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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

When Stan Lee imagined the Fantastic Four in 1961, little did he suspect his creation would bring about a fantastic collection of comic books, movies, and TV shows that would thrill the world more than 50 years later. And beyond the books, films, and TV shows, the mighty Marvel magic has led to a host of mobile apps that highlight the exploits of our favorite superheroes. To celebrate Stan Lee's life and work, I've put together a list of apps for all us Marvel aficionados. This one's for you, Stan.

Excelsior!

SEE: 7 best eBook reader apps for 2018

Marvel Comics App

Powered by the folks at comiXology, the Marvel Comics app is the one you need if you want to own digital copies of classic Marvel comics. Designed for iOS and Android, this app assembles a mighty group of more than 13,000 Marvel comic books from the 1940s to the latest issues. You'll find all the major titles -- such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men -- as well as more niche series, including She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, and Man-Thing. You can browse the issues based on featured series, recently added, best sellers, and free ones. You can discover issues by character, story arc, and series and search by title, creator, and other criteria.

Each issue appears in full-screen glory where you can swipe from page to page and zoom in or out of every panel. The selections range in price from $1.99 for individual issues to as much as $19.99 for collections of multiple issues. To build your digital library, wait for the sales when the $1.99 items are chopped to 99 cents. And once you pay for and download an issue, it's yours to keep. No subscription required. Yes, there's still a certain satisfaction to reading a print comic page by page. But the digital versions are vivid and beautifully-rendered. And spending $1.99 for a digital copy of Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 won't break your bank account.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Marvel Unlimited

As an alternative or supplement to the Marvel Comics app, Marvel Unlimited is a subscription-based way to grab your favorite comic books. For $9.99 a month or $69.99 a year (or $99.99 for Marvel Unlimited Plus), you gain access to more than 17,000 past Marvel comic books from major series to one-shot titles. You can read issues online and via the iOS and Android apps. The only downside is that there's a lag time of around six months, so you won't find the very latest issues. But there's more than enough to keep you busy.

You can browse and search an alphabetical list of issues by title, character, creator, and date. You can add any title to your library so it's easy to access and resume reading. You can also download up to six comics at a time to read offline. Of course, since Marvel Unlimited uses a subscription plan, you lose access to your books if you stop subscribing. For that reason, I use the Marvel Comics app to buy issues I want to keep and Marvel Unlimited to read everything else.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Marvel: Color Your Own

Want to try your hand at being a Marvel artist and inker but don't quite have the talent? With the Marvel: Color Your Own app, you can bring classic Marvel characters and scenes to life by digitally painting them. The app is available only for iOS (sorry, Android users). Color Your Own offers more than 1,000 black-and-white drawings of Spider-Man, Thor, Dr. Strange, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and other heroes, with new pages added each week. To create your masterpiece, open a page you like. Select a palette of paint brushes and colors. You can play around with the texture, thickness, and opacity of each color. Using your finger, stylus, or an Apple Pencil on the iPad Pro, apply your chosen colors to each area. When you're done, you can save, print, or share your work on social media.

To get you started, Marvel: Color Your Own offers a 7-day trial plan under which you can use the full array of tools. After that, a subscription will run you $3.99 a week, $5.99 per month, or $24.99 per year.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Marvel Characters 2018 - Guess

Here's a quick but fun game that tests you on your knowledge of Marvel movie and TV show characters. Designed for Android, the free Marvel Characters 2018 - Guess app displays a series of photos of performers who play key roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Your task is to guess the character by tapping a series of letters to spell out his or her name. The game offers some fairly easy puzzles with characters such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor, but also tries to challenge you with such heroes as Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, and Daredevil.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Marvel Stickers

Want to add a touch of heroism to your text messages? Marvel Stickers offers a cool collection of animated stickers that you can send to fellow Marvel fans. Designed for iOS and Android, Marvel Stickers comes in a few different packs, each to the tune of $1.99. One pack offers a mix of characters from the Avengers, another pack from Dr. Strange, another from the Black Panther, and another from Guardians of the Galaxy. For $4.99, you can even grab an Infinity Wars Super Bundle that teams up six different sticker packs. After you download a pack, head to your messaging app. Tap the necessary icon to view the toolbar of extras and then tap the icon for the sticker pack. Browse through the images and pick a superhero to share in your text.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Marvel Cinematic Viewing Order

Since the debut of Iron Man in 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has exploded over the past 10 years with 20 films, 10 TV series, and lots more on the way. Watching or rewatching all the movies and shows in the right order can be a challenge. Here comes an Android app named Marvel Cinematic Viewing Order to your rescue. The app starts off by showing you the correct order to watch all the productions, not necessarily by date in which they were made, but by date in which the storylines took place. That means Captain America is at the top of the list since almost all of the film was set in the 1940s. Tapping a movie brings up a brief synopsis, while tapping a specific season for a TV series displays all the episodes. You can even check off a movie or TV series after you've watched it.

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(Credit: Lance Whitney)

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Takeaways

  1. In honor of the late, great Stan Lee, here's a collection of cool Marvel apps that bring your favorite superheroes to life.
  2. You'll find a host of Marvel-related apps from comic book libraries to coloring apps to puzzles to stickers for your text messages. 'Nuff Said!

Also see

Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."