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Library Hack: hoopla digital comics

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 6:00 am

Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District
By David Wyatt

In addition to the movies, TV shows, audiobooks, eBooks, and music available via hoopla, you can now also check out comic books (graphic novels if you’d rather). It’s been awhile since I’ve picked up a comic book, but while exploring hoopla I was excited to see old favorites like Fables and The Sandman. Their collection has been growing in leaps and bounds recently, so be sure to check back often for new content.

Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District  Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District

If you’re already familiar with hoopla, you search and browse comics just like other items. There is a basic search box at the top of the page or you can browse through different curated lists. I find browsing to be the way I prefer to find comics because it reminds me of flipping through back issues in a comic shop. You’ll also find some themed collections like “As Seen on Screen” or “Back to School”.

Before I go any further, let me address the massive elephant in the room: there are no Marvel comics on hoopla. Now, I’ve always been a DC guy, but this is still an important piece of information for comic lovers to know. However, hoopla does have DC and its imprints (like Vertigo, which I might like even better), as well as comics from Image (The Walking Dead), Dark Horse (Hellboy), and Titan (Doctor Who) among others.

When looking at the summary page for title, it will include tags (subject or series headings in library speak) under both “similar titles” and at the bottom of the page. Tags will show you all of the issues in a particular series. Unfortunately, you can’t sort the tags further, but they are typically ordered by publication date.

The Genres section is quite handy if you want to browse Manga or alternative comics that don’t necessarily have superheroes in them. It’s a little hit and miss if you are searching actual genres like fantasy or science fiction. Hoopla lump titles together as diverse as Saga, V for Vendetta, and American Vampire, which if I were to nitpick would be respectively sci-fi, dystopian, and horror.

Something to keep in mind for younger readers is that currently there is no satisfactory way to filter maturity level. While some comics will be labeled as young adult or children’s, this is not reliably applied and there is no adult content labeling.  I scanned all available Alan Moore comics, which are usually excellent but definitely for mature audiences, and found no indication of adult content. Yes, comics aren’t just for kids anymore, so be aware. That said, there is a great collection of children’s titles. From classics like Peanuts and Garfield to newer favorites like Adventure Time or Lumberjanes, there are plenty of titles to keep young readers entertained.

Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District  Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District  Library Hack: hoopla digital comics By David Wyatt | Spokane County Library District

The best viewing experience is on a desktop monitor or a large tablet, but my smartphone did ok in a pinch thanks to the nifty “Action View”, which zooms in on individual panels on the page. This is a vast improvement over my previous attempts at reading digital comics one whole page at a time. In your web browser it defaults to this view, but in the hoopla mobile app you just double tap to engage “Action View”. With this small change, it makes it easy to read comics on the go.

Like everything else on hoopla, comics count towards your 10 item limit each month, so don’t burn through them too quickly!

Bio_DavidW

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