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A comic archive web server.

Project description


A comic archive browser and reader.

✨ Features

  • Codex is a web server.
  • Full text search of metadata and bookmarks.
  • Filter and sort on all comic metadata and unread status per user.
  • Browse a tree of publishers, imprints, series, volumes, or your own folder hierarchy.
  • Read comics in a variety of aspect ratios that fit your screen.
  • Per user bookmarking. Per browser bookmarks even before you make an account.
  • Watches the filesystem and automatically imports new or changed comics.
  • Private Libraries accessible only to certain groups of users.
  • Reads CBZ, CBR, CBT, and PDF formatted comics.
  • Syndication with OPDS, streaming, search and authentication.


  • Filter by Story Arc and Unread, Order by Publish Date to create an event reading list.
  • Filter by Unread and Order by Added Time to see your latest unread comics.
  • Search by your favorite character to find their appearances across different comics.

👀 Demonstration

You may browse a live demo server to get a feel for Codex.

📜 News

Codex has a NEWS file to summarize changes that affect users.

📦 Installation

Install & Run with Docker

Run the official Docker Image. Instructions for running the docker image are on the Docker Hub README. This is the recommended way to run Codex.

You'll then want to read the Administration section of this document.

Install & Run as a Native Application

You can also run Codex as a natively installed python application with pip.

Wheel Build Dependencies

You'll need to install these system dependencies before installing Codex.

brew install jpeg libffi libyaml libzip openssl poppler python unrar webp

Like Ubuntu, Mint, MX and others.

apt install build-essential libffi-dev libjpeg-dev libssl-dev libwebp7 poppler-utils python3-pip zlib1g-dev

older releases may use the libweb6 package instead.

Debian on ARM

The python cryptography wheel needs compiling on rare architectures. Install the Rust compiler.

apt install cargo
apk add bsd-compat-headers build-base jpeg-dev libffi-dev libwebp openssl-dev poppler-utils yaml-dev zlib-dev
Install unrar Runtime Dependency on Linux

Codex requires unrar to read cbr formatted comic archives. Unrar is often not packaged for Linux, but here are some instructions: How to install unrar in Linux

Unrar as packaged for Alpine Linux v3.14 seems to work on Alpine v3.15


Windows users should use Docker to run Codex until this documentation section is complete.

Codex can probably run using Cygwin or the Windows Linux Subsystem but I haven't done it yet. Contributions to this documentation accepted on the outstanding issue or discord.

Windows Linux Subsystem

Untested. Try following the instructions for Debian above.


Untested partial instructions for the brave.

  1. Install Cygwin.
  2. Install wget with cygwin.
  3. Install:
    • python3.9+
    • gcc
    • gcc-g++
    • libffi-devel
    • libjpeg-devel
    • libssl-devel
    • mpfr
    • mpc
    • python3-devel
    • python39-cffi
    • python3.9-openssl with cygwin.
  4. Using a terminal:
pip install wheel

Install Codex with pip

You may now install Codex with pip

pip3 install codex

Run Codex Natively

pip should install the codex binary on your path. Run


and then navigate to http://localhost:9810/

👑 Administration

Navigate to the Admin Panel

  • Click the hamburger menu ☰ to open the browser settings drawer.
  • Log in as the 'admin' user. The default administrator password is also 'admin'.
  • Navigate to the Admin Panel by clicking on its link in the browser settings drawer after you have logged in.

Change the Admin password

The first thing you should do is log in as the admin user and change the admin password.

  • Navigate to the Admin Panel as described above.
  • Select the Users tab.
  • Change the admin user's password using the small lock button.
  • You may also change the admin user's name with the edit button.
  • You may create other users and grant them admin privileges by making them staff.

Add Comic Libraries

The second thing you will want to do is log in as an Administrator and add one or more comic libraries.

  • Navigate to the Admin Panel as described above.
  • Select the Libraries tab in the Admin Panel
  • Add a Library with the "+ LIBRARY" button in the upper left.

Reset the admin password

If you forget all your superuser passwords, you may restore the original default admin account by running codex with the CODEX_RESET_ADMIN environment variable set.


or, if using Docker:

docker run -e CODEX_RESET_ADMIN=1 -v <host path to config>/config:/config ajslater/codex

Private Libraries

In the Admin Panel you may configure private libraries that are only accessible to specific groups.

A library with no groups is accessible to every user including anonymous users.

A library with any groups is accessible only to users who are in those groups.

Use the Groups admin panel to create groups and the Users admin panel to add and remove users to groups.


Codex only reads PDF metadata from the filename. If you decide to include PDFs in your comic library, I recommend taking time to rename your files so Codex can find some metadata. Codex recognizes several file naming schemes. This one has good results:

{series} v{volume} #{issue} {title} ({year}) {ignored}.pdf

⚙️ Configuration

Config Dir

The default config directory is config/ directly under the working directory you run codex from. You may specify an alternate config directory with the environment variable CODEX_CONFIG_DIR.

The config directory contains a file named hypercorn.toml where you can specify ports and bind addresses. If no hypercorn.toml is present Codex copies a default one to that directory on startup.

The default values for the config options are:

bind = [""]
quick_bind = [""]
root_path = "/codex"
max_db_ops = 100000

The config directory also holds the main sqlite database, the Whoosh search index, a Django cache and comic book cover thumbnails.

