MAD Magazine App
Format: Currently iPad
Digital comics are enhancing fast, and companies like Marvel have introduced things like their AR-App to keep print going and justify why we are paying so much for an individual issue. For as many problems as I have with Marvel’s newly launched AR-App, which is an entirely separate column in itself, DC has slid in under the radar and blown us out of the water with their enhanced version of MAD Magazine and its new App.
For as goofy as MAD Magazine may be, the App is really a step in the right direction for what digital magazines and comics should strive for. MAD may like to brand itself as the usual gang of idiots, but they have proven to be the smartest idiots in the room.
The App provides free great content updated all week long via MAD’s hysterical blog, keeps a place to collect the digital mags (much like most comic book Apps), and more. Looking at the magazine itself, I used the “interactive” version. There is still a normal version for those who want it exactly like the newsstand, and there’s a slight price point difference which will be addressed later, but the interactive version is where it’s at. The cover and a few pages are slightly animated, for starters. The images all drop in, and there are a ton of amusing sound effects. Yes, it’s really a simple flash-animation trick, but it looks polished on the pad, and for it to be the first thing to hit you, it just makes you crack and smile and brings you into the world fun.
Next thing is the ability to enlarge all sorts of cool things, namely all those hysterical cartoons Sergio Aragones draws in the margins that are so, so small in print. They are still small here, but with one tap, it gets enlarged in its own box to see it in its splendor. This “one tap” trick works other places too, where you see a small icon for it, and the feature came in handy for enlarging specific stuff, like a MAD-inspired art gallery they highlight in the new issue. It really helps see the detail in all the little things that are missed on the page.
Other cool things include a mix-and-match laugh strip where you choose from a variety of funny stuff as you go along (think of it as a MAD version of party game Mad-Libs). Also, all your favorite stuff is here, from Spy vs. Spy to the TV/Film parodies, made to fit the iPad page like a glove. They’ve even figured out a way to make the MAD fold-in work (which was pretty cool).
Launched on April 1st, Alfred E. Neuman’s birthday, the magazine’s price points are perfect. The App itself is free to download. For a digital copy of the same thing as the print version, it’s $1.99 for the new issue. For a copy of the interactive version, it’s $4.99 for the new issue. However, for just $9.99, you can get a yearly subscription to the interactive copy. The magazine is bi-monthly, so doing the math you save a ton and get to play with all the bells and whistles.
This new App has rekindled fun, and that’s what MAD wants you to do: have fun with it. Highly recommended.