ComixTalk will have a couple of quiet weeks to end the year. Posting will be sporadic while I hibernate (and possibly plan for new things to try on this site next year). In the meantime, read the ComixTalk 2010 Roundtable article; vote on how you read and track webcomics; and write up a post about how your decade (around 2000-2010) in webcomics and let me know so I can add it to this post.
Also it's been awhile since we've had a useful discussion on webhosting for webcomics. I really lucked out this year finding Orange Fort — it's been a pretty uneventful year for me hosting-wise (which is what you want!) (I don't know if OF is taking on new clients but I would highly recommend them if they are). I also still have a Dreamhost account which actually works just fine (although I've had issues with Drupal on Dreamhost in the past) but I use it really more for backup and experimenting. So what recommendations would you give for webhosting? Has your host been awesome? Awesomely bad?
The Wibiya bar made quite a splash with many webcomic creators and it seems everyone has an opinion on it. I was of the mind that it could be a fad, but was talked into adding it to Walking the Lethe (frequently NSFW) by Dan, the author, anyway. We're moderately happy with it. After reading the fallout from Wibiya’s presence in the webcomics world, I found there are really 2 major complaints: 1) the pop-up is annoying, and 2) the bar makes the page shorter. With that in mind, I went hunting for a couple persistent bar tools to address these issues.
I’m a total statistic junkie. I admit it. I’m one of the stupid people who will refresh my stats a half million times a day and I get very frustrated when Google Analytics lags on me.
What is this WORLD CUP you speak of? Sorry England, maybe you ought to play a few sports with your hands now and then…
HYPEY McHYPE: This week is the launch of The Gutters, the third webcomic from creator Ryan Sohmer. He's writing this one with collaborator Lar De Souza acting as art director supervising a rotating roster of artists. Ed Ryzowski is the colorist. The whole superhero genre is perhaps too easy a target for another parody/comedy comic but it's off to a great start with the first one. Updates three times a week.
GUESTASTIC: Guilded Age is looking for a few good guest comics from its fans. Due by June 24th.
AROUND THE BLOGS
- The Comic Riffs blog comments on a Calvin Minus Hobbes effort (a la Garfield Minus Garfield) — verdict? too sad.
- Steampunk Costume blog recommends the webcomic Virtuoso, "an awesome steampunk webcomic" set in Africa. The story is created and written by Jon Munger, and drawn by artist Krista Brennan. Virtuoso is an alternate history of an Africa that never existed, one run by steel and springs, commanded by vast matriarchies and past the height of its culture.
FROM THE MAILBAG
- I got an email from Graphation, a film festival built around the idea that the winner gets their film turned into a graphic novel to be published by IDW. At least I'm pretty sure that's what's going on. It does seem… backwards as most of the time film is pillaging comics for projects these days. about
- Got an email from Tom Sexton, creator of the webcomic Folly and Innovation. The art is… not great. A lot of the problems with the art could be fixed though — the creator could try varying the line thicknesses in the work, and experiment with his production process, part of the problem is a kind of poorly-scanned look on the monitor. Basically practice, practice, practice. There are some funny comics in the archives, I especially liked Awkward Speed Dating, Arguing on the Internet, Judging a Book By Its Cover, That Milkshake Song, and there were a few others that elicited a half-chuckle. There were also a lot that just missed for me. But if this were one of those contest reality shows, I think I'd say "Tom, there's something there, but you need to step up your game next week… or you're getting CHOPPED." Well if this was one of those Food network contest reality shows…
Over at BleedingCool.com Rich Johnson reviews all (most?) of the applications for reading comics on small screens like mobile phones. Good overview of what’s out there…
This article was originally published on webcomics.com in 2008.
When reviewing reader applications for online comics, I was struck by just how much effort Marvel put into solving the problem of presenting vertically oriented comics on a horizontal screen. With multiple layout options, including full page, double page, various zooms, and their elaborate Smart Panels solution, Marvel’s designers might be a bit overly concerned with this problem; after all, most readers don’t get up in arms over vertical scrolls these days. But I do have to admit, it really would be nicer to be able to see a full page of art at a readable size, rather than having to choose between full pages with illegibly small text, or readable text on incomplete pages.
Still, after reviewing five different comics readers, all of which attempt to address this issue to one extent or another, none entirely satisfactorily, I can’t help thinking that the final answer to this issue won’t be new software, but rather new hardware.
Tim Demeter is a cartoonist and the editor* of the anthology site, Graphic Smash. More recently he's been the Editor-in-Chief of Clickwheel, a site that publishes comics for the iPhone/iPod format. Now he's leading the roll out of Comicbrush, a website designed for anyone to create comics from its online toolset.
I've gotten a chance to play around with ComicBrush since it was in beta and it's a pretty fun tool to use. It's certainly not going to replace the toolset of many skilled and successful creators but it should be a solid platform for a lot of people with an interest in making comics to do so easily and quickly and post them into a community that can provide feedback.
Berke Breathed is bailing on the funny pages again. NPR reports on Opus leaving the newspapers right around this year’s election. Breathed says he will focus on children’s books. I loved Bloom County growing up but to be honest haven’t been that enraptured by the two sequel strips.
- Tim O’Shea interviews Paul Sizer about his new comic BPM. BPM has a webcomic preview up here.
- ComicMix interviews Johnny Zito and Tony Trov, the creators of Black Cherry Bombshells.
- Indy Comic News has an interview with Phil Foglio.
- Daily Cross Hatch has an interview with Kyle Baker and Mo Willems.
- Daily Cross Hatch interview with Art Spiegelman.
- ComicMix reviews two new print collections of webcomics: Basic Instructions and Nothing Nice To Say.
- Art Patient looks at Max and the Gorilla Squad.
- This Week in Webcomics looks at Jump Leads.
Sean Kleefeld muses about why one would buy the book after reading the webcomic? He kind of stumbles onto Jon Rosenberg’s greater theory of swag support: have a bunch of physical stuff for a reader to buy…
It seems that it was the success of director Snyder’s "300" that gave him the clout to reject the studio’s re-imagining of Watchmen as a War on Terror shoot-’em-up, and go back to the source material. Based on what I saw, it’s hard to imagine a fan of the comic book being angry or disappointed that the movie strayed from the comic.
AROUND THE BLOGS AND BACK
Chuck Rozakis has a column at ComicMix sprinkling a little bit of econo-speak over the fact that really good creators of webcomics get a disproportionate number of fans. It is a nice way to put it — in a world of access to all choices available most people will take the "best" option as opposed to a second or third-rate option and so if you’re webcomic is the "best" you’re going to collect all the potential fans (Hence the use of "superstar" in his column title). But of course, "best" is going to be somewhat subjective and not all "fans" or "readers" are going to be interested in the same things so it’s a bit more complicated. We’ve also looked at this distribution as a power law (here, here for example) and had some discussion of how the "long tail" of it can still provide opportunities for creators to connect with readers by providing a smaller group of fans exactly what they’re looking for.
Just checking in to say hi if anyone’s out there…. Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend in the United States and elsewhere. We should have some new stuff up here at ComixTalk tonight or tomorrow so check back.
For now I just want to flag this interesting article on a new flexible screen e-doohickey — the Readius — from a company called Polymer Vision. Basically too expensive, too limited (no colors, no graphics) but this is where e-paper stuff has to go – the lightweight and flexible, non-destructo nature of it — if it’s going to catch on in a big way. And if it does — this would be an amazing way to read comics.