CBZ, the MP3 of Comics

Digital music and, more recently, digital video and digital books, have changed the way we consume media. Comic books are no different, and with the advent of tablet computers, digital comics are becoming more and more popular. If you don't have a tablet computer, however, viewing CBR (or their zip compressed counterpart, CBZ) files is as simple as installing a CBR reader and downloading your favorite comic.

Many comic book readers are available for Linux. A quick Google search will turn up programs like Comix, ComicMaster and Comical, all of which display digital comics quite well. Another search likely will turn up some free comic resources, like the one shown here: Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Takes of the Here and Now. If you miss the comic books of your youth, or if you still enjoy them on a regular basis, you owe it to yourself to check out CBR/CBZ files.


Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.


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Janne's picture


DRM free, Linux made comic books in cbz

Bryan Lunduke's picture

This is a topic close to my heart. I write "Road-Sign Hank and the Aliens" which is released (commercially) in DRM-free CBZ format. And has been quite successful. CBZ is, absolutely, a viable format for commercial distribution of comic books.

In fact, the art for the comic is built in Linux using Inkscape.

Books for real

Benz's picture

I can say that i am a geek, but i can't stand ready on a computer screen. Nothing can replace a real paper book, it's an elegant object and i luv to own it, so, on one side, all my music library stands as mp3's, on the other side, i only own books, no cbz or so

Recettes Thai

Unless cbr and cbz has some

Anon's picture

Unless cbr and cbz has some DRM feature, I see no reason why anyone should choose cbr or cbz. From my experience, all comic readers seem to be able to read regular rar and zip files, and seen no advantage with cbz or cbr.

That's because a CBZ *is* a

Anonymous's picture

That's because a CBZ *is* a ZIP file, and a CBR *is* a RAR file. The extension is changed simply to identify the file as being intended for use with comic book reader software.

What's wrong with PDF?

Janne's picture

I hate all these formats!!!

I use the GNOME document

JuanjoMarin's picture

I use the GNOME document viewer Evince for reading comics (CBR, CBZ, CBZ and CB7 files)

The other format

Nariko's picture

Don't forget CBT (comic book TAR).

No, it's not well known outside of linux-land, but some viewers do support it.

Yes, that TAR (tape archive) . . .


Anonymous's picture

"viewing CBR (or their compressed version, CBZ)"

Both are compressed...

No, error...

Shawn Powers's picture

I could lie and say it was a typo, but no, it was an error on my part. Fixed, and thank you. :)

Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.

Where to find legal cbr/cbz comics?

TPB's picture

The 2 majors seem to want to go with a DRM product.

From what I've seen, the CBR/CBZ readers are easier to use and on more platforms.