So I'm scanning through the update notes, and they mostly look like some new minor functionality that I have no interest in -- a cover browser, parental controls, and the like. But the last update caught my eye:
Comics: Comic books can now be read with Kindle Panel View, which allows you to read a comic book panel by panel.Previously, comics would display one page at a time over the whole screen, with no real ability to zoom in. The high resolution of the screen often made the text surprisingly clear, but a traditional comics page, shrank down, still got pretty small. So the promise of a panel-by-panel display option is enticing.
The first interesting thing I noticed was that this didn't seem to be a function inherent in the comics themselves. That is, it didn't require any additional effort on the publisher's part; the programming seemed to be running automatically from Amazon's end. As far as I can tell -- and mind you, this is only based on my experiments from this evening -- Amazon seems to written some software that looks at a comics page, analyzes how the page is constructed visually, and dynamically creates a series of zoomed-in images based on the panel flow. I saw this because this new option seems to be available retroactively to comics I had looked at some months ago. It's possible, of course, that functionality was being touted to publishers before they could see it fully in use, and I was unaware of that, but I don't believe that to be the case given what I've read on converting comics into a Kindle format.
Now, with the comics I tried, the results were mixed. Comics that followed the classic pattern of white gutters with a good amount of space between panels seemed to run pretty smoothly. Comics that utilized more creative panel structures -- for example, this type of thing...
Despite some of the problems, though, it's really kind of remarkable that it works. I suspect you'd have very few problems with any Golden Age material, and probably most of Silver Age stuff would be fine as well. I've largely avoided reading comics on my Kindle thus far because of the legibility issue mainly, but with this option now on the table, I definitely have a greater liklihood of picking up some actual comics to read as well.