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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As an avid reader of webcomics, there are a plethora of comic and manga apps on my phone. I’ve gone through nearly a dozen websites and applications, trying to find one that will allow me to enjoy it, as a rather broke college student. There are several wonderful places to read webcomics, but whether they’re right for you depends on your funds, taste in genre, and patience.

More often than not, an app or site will look great… until you hit a paywall, especially those that seem ridiculous. Some apps will try to trap you with single-time purchases of “coins” or similar in-app currency to be spent on episodes. This kind of app tends to be a good solution for those who can afford a few one-time purchases, but it doesn’t get you really far into stories. More often than not, I find webcomic apps like these will get you spending more money than you’d like to. Tappytoon (generally fantasy/comedy/romance) Tapas (fantasy, romance, action, and some free stories) Or Mangatoon (romance/fantasy/mystery, and a sizable LGBTQ+ collection) might be up your alley if this kind of system works for you! If you’re looking for something a bit more mature and sexy, toomics.com has those options for you, but make sure to turn off family-friendly to find them. Lehzin comics online promotes itself as being more of a  manhwa site.

Webtoon is one of the more popular webcomic apps. They’re frequently promoted at conventions and have one of the largest followings for this kind of app. Webtoon does have a feature where you can purchase “coins” for extra chapters, but what makes this application special is that it also unlocks (or the author uploads) a new free episode every week or so (per story). This way, readers can still enjoy the story without paying. Episodes of completed stories must be read using a “daily pass.” Finally, what makes Webtoon so great is its diverse amount of genres. You can find anything from slice-of-life romance stories that go on for 300 chapters, or you can find collections of 3 chapter short horror stories (if you’re a horror fan, check out Nocturn on Webtoon!) Not only this, but Webtoon has a great support system for new or beginning artists, so if you love supporting emerging authors, look there! If you are low on funds but high on patience, this is definitely the app for you. Plus, it has some totally free comics!

However, despite the allure of these other apps and websites, the one that has my heart is Manta. Manta offers a few episodes free to get you hooked, but a subscription of $4 a month unlocks every episode released of every story on the app. For someone like me, who has a little bit of money to spend on entertainment, a lack of patience, and a tendency to overspend on in-game currency, this is the perfect payment method for me. A simple subscription fee I can keep track of is much more preferable to randomly purchased coins that will run out, or purchased subscriptions of in-app currency that muddles financial clarity. Additionally, what may be a plus to some like me but a turn-off to others is that Manta supports primarily romance stories, especially romance fantasy (with several steamy options). To me, this is heaven, but if you’re more into realistic web comics, I suggest one of my earlier mentioned applications. Manta’s ads currently dominate instagram, and for good reason. Some of its most popular webcomics, “Under the Oak Tree,” “The Golden Forest,” and “I Choose the Emperor Ending” are masterpieces of art and story. I highly recommend all of these, but some of them address mature or dark themes.

All in all, the app store is littered with webcomic apps, as it is a fast-growing and easily consumable form of entertainment. As it becomes more popular, more sites and developers create places where you can find options that suit your tastes. While you might be willing to go the extra mile for an app that has the kind of genre you like, I’d say the most important thing is to weigh how you are financially able to support your reading. Not to mention, several authors publish their works on multiple sites. While I favor Webtoon for its diversity and guilt-free reading and Manta for its acute genre selection and easy finance plan, I promise that the perfect webcomic app is out there for you based on your individual wants and needs.

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Cal Lesser

UC Riverside '24

Hello! I'm a second year Creative Writing major at UCR. I'm a huge nerd who loves DnD, fantasy books, anime, webcomics, and RPG video games, and I'm a part of the LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent communities.
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