Most people want to read the famous, popular comic books right? If you do then one of your first stops should be Marvel.com’s free issues. Here you’ll find Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Avengers, Captain America, Daredevil and a lot more!
Pros: Lots of famous Marvel characters, classic and new issues
If Golden Age comics are your thing then here is one of the best sites for downloading free public domain Golden Age Comics! This site has a big selection of classic comic books from Charlton, Fawcett, Ace, Ajax-Farrell, Fox Feature Syndicate and more. The best part? It is completely free and legal!
Pros: Loads of high quality Golden Age books, a wide variety of genres, staff researches every book to make sure they are copyright free and in the public domain
DC Comics is the home of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel – and here is a great site to introduce young readers to the wonders of these characters! There isn’t a huge selection here, but the ones that are available are good ones. A very kid-friendly site that focuses on the younger comic book readers.
Pros: Lots of famous DC characters, excellent site for kids
ComiXology is *the* place for online and downloadable comic books – and guess what? They have a huge selection of free comic books for your enjoyment! The free selections are updated weekly and include lots of 1st issues among a wide variety of comics. What are you waiting for? Create an account and start enjoying some high quality comic books for free!
Pros: A wide variety of books and genres, lots of popular and classic series, updated frequently
Dark Horse comics have some great series – like Hellboy, Star Wars and Aliens. Their online store requires you to sign up for a free account, but then you get to sample some of today’s coolest comic books all for the pretty price of nothing! Can’t beat that!
Pros: A wide variety of books and genres, lots of popular series, something for everybody
The Internet Archive is like the library of… well, the Internet! Among the many things that they archive for public use is a huge collection of digitized comic books! Woohoo! This isn’t the world’s most friendly site, but if you dig around even a little bit you can find all sorts of comic book treasures. So go ahead – pick a category, then a book, then look on the left side for your reading options – you’ll be glad you did!
Pros: Lots of classic and Golden Age comics
In the early 1990s Image Comics was the rebellious teenager that broke away from the traditional comic publishing industry and really changed the game. With titles like Witchblade, Spawn and Savage Dragon they really have some cool and popular series from some of the biggest names in comics!
Pros: A big selection of popular and classic Image comic books, new issues regularly added
Update: The Image web site no longer offers free comics, but you can still browse their comic book series at the link above.
Newsarama started out as a great comic web site many years ago. It has gotten big and commercialized since then, but they still have a good selection of free, full comic books online – so take advantage of it while you still can!
Pros: A nice selection of comic books (mostly Image), a decent viewer
ElfQuest comic books, which have been around since the late 1970s, have gone through many publishers, comic companies and series. This very cool fantasy series by Wendy and Richard Pini is available in all its glory online.. for free! If you’ve never read an ElfQuest comic then do yourself a favor and check out this site.
Pros: Every ElfQuest comic book… ever! Also high quality scans and a nice viewer.
The “Drive Thru” family of web sites have some great products for some great prices – and their comic store is no exception! They have loads of free books to try out – everything from comics by major publishers to self-published indie books. Just create an account and download to your heart’s content!
Pros: A huge selection of books, a wide variety of comics, downloads come in PDF format
This was one of the original sites for free Golden Age comics. But after changing management and some questionable decisions the site nearly went under. Now it is back with all kinds of goodies for you to download – check it out!
Pros: A huge selection of public domain books and magazines, non-English books, can read online or download
** Special Bonus **
I like reading free, online comic books too, so be sure to check out my reviews of free and online comic books. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a great book to read which you might have overlooked!
Do you know of some other sites that aren’t on my list? If so then please leave a comment and tell us about it – then we can all benefit!
* What determined if a site made my list or not? It’s no big secret – mostly I was looking for sites that I liked and wanted to return to again and again. Here are the criteria I used (for the most part) when searching for the best web sites to read free and online comic books:
1) The ability to read the whole comic book – not just a preview. 2) It had to be free. 3) I wanted the ability to browse the site’s comic books and search for specific ones. 4) It couldn’t be a den of illegal thievery – it had to be a legal site. 5) The site needed to focus mostly on comic books – not comic strips, movies or anything else. 6) I wanted the site to be easy to navigate and use. 7) I looked for sites that were relatively safe for kids to use. 8) It needed to have a wide variety of comic book genres. 9) It had to still be an active site. 10) I wanted the site to have a lot of comic books. 11) The site needed to have real comic books – not someone’s personal comic project or online portfolio