Peter Conrad, alternative comic artist and creator of the popular “Stymied” comic strip, released an application called Zeenster for the Palm OS that allows users to read comics on handhelds. Unlike other handheld comics readers, all Zeenster content is free and bumable. A non-proprietary file format encourages individuals to create their own Zeenster content using tools available over the Internet.
Zeenster, which supports both color and grayscale devices running Palm OS 3.5 or above, has a growing base of free available content including Conrad’s own work, comics by Donna Barr, and non-comics content. Because Zeenster allows additional captions to be associated with the images, it is ideal for other purposes such as short magazines, brochures, or portfolios– in fact, fashion model Shari Eckert (www.sharieckert.net) will shortly be releasing a handheld version of her portfolio in Zeenster format.
Zeenster is a perfect venue for viral marketing, because users can beam content to each other. By including a URL in the caption content (available in Zeenster’s About menu) a content provider can attract new visitors who would not otherwise have found the web site.
Stymied has been available on an AvantGo channel called Sproule Handheld cartoons since its inception at the beginning of 2002, when it replaced Conrad’s single-panel cartoon feature. The Sproule channel has grown steadily to a subscriber base of over 11,000 subscribers as of October 2003. Conrad is also the creator of the
comix zine Attempted Not Known and a contributor to Modern Tales and several anthologies.