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Cool Banners, Bad Comics.

This is just a comment and not meant to slam anyone in particular, hence the reason for not posting any example.

COOL BANNER LINKS = SHITTY COMICS.

Because i'm so friggin busy, i don't get a chance to read many webcomics. Maybe once or twice a month I catch up on my regulars and if time allows, I'll cruise the net, webcomic portals, list sites, looking for new and possibly entertaining webcomics.

Having just performed all the above, I have to say that if creators spent as much time on crafting their comics as they do the art they produce for their link banners, the webcomic world would be a happier place for me.

I went through another session of webcomic surfing finding nothing of interest. I probably would have spent more time searching but I grew tired of clicking on interesting and nicely rendered banners to only find, once i've clicked-on-through, a bunch of shit.

Like I said, this is just a bit of venting and commentary. Have at it if you will.

One last thing.

Kudos to you nicely rendered banner/shitty webcomic folks. You made me click. So I guess you won.

AP. Furtado
www.01comics.com

 

I think most of the new

smann's picture

I think most of the new comics I read I find because I saw a banner with artwork that I liked. Most likely, if your banner is terrible, I probably won't click it. I think you'd be doing a disservice to yourself if you posted banners that didn't showcase your best work. It's like having a movie trailer that showed your average scenes.

The point of a banner is to get people to your site in the first place. No one stays because of the banner, they will stay because they saw something they liked on the site. I would guess that no matter how nicely done the banner is, your work is still going to have to hold its own.

Visit Mirror Story!

I've seen alot of bad comics

Eve Z.'s picture

I've seen alot of bad comics with cool banners, but also good comics with lame banners.

 Anyway, I think it's the best that banners are actually like the comics and made by the same person. My opinion. :)Â

Synthetic Life

banner

The problem is not the cool

The problem is not the cool banners but the bad comics.

If you have a really cool banner and a decent comic then maybe there's a disparity between the two but since the comic deserves to be seen, it was worth it.Â

 

I recently redid a lot of my

oolong's picture

I recently redid a lot of my banners because for some strange reason people weren't clicking on the ones that just had the title of the comic in a black and white font with no pictures, indication of the content or any other description. strange. guess i'm a minimalist.

they're all taken directly out of comic pages though, not concept art.

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I don't see how it is much

jfreedan's picture

I don't see how it is much different than professional comics. Most of the Marvel and DC covers look nothing like what is on the actual pages-- which makes sense because the cover and the pages usually have two different artists.

So hey, at least webcomic artists make their own ads ^^

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Deathfist Ninja GKaiser Anime Parody Webcomic

Henshin heroes, magical girls, giant robots bishonen vampires, and evil teletubbies-- Deathfist Ninja GKaiser will parody it all!

 

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Deathfist Ninja GKaiser Anime Parody Webcomic

Such a disappointment when

Kris X's picture

Such a disappointment when you can't click on a banner and get what you expected.

www.pocketkitten.com

Kidding aside...

LineItemVito's picture

All kidding aside, your banner is advertising, and all advertising should give possible customers (visitors) a good idea of what's inside and entice them to come on in. Malapro: Your banner looks nice, but I don't have an idea of what your comic is about or what I'll find inside. So in that sense I think I'm less likely to click on it.Â

-- Vote Vito: Line Item Vito

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Vote Vito: Line Item Vito

I really should have some

Molapro Andrew's picture

I really should have some art or something on my banner, shouldn't I? XD




It couldn't hurt you, pal...

Gordon McAlpin's picture

It couldn't hurt you, pal... :)

(I'd put my color banner up, but I've got a ... GASP ... black and white guest strip up right now. I wouldn't want anybody to think I was pulling a bait-and-switch...)

Multiplex is a weekly webcomic revolving around the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas.

Multiplex is a twice weekly humor comic about the staff of the Multiplex 10 Cinemas and the movies that play there.

My banners are the most honest

LineItemVito's picture

As far as I'm concerned, everybody's banner ads are false. Except mine.

-- Vote Vito: Line Item Vito

 Line Item Vito

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Vote Vito: Line Item Vito

I think Fabs has the best

Joe Zabel's picture

I think Fabs has the best understanding of my attitude, even if he doesn't agree with it. And of course I'd have that same attitude even if I wasn't editing a webcomics art magazine. BTW, I'm not a big fan of White Ninja, but I do understand it's appeal; and I think that appeal would be poorly represented with a banner ad that makes the art look all slick and well-rendered.

Thanks for the kind words about the interview, Fabs! Hey man, we've got to get together sometime after I move into my new digs.

If I click on a color banner

Joe Zabel's picture

If I click on a color banner ad and find a b&w comic, I simply don't read it. If you want to read b&w comics that advertise that way, have a blast. But I don't like bait and switch. I'm a sensitive sort.

Similarly, if you want to read comics in which the artwork is clearly not the best the artist can do (as with the drastic difference between banner ad and comic) then that's your choice. As for me, I prefer to read comics where the artists are always doing their best.

