Digital HeroComic books are dominating Hollywood, and with both DC and Marvel scheduling movies until 2020 (and surely beyond), they're here to stay. That means more people who weren't particularly interested in the comics themselves are buying up volumes of The Avengers, Batman, Superman and more. But instead of paperback editions coming to the front door from Amazon, more readers — both old and new — are embracing digital comics to fill their collection.

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It's hard to tell how many sales digital comics make compared to their print versions (more on that in a bit), but the popularity is growing and it could someday be the standard for new-release comics. If you're ready to jump on the digital hype train, here's what you need to know to get started.

What Are They?

Fair question — what makes digital comics digital? Ever notice how tablets like the Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface are shaped just like a sheet of paper? Comic publishers take advantage of this, as it's the perfect size and ratio for a page in a comic book. Readers download comics and turn through them just as they would in a print version. In fact, some comic enthusiasts will buy a tablet just for digital comics.

Digital Comic BookWho Makes Them?

Pretty much everyone. The major publishers like Marvel and DC, of course, but also hundreds of independent artists create their own for download. That's why it's impossible to gauge how much money digital comics really make, because there are so many independent and freelance artists out their producing and selling their own work.

How Do I Get Them?

The major publishers like DC and Marvel have their own digital comics apps for you to download any of their titles, but there's no better all-in-one place to read comics from everyone than Comixology. It's a one-stop comic shop for all of the big names so you don't have to jump between apps, and it's available for both iOS and Android.

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How Do I Store Them?

The major apps do the heavy lifting for you. Just like Amazon, App Store and Google Play all keep your download history, Comixology and other apps let you download a comic as many times as you'd like after purchase. That way there's no reason to panic if you're reading comics poolside and your iPad goes right in the water — though you may panic over the iPad itself (hopefully you got AppleCare).

But for those independent titles, the ones that don't come from DC or Marvel, there's no guarantee the artist will give you another download. A backup service like Mozy ensures all of your indie comics (and the rest of your tablet) are safely stored on the cloud.

How's the Cost & Selection?

Most digital comic books cost around $2 to $5, and the selection is fantastic if you're looking for a popular series like "The Avengers" or "Justice League" (and really anything else from Marvel or DC). But if you're looking for the more obscure titles, you might have some trouble getting them from the primary apps. Luckily, there are tons of websites with legal digital scans for you to download and read as PDFs, but remember that you might have to store those on a backup as well, just in case.

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