How-To Geek

How To Read Webcomics Offline in a Comic Book Reader


Read a lot of webcomics? No need to stay tied to a browser to catch up on the episodes you’ve missed. With this easy trick, read them on the go on your phone, PC or iPad, with or without internet.

Comic book reader programs like Comical for Windows make reading loads of comics easy—but why not use them for webcomics? With this simple process, you can turn most of your favorite webcomics into archives of comic book reader files, you can store on your PC, tablet, or mobile phone to read in comfort and style. Keep reading to see how easy it is!


Downloading Collections of Webcomic Images


Any webcomic with sequentially numbered images will work. To see if your favorite webcomic will work, we’ll have to look at how the images are numbered.


In Chrome, you can right click an image and select “Open image in new tab.” In Firefox, you can choose “View Image” under the same right click menu.


The image in question will load in a separate tab (or in Firefox, in the same one.)


Fortunately, this webcomic is numbered with numerical images, so we can quickly download them all. Here’s how to do it in a few short minutes.

Downloading Sequential Images with Pilfer


Available for Chrome and for Firefox, Pilfer is a tidy little add-on that’ll allow you to download sequentially numbered images. If you don’t already have it downloaded, you can get it from these links:


With Pilfer installed (you may have to restart your browser!), right click the image, choose Pilfer, and pick a range of numbers that should grab all the images you need. In this case, we’re only looking for episodes 1 – 100, so we pick 100.


Pilfer finds episodes 10 – 89 and builds this little HTML page displaying them all.


Right click on the PIlfer page, and choose “Save As.”


Make a new folder anywhere on your machine (in this case, on the Desktop) and title it appropriate to what you’re downloading (in this case, “Axecop”). Make certain you choose “Web Page, Complete” so that it downloads all the images as well.


Chrome will download ALL of the images in a sub folder inside the folder you made. They’ll be laid out neatly by number.

In the case of this comic, you’ll have to sometimes download some images by hand, or restart Pilfer for any images missed. In this case, stories 1 – 9 are all numbered differently, and have to be downloaded separately.


How To Make a Comic Book Reader File


Making a comic book reader file is easy. We start by making a RAR file of our Pilfered images. WinRAR is a simple solution for making RAR files on Windows. You can download it here.


With WinRAR installed, pick ALL of your sequential images with a quick Ctrl + A, then right click and pick “Add to “… .rar” to begin.


WinRAR does it’s magic in less than a minute, and creates the RAR file.



Right click and clean up your filename, and while you’re at it, change the file extension to CBR, for “Comic Book Reader.”

(Author’s Note: If you can’t view or change your file extensions, you’ll have to enable them. Follow this link here to see a simple how-to from Microsoft to enable it in Windows 7.)


You’ll get a warning about changing file extensions. Choose “Yes.”


And your RAR file is now a functioning Comic Book Reader file.


You can now read your bundle of webcomics offline and uninterrupted on your PC, or wherever you go with any good comic book reader program on your mobile phone or your iPad.

Comical for Windows is an excellent comic book reader for those of you just getting started. Lifehacker has done an excellent (and fun) write up on going digital with comics, and recommends many excellent readers for nearly every OS and gadget around, including iOS and Android devices. Happy comic reading!

Eric Z Goodnight is an Illustrator and Stetson-wearing wild man. During the day, he manages IT and product development for screenprinted apparel manufacturing; by night he creates geek art posters, writes JavaScript, and records weekly podcasts about comics.

  • Published 06/15/11

Comments (16)

  1. MoonDPC

    How do you do it with dated ones (ex 2009/07/07/)

  2. Eric Z Goodnight

    Depending on the format, you might have to download one month or year at a time. And not every one can do it–Penny Arcade, in particular, seems to be set up to block this sort of thing.

  3. MoonDPC


  4. Lion

    I just notice the url pattern, fill in a number sequence using excel, copy the excel output to a text file and use wget -i

  5. mrkimhun

    i.. html -> asp
    html – asp image upload and flash to degin.

