Bottom line: Comics Head is (still) an excellent, detailed comic book builder for older elementary aged kids. It can give a voice to their creativity in ways that traditional writing apps don’t allow.
If you’d like to purchase Comics Head ($4.99 iPad), please use the handy link provided.
No ads or in-app purchases, but there are external links that have to be protected in the parent’s section.
Some users might not realize it, but (good) app developers are constantly making improvements and upgrades to their apps. And then sometimes we at SAFK are asked to update a previous review to reflect any changes that have been made over the years. It’s come time for us to update our original review for Comics Head (originally reviewed by Emily here, I encourage you to read it) and let you know some of the great things about it.
Emily’s review was wonderfully thorough and from an educator’s viewpoint. Not being a teacher myself, I generally look at apps from a mom viewpoint. Here’s a look at Comics Head now.
Comics Head lets your youngster build their own story/comic strip/graphic novel with a plethora of objects (called “assets”) in varying themes that allow them to set their own backgrounds, add a variety of characters, and fancy the whole thing up with props. Kids can start with blank frames (available in a variety of configurations) or choose a pre-made background to get them started. Users can build their own comics from scratch or start off with one of the templates provided. Personally, I found it easier to start with a provided template as I learned about the app because it was a bit daunting to put all of the pieces together myself at first, it really is just has a massive quantity of items available.
As your child builds each strip, they are able to manipulate each piece they add in. They can adjust size and position, and they can flip orientation to make them fit into the scenes as they desire. When a character is chosen, kids are presented with each of the “poses” that the character is available in so that they can choose the best option for their scene. Text can be added to word bubbles can be added in with narration for the characters and text can be placed in other parts of the frame too to help tell each story. Users can also drop audio clips into the word bubbles so that users can hear a recorded voice or sound just by tapping.
There are numerous ways that a child can save and share their creations. They can be saved in image format to share or as a template to use later. They can save their comics in and editable form to share with other users of Comics Head. You can preview an entire comic and save it as a video, which friends can then enjoy as if they are being read a story. All of these things can be shared via normal social media venues, but my favorite way to share things was to just save them directly to Google Drive and share from there. While all of those options for sharing were great, I think the best thing for me was that you can print things directly via Air Print. I love that we now have an easy way to share some of the things that my kids will create with some of our less tech-y relatives.
There are also some very cool editing tools available as you create that I was hardly able to touch on. You can view a page in “layers” and make changes to specific elements without affecting the rest of the page. There is a page sorter where you can easily swap up the order of your story.
I know I mentioned the massive amount of items and artwork available, right? You can also add your own pictures or things from the web. And the developer offers even more available for download (if your storage capacity on your device allows, this could add hundreds of more options for your kids to create with.) This app has some serious creative potential, y’all.
OK, for the negatives:
- I was not crazy about the fact that I needed to enter my email address and register to set any parental security settings. Some parents might not be inclined to do this, and then it’s pretty much just wide open access.
- I found the poses for the characters a bit limiting (which sounds crazy because there is a very generous selection). But I couldn’t find a way to make a character sit in a chair or lie in a bed, for example. Little things like that frustrated me.
- I was pleased to see that the developer had addressed some of Emily’s earlier concerns about things like terminology, and that now props are called “props” instead of “themed assets”. But another one of Emily’s concerns was that she experienced some issues with some incorrect autocorrecting, for lack of another term. I didn’t find any autocorrecting capabilities at all, which is really just the opposite problem.
Overall, this is one of the more powerful comic building apps that I have worked with. It is such a generous forum for kids to express themselves through, particularly for those kids who might have difficulty verbally or with the traditional written page. Though there is a bit of a learning curve, kids that stick with it will be able to design and create as many original stories as they like. I’m going to stick with 4.5 stars as a rating, keeping Comics Head as one of SAFK’s Top Picks.
Kelli is a little sad that the school year is ending for my kids because she can envision her son creating some truly spectacular and unique book reports with this app. But only a little sad. Smart Apps for Kids was paid a fee to review this app in a priority manner.