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Stuff for making webcomics

Will Wacom Inkling Replace the Scanner?

By now I'm sure you've seen announcements of the new WACOM INKLING product -- sure does look cool doesn't it? 

Best Webcomic Hosting Options?

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?

Whining about Wibiya: Some Persistent Utility Bar Alternatives

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.

Statistical Differences: Can You Trust Project Wonderful?

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. 

Now everyone says not all statistic solutions are created equal and in particular Project Wonderful’s free and open statistics are looked down on.  So I’ve been wondering, is this actually fair?   So let’s compare the three big ways that people check their statistics on webcomics.  Project Wonderful, Google Analytics and AWstats.  Now each Project Wonderful tracks hits to their ad box, Google Analytics uses javascript and AWstats records each bit your server sends out.  

Comix Talk for Monday, June 14, 2010

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.

TOOLS:  Speaking of webcomic wordpress solutions: Webcomic CMS is moving from 2.1 to 3.0 very soon.  There's a new site close to launching and a video on upgrading already out.

GUESTASTIC: Guilded Age is looking for a few good guest comics from its fans.  Due by June 24th.

AROUND THE BLOGS

FROM THE MAILBAG

  • I got an email from Josiah Golojuh about 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.
  • 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...

Overview of Small Screen Comics Apps

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...

BUY BUY BUY

The comic is here and available. Go to the website now and buy your own copy of skits.Dont forget the special edition signed with a drawing by me. Each one custom done.

Make Comics Online With Comicbrush

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.

Whole Lotta Webcomic Stuff Goin' On

MILESTONES
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.

BOO!
Sean Kleefeld talks up the horror-themed collective of webcomics, Split Lip.

TOOLS
The US Daily reports on two "comics" creation tools: "My Comic Book Creator" and "Comic Life".

INTERVIEWS

REVIEWS

BUSINESS
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...

MOVIE MAYHEM
Reuben Bolling on watching a preview of The Watchmen movie:

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.

Happy Happy July July!

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.