graphic humour created by the Gin Foundation as a non-profit cultural project that houses exhibitions, interviews, information about some authors, as well as articles and abundant related graphic material.
The Gin Foundation was created in June 1997 in memory of and in homage to the cartoonist, Jordi Ginés Soteras, Gin (1930-1996) with the aim of keeping his memory alive, and of disseminating and promoting graphic humour, both nationally and internationally.
Humoristán is another interesting corner to visit to discover much more about certain authors and their works.