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Brad Hawkins

WebcomicsPress: Comparing Webcomic Tools for WordPress

ComicPressSo a lot of you probably read about the hack attack on Karl Kerschl's site last week as reported by FLEEN.  Wordpress has come to take a fairly dominant position in webcomics publishing in recent years with good reason.  Wordpress is a fantastic blogging solution with an active development team and it's not a tremendous stretch to leverage it for comics.  So which comics-specific solution should you use for turning Wordpress into Webcomicpress? 

First let's see what is out there.  If there are other projects out there to include beyond what I list below, contact me.

1.  Comicpress.  Tyler Martin's Comicpress wasn't the first Wordpress effort. but it was the one that caught fire and is now in wide use in webcomics.  It's gone through several versions and now has a few add-on plug-ins for additional features.  Version 2.8 is stable and in wide use.

2.  stripShow.  I think Brad Hawkins' stripShow might have been the first working hack I can recall.  Currently, it looks like Hawkins is working on version 2.5, so it's probably a safe bet to wait until that next version is released to try it out.

3.  Manga+Press.  I know the least about this one, having not had a chance to try it out.  It also looks like the most recent version is in beta and the creator still working to finish a final release of what will be version 2.6.

4. Webcomic 2.1.  This project has been around for a bit, it seems to have been inspired in part by the creator's criticisms of Comicpress.

5. Comic Reef.  The very most recent effort I'm aware of seems to be a project born in the Webcomics Community forums.

What I think would be the most useful approach to comparing them is to create a list of features and see each package implements them.  Some obvious issues are how it handles comic images, navigation, themes... again, let me know if you have any suggestions for key criteria.  I'll be working on setting up each one of these packages in order to write up a comparison of them for later this month.

UPDATE: An email exchange with Tyler Martin clarifies that ComicPress was actually the first WordPress solution and that stripShow was a "fork" of ComicPress.

Comix Talk for Thursday, January 28, 2010

Heropotamus by Josh Alves

I'm on the twitters sometimes if you're interested in smaller, faster updates (also to be honest, I don't always remember to post here what I've tweeted). 

iWebcomics: iPad? While it doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as the Jesus Tablet, it'll do.  My quick reaction?  I think this should be an excellent consumer device for consuming media; I don't love the content-type control Apple has asserted over it's app store and I think any potential reasons for such control are much less defensible for a device such as this.  I also don't like Apple's failure to support Flash - this device should be open to complementary programs to the traditional browser environment.  I'll grant you that version 2 in another year will probably be a better deal but I think this product meets my imaginary expectations for a webcomics tablet.  Not sure still about the pricing but at least it's better than the pre-announcement rumors.  As far as comic apps for the iPad, it looks like Comixology got the first press release out the door.

Code: Brad Hawkins posts some details on what will be in version 2.5 of stripShow, which is a add-on to WordPress to run webcomics.  I can't remember exactly now, but the birth of the first version of stripShow either predates or is pretty close in time to ComicPress and has also continued to evolve - can't wait to see the new version. 

Act-I-Vation Nation: Paul DeBenedetto interviewed comics/webcomic auteur Dean Haspiel last year at the Baltimore Comicon; he just posted the video though:

Around the World in 80 Blogs

A lot of Zuda news at Robot6: an interview with Josh Alves, creator of the webcomic Araknid Kid (started at Zuda, finished at Sugary Serials) and the new webcomic, Heropotamus; and interviews with all of the creators in the January edition of Zuda (aka Webcomic Powerball).

Check out Growly Beast - a blog with a growing collection of interviews with comics creators including  Diana Stoneman of Sweet and Sour Grapes; and Kory Bing of Skin Deep.

This Day in ComixTalk: November 24th

Man, in years ComixTalk is like a tween now... OMG!

2008
We had an interview with Evan Nichols of the webcomic Dr. Eldritch.  Plus, wow! Jon Morris' comic,  Star Wars Versus The Batman.  And Bomb Shelter's Webcomic Idol contest was down to the final three.  (Doesn't look like Webcomic Idol is happening this year...)

2007
Von Allan's The Road To God Knows began its serialization over at Girlamatic.

2006
Scott McCloud's Making Comics was making the rounds; Neil Babra drew an awesome turkey; and another installment in the Most Read Webcomics Measurement Project.

2005
Nada!!!

2004
A great thread on how much to spend on making a webcomic -- how times have changed (or not) since then!

2003
Dave Wright's Todd and Penguin hits it's third anniversary milestone; an interview with Brad Hawkins and a review of his webcomic Monkey Law; and Dylan Meconis wrote a column on webcomic creator burnout.

stripShow 2.0 Second Beta for Wordpress Now Out

Brad Hawkins' stripShow is a plug-in for Wordpress that makes it uber-webcomic friendly.  Along with Tyler Martin's Comicpress theme, it's the other long-running project to adapt Wordpress for webcomics.  Now he's got another Beta version of what will be stripShow 2.0 out -- download it, check it out and let Brad know about any bugs you find or other feedback.

2009 Resolution: Let's Do Support for Webcomic Publishing in Drupal Right

I have been tinkering with altertainment.net to be my personal "creative" site (a slight deviation from last year's "about" annoucement) and in doing so - make Drupal webcomic-friendly.  Luckily it's almost there so I think with some pushing from me this could actually be a big year for Drupal + Webcomics.  I just posted the call-to-action below at the ghost-town-like webcomics group at http://groups.drupal.org:

Talk About WordPress For Comics

WordPress is a great blogging tool and I've seen two efforts to adapt it to comics (technically 3 as Tyler Martin has crafted two versions of ComicPress.): ComicPress and stripShow.

Looking Back Through 2007

In years past (2004, 2005) we undertook the monumental chore of picking out the biggest headlines of the year. This year, I took another swing at it. So without further adu, here's the biggest webcomic headlines of 2007.

If I missed a story you think was key to this year, please post it in the comments to this article.

The Webcomic of Our Discontent...

COMIXTALK

INTERVIEWS

BUSINESS

AROUND TEH WORLD IN 80 BLOGS

Catching Up With Brad Hawkins

There's an incredible wealth of articles in the ComixTalk archives: features and columns on craft, theory and business, insightful reviews and interviews with some of the most interesting folks in webcomics. We'll be taking a regular look back at past issues and catching up with creators we've previously covered.

Brad Hawkins is the creator of the progressively-minded, primate-populated webcomic, Monkey Law and the technical genuis behind stripshow the webcomic-focused plug-in for WordPress.  I caught up with him via email last month.

Updates On Entries in the Ill-Fated Webcomic Directory Project?

I built a "library" of webcomics and creators back in the fall of 2005 which I put into beta before realizing it was too much editorial work to deal with and the same information could be better provided through the community edited webcomic wiki - COMIXPEDIA.

Nevertheless looking back on the assortment of names collected (some from me, some sent in from you) I wonder if anyone has any significant updates on these creators 18 months later. Maybe we should interview some of them?