 

But it may not be deliberate

Joey Manley's picture

But it may not be deliberate deception. Excerpts of drawings can just plain look better sometimes than the full version (because, for example, anatomy errors won't be obvious if you're just looking at a small, closely-cropped excerpt of a drawing) -- and banner ads are small, requiring close cropping sometimes.

It's also very unusual for banner ads of any kind to be in black and white -- in the same way that it's very unusual for comic book covers to be black and white, even for comic books with black and white interiors.

I'm not saying you're wrong to feel this way. I'm just explaining why I don't!

Joey
www.webcomicsnation.com

You might be the exception that proves the rule.

Fabricari's picture

I'm not buying it. Attractive banners are everywhere. People are generally numb to the bait and switch. The ads tend to appeal more to the subconscious. When you've clicked an ad and you take a glance at that first comic, you're judging it in context of your total comic reading experience, I think, and not in context to the banner. Are you really that sensitive to the ethics of it?

I do agree that an ad with better art is creating competative contrast to the final material. And sure, it does stack the deck against retaining a reader - a little. But that's a chance that wouldn't have even presented itself with a lesser ad.Â

This conversation is quickly transitioning into the old "best work" vs. "best schedule" thread. Again, no right answer, because it depends on the reader. I think you, Joe - a man who is out scouting for the finest specimins because of your review site - is not going to be impressed by bogus ads or a schedule, nor have the patience to let a story grow on you if the art is poor. I'm pretty sure I recall you sayin' you weren't a fan of white ninja, for example. ;)

I'll admit, I'm assuming a lot about what you really think, but I just have my doubts. Either that, or I suspect you are the exception that prooves the rule. Fellow comic creators are going to scrutinize moreso than a regular reader.

That aside, I do know one thing - that interview you wrote with Scott McCloud was great!Â

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic

(click me baby! click me! oooooh!)Â

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

's kinda strange to put so

's kinda strange to put so much weight on banners like that. But people doing better art for covers than for comics is pretty normal. I dunno... It'd be like turning on a Calvin and Hobbes book because the covers were so pretty.

And I guess I don't care if an artist does their best work in a comic's art. For all I know they just have a consistent style for their comic with awesomer illustrations on the side or whatever. Or someone else may be doing their best but come out 10 times worse than them not even trying. If the effort they put into it is enough to make it a solid comic, that's all that matters. With the pace comics are made I have a hard time believing people are really doing their absolute best quality wise. A pro who does 20 colored pages a month may have little trouble topping the average webcomic's quality, but they'd have even less trouble if they only did 5.

But I am the opposite of sensitive I suppose. And I wish that I didn't think the best term for opposite of sensitive was "insensitive" because that term seems like it's for jerks only!

 

 

Kiwis by beat!

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

my banners are pieces of

my banners are pieces of panels cut out of comic pages with a logo slapped on it there's room and I rarely spend more than 5 minutes making them.

Clearly that means I make the best comics ever.

 

Complaining about color images in ads for B&W comics is stupid though. Might as well complain about B&W comic books having color covers. As a matter of time or print costs or whatever, some people can't make their comics in color. Those things tend to not be deterrents in making ads, so I don't see why people should limit themselves for no reason.

Kiwis by beat!

<a xhref="http://www.kiwisbybeat.com" target=blank>Kiwis by beat!</a>

Ethics, Shmethics.

Fabricari's picture

"And if it turns out that the banner which works best is promoting something that isn't your webcomic (as might be the case with Fabricari), you should do one of two things: 1) work on a banner ad that does promote what your comic is about or 2) consider changing the focus of your webcomic to what is interesting people to visit it."

Nahhh. I think that's backwards. I'm happy with the direction of the comic - otherwise I wouldn't be doing it.

The goal of marketing is not to change the product - it's to get people to notice your product.

Changing the product is business decision.Â

And besides, it's not broken. The false advertising is working. The question is one of ethics, not effectiveness. Of course it could be argued that changing the comic to match the marketing is just as unethical.

Is unethical too strong o' word?

Hey, this is a fun topic! Who cares if there's no absolute answer, right?

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Should banners better than

Should banners be better than the comic they're advertising? Yes and no.

Yes, they should be better just like a headline on a newspaper ad should be better than the body text.

No, because you wouldn't want to read just headlines. And headlines and banners are hooks thus different from the actual comic or ad body text they're promoting.

Speaking as a marketer, I spend probably 90% of my time when working on a page ad thinking on what the headline should be. Or, more accurately, I spend 90% of my time banging my head against the wall over what the headline should be. If you have a poor headline (a.k.a. hook), it doesn't matter what your ad's body text is since no one will read it. Sure, there is the photograph or graphic that catches the eye. But the eye then moves to the headline. If the headlines doesn't sell, the reader moves on.

However, the body text has to develop on that headline and in that context, your complaint is more than valid. If a banner ad misleads, it is the same as an ad headline misleading. The headline / banner ad piques people's interest and the ad's body text / webcomic archive has to fullfil on that promise.

And if it turns out that the banner which works best is promoting something that isn't your webcomic (as might be the case with Fabricari), you should do one of two things: 1) work on a banner ad that does promote what your comic is about or 2) consider changing the focus of your webcomic to what is interesting people to visit it.

