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.
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).
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.
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.
Somewhat like the Webcomic.com 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 $79.00. Frumph 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 Webcomic.com 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 thewebcomiclist.com forums.
So 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.
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.
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.
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…
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 →