Environment Variables

  • LOGLEVEL will change how verbose codex's logging is. Valid values are ERROR, WARNING, INFO, VERBOSE, DEBUG. The default is INFO.
  • TIMEZONE or TZ will explicitly the timezone in long format (e.g. "America/Los Angeles"). This is useful inside Docker because codex cannot automatically detect the host machine's timezone.
  • CODEX_CONFIG_DIR will set the path to codex config directory. Defaults to $CWD/config
  • CODEX_RESET_ADMIN=1 will reset the admin user and its password to defaults when codex starts.
  • CODEX_SKIP_INTEGRITY_CHECK=1 will skip the database integrity repair that runs when codex starts.
  • CODEX_LOG_DIR sets a custom directory for saving logfiles. Defaults to $CODEX_CONFIG_DIR/logs
  • CODEX_LOG_TO_FILE=0 will not log to files.
  • CODEX_LOG_TO_CONSOLE=0 will not log to the console.

Reverse Proxy

nginx is often used as a TLS terminator and subpath proxy.

Here's an example nginx config with a subpath named '/codex'.

    # HTTP
    proxy_set_header  Host              $http_host;
    proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-For   $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
    proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-Host  $server_name;
    proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-Port  $server_port;
    proxy_set_header  X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
    proxy_set_header  X-Real-IP         $remote_addr;
    proxy_set_header  X-Scheme          $scheme;

    # Websockets
    proxy_http_version 1.1;
    proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
    proxy_set_header Connection "Upgrade"

    # This example uses a docker container named 'codex' at sub-path /codex
    # Use a valid IP or resolvable host name for other configurations.
    location /codex {
        proxy_pass  http://codex:9810;
        # Codex reads http basic authentication.
        # If the nginx credentials are different than codex credentials use this line to
        #   not forward the authorization.
        proxy_set_header Authorization "";

Specify a reverse proxy sub path (if you have one) in config/hypercorn.toml

root_path = "/codex"

Nginx Reverse Proxy 502 when container refreshes

Nginx requires a special trick to refresh dns when linked Docker containers recreate. See this nginx with dynamix upstreams article.

📖 Usage

Sessions & Accounts

Once your administrator has added some comic libraries, you may browse and read comics. Codex will remember your preferences, bookmarks and progress in the browser session. Codex destroys anonymous sessions and bookmarks after 60 days. To preserve these settings across browsers and after sessions expire, you may register an account with a username and password. You will have to contact your administrator to reset your password if you forget it.


Codex supports OPDS syndication and OPDS streaming. You may find the OPDS url in the side drawer. It should take the form:



HTTP Basic Authentication

If you wish to access OPDS as your Codex User. You will have to add your username and password to the URL. Some OPDS clients do not asssist you with authentication. In that case the OPDS url will look like:


Supported OPDS Specifications

  • OPDS 1.2
  • OPDS-PSE 1.1
  • OPDS Authentication 1.0
  • OpenSearch

🩺 Troubleshooting


Codex collects its logs in the config/logs directory. Take a look to see what th e server is doing.

You can change how much codex logs by setting the LOGLEVEL environment variable. By default this level is INFO. To see more messages run codex like:


To see a great deal of noisy messages from dependencies try:


Watching Filesystem Events with Docker

Codex tries to watch for filesystem events to instantly update your comic libraries when they change on disk. But these native filesystem events are not translated between macOS & Windows Docker hosts and the Docker Linux container. If you find that your installation is not updating to filesystem changes instantly, you might try enabling polling for the affected libraries and decreasing the poll_every value in the Admin console to a frequency that suits you.

Emergency Database Repair

If the database becomes corrupt, Codex includes a facitlity to rebuild the database. Place a file named rebuild_db in your Codex config directory like so:

  touch config/rebuild_db

Shut down and restart Codex.

The next time Codex starts it will back up the existing database and try to rebuild it. The database lives in the config directory as the file config/db.sqlite3. If this procedure goes kablooey, you may recover the original database at config/db.sqlite3.backup.

Bulk Database Updates Fail

I've tested Codex's bulk database updater to batch 100,000 filesystem events at a time. With enough RAM Codex could probably batch much more. But if you find that updating large batches of comics are failing, consider setting a the max_db_ops value in hypercorn.toml to a lower value. 1000 will probably still be pretty fast, for instance.

🐛 Bug Reports

Issues and feature requests are best filed on the Github issue tracker.

By the generosity of the good people of Mylar, I and other Codex users may be found answering questions on the Mylar Discord. Please use the #codex-support channel to ask for help with Codex.

🚫 Out of Scope

  • I have no intention of making this an eBook reader.
  • I think metadata editing would be better placed in a comic manager than a reader.


  • Kavita has light metadata filtering/editing, supports comics, eBooks, and features for manga.
  • Komga has light metadata editing.
  • Ubooquity reads both comics and eBooks.
  • Mylar is the best comic book manager which also has a built in reader.
  • Comictagger is a comic metadata editor. It comes with a powerful command line and desktop GUI.

🛠 Develop

Codex is a Django Python webserver with a VueJS front end.

/codex/codex/ is the main django app which provides the webserver and database.

/codex/frontend/ is where the vuejs frontend lives.

/codex/ will install development dependencies.

/codex/ will run the three or four different servers recommended for development in terminal tabs.

/codex/ runs the main Django server. Set the DEBUG environment variable to activate debug mode: DEBUG=1 ./ This also lets you run the server without collecting static files for production and with a hot reloading frontend. I recommend setting LOGLEVEL=VERBOSE for development as well.

/codex/frontend/ runs the development autoreloading frontend with vite.


🙏🏻 Special Thanks

  • Thanks to Aurélien Mazurie for allowing me to use the PyPi name 'codex'.
  • Thanks to the good people of #mylar for continuous feedback and comic ecosystem education.

😊 Enjoy

These simple people have managed to tap into the spiritual forces that mystics and yogis spend literal lifetimes seeking. I feel... ...I feel...

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