When you find a comic book on the Web, it’s likely in one of two formats: cbz or cbr. In reality, there’s nothing special about either of these formats; they are simply modified zip and rar files. The individual comic book pages could easily be shared in folders, but archiving them together means it is less likely that individual pages will go missing. For Linux users who scan their own comics for archiving and reading on the computer, or who are trying to create an archive of their own work, there are three very simple ways to create these archives for themselves.
If you are a user of GNOME or KDE Linux, the simplest way to create a comic book might be to simply use your standard archiving tool to create a RAR or ZIP file of the folder containing your comic scans. The scans must be ordered numerically, of course, so when someone goes through them with a comic book viewer, they’ll see the comic in order. After the file has been compressed as RAR or ZIP, simply rename the extension to cbr or cbz (cbr for RAR and cbz for ZIP). The file extension change is necessary, because it makes it simple for comic book readers to take change or opening those archives, where it wouldn’t be advise able to identify a comic book reader to open your regular RAR or ZIP archives. Once you’ve renamed the file, you’re done!
There are two other ways, which result directly in a cbr or cbz file, one for GNOME Linux and one for KDE. For GNOME, the tools you need are already installed. When you want to create an archive out of a folder or item (or items), simply right-click on it. On the contextual menu that appears, near the bottom, is an option to compress whatever it is you click on. In creating a comic book, you’ll want to right-click on the file (or simply highlight all the files and right-click on one of them.
In the dialog that appears you have the option to compress your files to any number of archive options, including rar, tar, zip, jar, exe and more… including either cbr or cbz. Simply select the option you’d prefer, give the archive an appropriate name, and hit the create button. When the item is done, it will appear in the same directory as your original file, and you’re finished!
For KDE users, a similar option exists, called Comic Book Transformer. This is not installed by default, but installation is as simple as installing a single item to your service menu folder, and a couple others to your programs folder (generally /usr/bin/ or something similar). Once you’ve done this, you can do things exactly as described above in GNOME Linux. Simply right-click on a folder, and you’ll see a pop-up menu appear. This menu actually offers more functionality than the GNOME version.
For instance, while it still can create cbr and cbz, it can also create a PDF file of your files. In addition, there are options for each. You can choose to create a grayscale edition of your comic (for ebook readers), and also have options for different size pages, again ideally suited for creating files specifically tailored to specific screens. Once you’ve finished, simply click OK to create the new file, and you’re finished.
Creating comic book files has never been an arduous process. The tools are right there on your system; all that’s needed is a little knowledge about what exactly needs to be changed around. But with the installation of Comic Book Transformer (or the contextual menu in GNOME), you no longer need to anything but point and click, then start sharing your work with the world. Simple!