Comic Book Archive

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File Format
Name Comic Book Archive
Extension(s) .cbz, .cbr, .cbt, .cba, .cb7
MIME Type(s) application/x-cbr

A Comic Book Archive is a standardized way of storing and transferring scanned-in comic books so that they may be read in reader software designed for this sort of thing.

The format is fairly simple. First you take the scanned images of each page of the comic (usually in PNG or JPEG, but TIFF, GIF, and BMP have been used) and give them filenames that sort in order of the page number (e.g., 0001.png, 0002.png, etc.). Then compress them into an archive using ZIP, RAR, TAR, ACE, or 7z. Finally, change the file extension to signify a comic book archive:

  • .cbz for ZIP format
  • .cbr for RAR format
  • .cbt for TAR format
  • .cba for ACE archive
  • .cb7 for 7z archive

There are hence a number of combinations of archivers and graphic formats which may be in use, though not all reader programs necessarily support all of them.

While the format is designed for comic books, it has been used by the Internet Archive to store archived scans of various magazines. Their scans use TIFF format and the file size can be huge (gigabytes for a single issue); these might not load properly in a typical comic-book viewing program.

If all else fails, you can always open one of these files in the appropriate archiver (possibly renaming its file extension to fool the program or operating system into associating it with the correct archive format) and extract the graphic files, which may then be worked with using any program handling their format.

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