Comix Talk for Monday, March 21, 2011

Have I mentioned the ComixTalk facebook page in awhile? If you're on FB you can catch up with just about all of ComixTalk through our page there.

HYPE: Lauren Davis writes about a new anthology called A Comic Book Guide to the Mission. It's got a cover from Chuck Whelon (see above)! and work from a bunch of artists local to San Francisco, CA. There's a review here.

INTERVIEW: An interview with Vanessa Davis (and pictures of her work space).

HYPE: I have often expressed a fondness for the BLOGGER character in Gordon's MULTIPLEX comic. A recent plot thread has main character Jason working for him and today's callback punchline made my morning (so far!). (NOTE: last panel of today is a callback to a line from the blogger's first appearance)

CODE: A beta release of a new version of MangaPress is out.  Haven't used MangaPress but it's another way to use Wordpress for webcomics.

IRONCAT: El Santo comments on a recent blog post about burnout by Chris Onstad of Achewood.  Has it really been 9 years of Achewood? Wow!


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Putting It Out There

Once you've finished toiling away on your first few comics, and you've produced a work of staggering greatness (or, at least, a couple of pretty good fart jokes), your next step is to create a home for them. Now, there are places that will offer to do all the work for you; Webcomics Nation is one respectable example. But, if you're in it for the long haul, eventually you'll want to set up your own web site. And the first step is selecting a domain name.

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Comix Talk for Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Intervention Convention in Washington DC

I really cannot believe THE MAN is making me work during the World Cup.  I think in the spirit of the World Cup, I'll just use OLE in every sentence today (sort of like this NSFW new sketch from SMBC Theater).  

I haven't talked about INTERVENTION in a bit — that's a new convention in the DC area this fall created by Harknell and Onezumi – both ubercool and long-time friends of ComixTalk.  This looks more and more fun as it develops.  They just opened up registration for Artist Alley — you have until June 18th to get your application into for review.  The pricing (if I'm reading this right) is $50 for an artist alley table and you also need to purchase a con membership for $35. Total cost therefore for Con weekend with a table being $85.00.  As for me, I am going to be doing various things there in an official ComixTalk kind of role and will announce more when I get it sorted out!

Code: A link to a post from Frump a developer of ComicPress Pro for Wordpress comparing it to the Inkblot webcomic package for Wordpress.  I don't link to this to encourage any drama, but comparisons are needed to understand the real differences between these packages.  This post is purely about the number of mySQL queries which can be pretty important for performance issues, particularly with a site with a lot of traffic.  Frumph doesn't seem to have considered some of the cache plug-ins for Wordpress, however, I wonder if that would have any impact on the comparative number of queries per page per package?  

iWebcomics: So this whole Apple playing net-nanny with apps for the iPhone and iPad?  Well there's probably a valid concern over technical performance, Apple certainly has an interest in ensuring a minimum of glitches from its app store.  But content… there's the rub.  Apple CEO Steve Jobs said recently that the iPad offered "…freedom from porn."  Well is this porn?  On the other hand, for all of the fuss over Apple's app censorship, there is a completely uncensored application on the iPad, the browser, and there are a growing number of competitors like Google who will probably pursue a more wide open approach to their app stores.

UPDATE: Brigid Alverson has an interview with the creator of the webcomic Ulysses on Apple's decision yesterday to allow the uncensored form of the comic into the app store (originally Apple had required significant editing of the comic).

Around the Blogs

FROM THE MAILBAG: I got an email from Gabriel Dunston who makes the webcomic The Pit of Despair.  He's got a video on his site explaining how his current financial issues are keeping him from buying art supplies.  Sometimes when I know someone (or have known of them) and they're trying to raise some money I plug it here because I personally feel like it's a good cause — either the person is in a bit of tight spot or it's going to lead to some great comics.  I can't say that here as I don't know Dunston and this is the first I've heard of him, but he's definitely working hard on his webcomic.  I didn't have time to read the full archives, but here's  the basics: a journal comic about a 20-something guy who just became a father and the art has GREATLY improved in 2010 over 2009.

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ComicPress Goes Pro

Somewhat like the subscription story earlier this year, the move of the ComicPress webcomic website theme/tools to a subscription model is causing some ripples in webcomicland.  Now available at ComicPressPremium, the new ComicPress 3.0 is available for $79.00Frumph laid all this out in April so none of it is a surprise.  My initial reaction to this is pretty straightforward — if Frumph wants to try charging, more power to him.  If people see a value in the offer he's making (which seems to include support) than it'll work out.  If not, not.  (Pretty much my initial reaction to Brad Guigar's taking behind a subscription wall).  For some non-technically-inclined creators I think $79 might be a really good deal.  But for others, maybe not.  Like I said, you have to wait and see how things shake out.

I got an email from Mike Jensen of the webcomic Lonely Fetus – he's clearly not a fan of the move to a paid model.  Jensen doesn't think there's enough differences apparent to the user in the new version versus the last free version and he also doesn't like the fact that you have to let one of the ComicPress developers install the new ComicPress for you.  You can read Jensen's reaction and a heated twitter discussion with a head developer over at forums.

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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.

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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.

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Updates from the World O’ Webcomics

Thanks to our current sponsors: the webcomic Please Rewind, and the Learn to Draw the Human Figure video series.  More sponsorships available – CHEAP! 

The June issue continues here at ComixTalk: an Interview with the creator of SPQR Blues — Carol "Klio" Burrell; an interview with Faith Erin Hicks who just won the Joe Shuster award for Canada's Favorite Comic Book Creator, an interview with Dylan Meconis, the creator of Family Man; and Dr. Haus reviews Gun Baby.

Digital Strips blogs about the release of Jerry Stephens' new webcomic management system – BitArtist.  If anyone gets a chance to test this out please let us know what you think of it.

Howard Tayler's podcast Writing Excuses covers plot twists.

Jim Zub has written a story for  the Pop Gun 2 anthology with artwork by Chris Stevens.  It looks awesome!

Could it be?  Is Caleb coming back to webcomics?

Funny — Webcomic Warrior Action Figures!

Lots of superhero movie casting rumors at Blog@Newsarama including this interesting bit that Robert Downey Jr. is in negotiations to star in DreamWorks/Universal’s Cowboys & Aliens, based on the Platinum Studios graphic novel by by Fred Van Lente and Andrew Foley, from an idea by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.

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Straub WordPress Project

Kris Straub talks about modifying WordPress to better accomodate using it for webcomics+news. Tyler Martin's ComicPress theme for WordPress was the first such succesful effort, but it has a few limitations: it only supports one file format and there has to be a 1:1 relationship between posts and comics. (If you can live with those limitations, however ComicPress works well).

Straub (from what I understand) wrote the update system for Blank Label Comics, so I've no doubt he should be able to come up with something useful here as well. Maybe if we all ask nicely he'll release his new creation to the public…

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Story on Chris Muir’s Day To Day

Tech Central has a story on Chris Muir’s Day To Day.

Chris Muir is a 40-something Florida-based industrial designer by day, and a cartoonist by night. Technologically savvy, conservative, and very much tuned in to the subjects that interest bloggers, Muir’s comic, Day By Day has become a hit in the blogosphere.

Muir’s strip has four central characters, although it frequently goes “on location” to the offices of the politician or media figure du jour. It combines the political feel of Doonesbury (although from the other side of the political aisle) with the office atmosphere of Dilbert. Continue Reading