  6. jhorsley3

    This doesn’t sit well with me for some reason. I mean, it’s cool to be able to do that, but kind of takes away from the comic creator.

    Most web-comic creators have ads on their site and using a wget or a program to mass download all their comics to read later takes that revenue away from them. Yeah it’s cool to be able to read them offline, but this feels like cheating the creators out of what they do.

    Just seems like sort of a slap in the face to the people who create the work. I’m all for ease of reading a story and I agree, reading a webcomic this way is MUCH easier than reading it on the website but still feels wrong.

  7. Eric Z Goodnight

    @jhorsley3: I agree, to an extent. This is one of those things like Adblock that content creators would prefer not to exist. But it’s sort of just a byproduct of putting your work out there on the internet. HTG has articles lifted (read: plagarized) nearly every time we publish, and getting stolen work taken down is often a waste of time. There’s not a lot we can do about it that wouldn’t hurt people like you, the reader.

    I think as long as we support the content creators, it’s alright. Personally, I read everything as soon as it gets posted to RSS, but I rarely have time to catch up on some comics with years of history. I think that while, yes, I’d be dodging some ads, it’s going to make me more likely to be interested in the artist’s work going forward because I’ve actually been able to read all the years of comics.

    I personally think it’s more important to support artists by visiting them at cons, buying their books or shirts, and generally just being a fan and spreading the word.

  8. jhorsley3

    @eric z goodnight:

    You make a good point. supporting the creators at cons is always the best way to support them, sans sending them random free gifts. I guess in the long run it’s not that big of a deal and helps get the content out, that as you mentioned is free to begin with, and hopefully get more people to read it.

    I’ve been making web-comics since 2003 and I think that’s why I had the initial reaction to the post. I still think it’s a pretty awesome idea. Though this probably wont work for a lot of comicpress sites (like the ones I run) since the comics are not sequentially numbered. I would however just send someone the files if they wanted to create this.

  9. Eric Z Goodnight

    @Jhorsley: I honestly think that any way to spread content is a good way to spread content, and ultimately good for the creators, as long as their name is still attached to it.

  10. nonosh

    Mr. Goodnight makes a great point about spreading content without the web ads. As a huge fan of How-To Geek, I archive many informative articles as PDF files via doPDF software. After organizing the PDF articles in an e-book library, I’m looking back at these offline whenever my friends request some sort of computer help. However, at the end of my explanation, I always email them the PDF file and tell them that I wouldn’t know such tricks without the advice from How-To Geek. In such cases, neither I nor my friends visited the How-To Geek site — thus limiting the ad revenue at that moment — but I managed to turn at least six or seven people into regular website visitors in the long run.

  11. nonosh

    Question about the article:

    Must a CBR file be created exclusively from a RAR file? What happens when renaming 7-zip and ZIP files to CBR?

  12. nonosh

    Oops, I just found an answer to my own question (thanks to Wikipedia):

    Comic Book Archive files mainly consist of a series of image files, typically PNG (lossless compression) or JPEG (lossy compression) files, stored as a single archive file. The file name extension indicates the archive type used:

    .cbr → RAR
    .cbz → ZIP

    Very rare:

    .cb7 → 7z
    .cbt → TAR
    .cba → ACE

    There it is!

  13. John

    And to think that I used to copy all the links manually before converting it to cbz. Thanks!

  14. Archie

    I was just trying this out, as I was planning on putting some web comics on a tablet to read while on vacation. But the webcomics are displayed with adobe flash player, and I don’t quite see how to save those images. Like the comics from

  15. J. Anthony Carter

    Man, I don’t know what I would’ve done without the help of Lifehacker turning me on to Comical for Windows. I’ve already downloaded a bucketload of comics I’ve wanted to start reading but then found out I had no way to read them!!
    Lifehacker, every day I find something at the very least, interesting! And that’s not even counting all the useful stuff you turn me on to! I’m so freaking glad I found you Stumbling and signed up for your daily newsletter.
    It just keeps getting better and better!! :-D :-D :-D

  16. Ry

    this is very useful for people like me who have a very limited bandwidth and dont want to load the comic every time

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