 So the no smoking

apfurtado's picture

 

So the no smoking lifestyle has failed me, as I partake in some sweet, mentholated carbon monoxide. Ahhhhh, the Grim reaper smiles again.

Anyway, I think that this discussion is one of those things that it depends on what perspective you’re coming from. If I put on my webcomic-making hat, I see this as a no-brainer. The signature banners and banner ads themselves are our 30 sec. movie trailer. The name of the game is bringing the viewers in to our little world. It’s almost like a carnie barker at the freak show tent. The freaks inside never look like those spectacular cloth panel masterpieces you see hanging behind the shill master. But, again, that is the webcomic game. Now if I put on my two, maybe three time per month, webcomic reader hat…the whole game is just damn frustrating! Such is life.

So there we have it; no resolution, nothing deep…just some thoughts.

AP Furtado
www.01comics.com

All's fair in love, war, and marketing.

Fabricari's picture

I gave this some more thought. And, no, all's fair in love, war, and marketing. I'm sorry, but a color ad works much better than a black and white ad. A sexy girl robot ad works better than having my main character, a middle aged, blue collar, mechanic. And vibrant colors work better than the dull colors on my own site.

In the last year I've posted ads of all shapes and sizes and the one in my footer works better than any of them.

There are two fronts in the battle to market your site. The first being to get readers there in the first place. And the second to keep them. Â

Having a nice ad, is the same reason you wear a tie to a job interview. You want to show your best. Sure, I dislike that the ads don't accurately depict the comic, but I figure if they earn my click-through, i'll give the comic a fair shake and judge it within its own context. I think most readers know better as well.

Even if you don't put more time in each individual panel, you put a hell of a lot more time in your over all webcomic than your marketing. Your comic deserves the best chance for traffic it can get.

*snerk* the character in my banner doesn't even exist in the comic!! HAHAHAHA!Â

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Perfect metaphor, Fab.

Tim  Demeter's picture

[quote=Fabricari]

Having a nice ad, is the same reason you wear a tie to a job interview. You want to show your best.

[/quote]

Right, even if that best is a slight misrepresentation.

Some folk are going to see though that, some people aren't. Of those people that don't, a few may like the comic anyway and hang around, and that makes it worth.

Tim Demeter
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Clickwheel
GraphicSmash
Bustout Odds

I remember Joe Zabel had a

Erik Melander's picture

I remember Joe Zabel had a somewhat related complaint which was about black and white comics misrepresenting themselves by having colour banners.

But on to this topic, I am guilty of making elaborate banners as well. Well one at least, I was using one of my characters practising digital painting and the result wasn't as bad as usual and when I then needed a banner that graphics was the only one that didn't look out of place.

the offending banner

Somewhat unfortunately by the time the character appeared I changed his design to make him younger, doh!.
Nowadays I tend to use a banner with a more correct representation which has images taken straight from the comic.

//Erik Melander

Now I'm going to create my

mimo's picture

Now I'm going to create my banners in paint...scratch that. I'm going to use WORD.

Seriously, it's the same old bait 'n' switch advertising has used for centuries.

 

I guess my post did come off

apfurtado's picture

I guess my post did come off a little mean-spirited. Blame it on trying to quit smoking and a desire to be suprised by the webcomic world. Unfortunately, neither one is working out. Oh crap...there I go again! Foot in mouth

AP Furtado
www.01comics.com

Aw....

Sean C's picture

Oh, Furtatdo, you fickle sourpuss...Why you gotta be so meeeean?

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. See my stuff at http://www.cuteninjagirls.com

Don't hesitate to procrastinate. My brand new comic: http://cain.bombsheltercomics.com

Catch-22 of advertising.

RemusShepherd's picture

Terrific. Now you're making me feel bad for having cool banners. ;)

Seriously, it seems that you're creating a catch-22 for webcomic advertising, Furtado. Either a creator puts their best work into a banner in hopes it will attract more eyeballs, or they put up a crappy banner to use the reverse psychology snag on jaded people like you.

If it's all the same, I'll continue putting up the best banners I can. The comic sells on its story, anyway. :)

 

...

 

 ...

Never judge a book ...

I can only sympathise. There are some great looking banners out there, many of which are fronting some pretty shoddy work.

Shame though it is, though, as a practice it isn't really any different from any other medium. Print comics often boast superior cover art which, once opened, have been drawn by someone totally different and who clearly possesses only the tiniest fraction of the cover artist's talent (or, more generously, time).

Similarly, the most poorly written novels often have great eye-catching cover designs and, as Joel says above, movie trailers invariably make a movie seem better than it really is.

The answer, it seems to me, is to read only those webcomics that don't have banners. Like mine. Laughing

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Neh. Save it for the cool

Joel Fagin's picture

Neh. Save it for the cool movie trailers with dumb movies attached. You have to pay for them.

- Joel Fagin

 Webcomic Tutorials

I win! I win!

Fabricari's picture

Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk ComicFabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk ComicFabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk ComicFabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk ComicFabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic

 

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison
Fabricari, Sexy, Violent, Cyberpunk Comic

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison