Not signed in (Sign In)
  1.  (9535.41)
    @alberto
    In Chrome/Vista, the first page loads but nothing else works.
    • CommentAuthorBerserker
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2011
     (9535.42)
    @Mark Seifert - The 'square' format surviving to print was something I was muddling over in my head after saying that...

    While working on square pages ( with whatever sized/oriented panels within those you care to use ) goes a ways toward fixing the worry of whether it'll 'fit' on any given device it's viewed on, a print version is necessarily going to be square.

    I wrung out my brain thinking of ways to fit such a book into a standard sized comic format in print - and all I could think of was adding bonus material or some similar 'extra matter' on each page to fill it out. While that would be a nifty perk for anyone who followed a webcomic through to buying a printed version of it, it would be a prohibitive and mind-breaking chore for the poor creators stuck trying to figure out how to do that. So yeah, square pages online is square pages in print.


    @alberto - Firefox/Win7 also directs from that link to a blank page template where nothing appears/works.
  2.  (9535.43)
    When I started to create Union of Heroes the page format was one of the first things I was thinking about. I decided to go for a horizontal format where you don't have to scroll to see the full page.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
     (9535.44)
    Tangentially; has anyone looked into doing comics on the Kindle? It would seem suited to certain types of adaptation and I can imagine something like Scott Pilgrim or Lone Wolf and Cub would work well, but has anyone ported anything or created original comics content for it yet?

    I've just got one, so am interested in seeing what it can do.
  3.  (9535.45)
    64k-per-screen limit makes Kindle comics difficult. Josh Fialkov did one, as I recall. We test-Kindleised a few things at Avatar, but it wasn't really working.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
     (9535.46)
    Fair enough. It's not really what it's for, after all. I suppose a generation or two down the line, with colour e-ink and heftier processing they may work.

    I got one because a Kindle and an iPhone with keyboard is probably the best manbag sized 'everything I really need' compromise, over and above an iPad or netbook, but comics are the one thing that combo still doesn't really do.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlberto
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011 edited
     (9535.47)
    Damn. When they say this thing isn't WYSWYG they really mean It. I made some tweaks, but It's still buggy.

    The biggest problem I have is I can't automatically shrink my images for the different resolutions and browsers. There must be a way, but right now I'm stuck with a 640x990 image size and the lettering looks too small to me. Running in Chrome&Firefox+XP, Chrome+W7 & Android 1.5.
    •  
      CommentAuthorNeila
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
     (9535.48)
    Manga sized stuff seems to work pretty well online, I've seen several webcomics that update 2 pages at a time, side by side, which winds up making the update more horizontal than vertical.
    I have seen some webcomics that just go nuts with the layout and you have to scroll down a crazy amount to get to the end of the page, but it works in a way, making the scene somewhat interactive. Those same comics are difficult to format for print.

    Black and white might be a good idea. I'm not super familiar with e-readers, but it should make the file size for pages smaller, if that's a problem with them.
  4.  (9535.49)
    @Alberto: The image not only doesn't shrink or anything, it also is cut off at the bottom. The second page shows only to the edge of the third panel.

    Personally, in a couple of weeks I'll be messing around with the Wordpress Kommiku plugin. Here it is in action (I probably shouldn't link to a scanlation site, heh, but that's what these things are mostly used for).
    This is the "series" page with the list of chapters. Once you choose the chapter you just click the image or press right cursor key to move to the next page. Simple, efficient, just requires scrolling down (especially if you go crazy with your header's size, heh). Works well whether you prefer keyboard or mouse navigation.

    And I'm sure someone skilled with some php or whatever programming skills could whip up something similar fairly easily so it doesn't have to be Wordpress based.
  5.  (9535.50)
    Funny, I'll be giving a lesson at Montreal University about this specific topic.
    If I understand correctly, the matter is about how the format is still paper-framed, more than taking advantage of the widest possibilities given by a screen.
    I think the format issue is still proof that Webcomics are made by people who want to print it and sell it paper-like. It is therefore limited by the printed format. Eisner and Miller discuss this format issue (you mention 300 in your Metro interview), as well as Scoot McCloud in reinventing comics.
    When you have a look at Marvel version of Webcomics, the best you can hope to get is a zoom-in version of each pictures. When you have a look at any E-reader, it's still designed as paper support stand-in.
    When I did my piece on Ghost Exterminator in your Remake/Remodel thread, I wanted to use a specificity of the web, in which you don't turn the pages, but you just scroll down. Mind you, it's still done out of paper and not widely original.
    The interaction picture/image is still being developed, but yes, we can think of another kind of interaction between the story and the screen. How about a Peter Greenaway presentation, with a story developing in one panel, but sliding in one way or another? I once saw a PPS slideshow in which you actually see the pictures evolve by only zooming-in and ending at the beginning point. So a story could be made this way.

    Here's my piece of thought. Hope it's not out of line...
    • CommentAuthorBerserker
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
     (9535.51)
    @Alberto - The pages load for me now, but they never finish coming up to full resolution, and each page at some point dissolves partway through into a blurry mess.
  6.  (9535.52)
    Aurora Borealis said:
    And I'm sure someone skilled with some php or whatever programming skills could whip up something similar fairly easily so it doesn't have to be Wordpress based.


    In fact Wordpress can be pretty useful as a framework. It's got built-in functions for dealing with the database, handling comments, categories, and archives, it pre-schedules posts, it filters spammy comments, and it's easily cached (with plugins). Your "someone skilled with PHP" can customize the living crap out of it, to the point that it doesn't look like Wordpress in any way.

    From where I sit a big problem with comics systems is that they use so little text that it's hard to get the search engines to understand there's any content there. In any other kind of web site you'll get most of your traffic from searches. But anything that's mainly graphics is hard to index and hard to find.
  7.  (9535.53)
    I adapted two web-comics to the Kindle: TimePeeper by L. Neil Smith, and The Last Sonofabitch of Klepton, a mini-comic I wrote and drew because I had an idea that wouldn't go away until I put it down on virtual paper. They seemed like good candidates because they were created in simple grey-tones.

    In both cases, adapting meant chopping up pages into one- or two-panel bits, and re-sizing the lettering. Quite a bit of work, actually, and not much reward. The Kindle's dark, low-contrast screen just doesn't show off art very well. Although, if one uses the Kindle-for-the-iPhone app, they look pretty good on the iPhone.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAlberto
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2011
     (9535.54)
    The image (..) is cut off at the bottom

    I know. It's annoying. The blurriness and loading problems some of you mentioned may have to do with the heavy image compression I used in order to preserve bandwith. I appreciate the input, but I'm just poking around for now. A few months ago I spent a long time looking for something like Treesaver, until I finally gave up and built a website based on Wordpress+ the Webcomics Plugin+Inkblot.

    Experiments aside, one of my biggest concerns with webcomics has always been dealing with a big archive and pointing new readers in the right direction. The classic "Are you new? Start here!" link never made It for me.
  8.  (9535.55)
    64k-per-screen limit makes Kindle comics difficult. Josh Fialkov did one, as I recall.


    Yup, Tumor-- which was fantastic.

    I think the reason Tumor worked so well on the Kindle was because of Noel's style-- hard black, whites, and grays-- Obviously, that's something the Kindle excels at.

    Interestingly, from what I understand-- if you were to upload a book to the Kindle service and use one of their "In App" readers (not reading it on a Kindle, but rather on a desktop Kindle reader) you would see it in color.

    Which tells me that if Amazon is "holding" your color files, a color version of the Kindle isn't far off.
    The 64k per screen limit? THAT might be a problem.
  9.  (9535.56)
    Which tells me that if Amazon is "holding" your color files, a color version of the Kindle isn't far off.

    Talking to Amazon, I got the impression they really want you to focus on the platform rather than on the device specifically. But with so many Kindles out there that bears some thinking about, and there are other technical issues to sort through. Honestly, I'd love to support them, though.

    I did notice they have a bunch of IDW stuff in the Kindle store now that I've been meaning to take a look at.
    • CommentAuthorjonah
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2011
     (9535.57)
    I just read Blueberry and it's style would work really well on the screen, especially if you cut it in half. If you combined that with some infinite downward scrolling java magic where available it would be pretty incredible. I'd be happy with 8 "panels" or 2 pages in that format a week. Although, with an artist like Giraud I'd be more than content with even just one panel a week!

    For anyone that hasn't read Bluebetty it's basic page layout is 4 widescreen panels that get chopped and exploded in clever ways from time to time. It's pretty text heavy, but then the scenic breaks they take are that much more effective. The layouts get slightly more fanciful as the series goes on, but as a reader there is something really satisfying about the early books that have more rigid formatting. It's really rhythmic and almost trance inducing. I don't see a lot of work in this format anymore. Is it too grueling or is it that it doesn't appeal to anyone else?

    With manga style I like 10-15 pages a sitting at least. It doesn't have to be all one story...
    •  
      CommentAuthorVaehling
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2011
     (9535.58)
    From where I sit a big problem with comics systems is that they use so little text that it's hard to get the search engines to understand there's any content there. In any other kind of web site you'll get most of your traffic from searches. But anything that's mainly graphics is hard to index and hard to find.


    That's indeed a problem, though I don't know how big a problem it really is. After all, if you google stuff you're usually trying to find information about whatever you googled, not necessarily a comic that happens to have those keywords in it. And if you're looking for a comic, the keywords of your site's more general pages will be a better place to start than a page that happens to contain the keyword you're searching a comic about.

    A lot of comic sites post the dialogue to every episode in the accompanying post, hoping to attract searches. (That may be good for visually impaired readers, too, I don't know.) This may work for cartoons and some gag-a-days, but I think it's more deceiving than not in a longform comic that takes a thematic detour for an ep or two. Plus, it makes the reading experience redundant. Actually, not always: ComicPress (or some of its child themes) offers a transcript function that hides the transcript like a spoiler text. And some comics, like Union of Heroes, hide the dialogue in the comic images' alt tags.

    I've got into the habit of using the accompanying blog post for additional information and stuff, although I'm not a fan of anything that interrupts your reading flow. But it helps make the site more search-friendly, and the searchers hopefully get something more out of it than just a mention of the words they searched for.
  10.  (9535.59)
    That's indeed a problem, though I don't know how big a problem it really is.


    I think it's a sizable problem: it's just that it's so universal that it's hard to see it. (I'm not doing a web comic site - not exactly, anyhow - but I have been building sites that are mainly visual for a long time*.)

    The hidden transcript is good, but it may look shady to Google because the big G doesn't like hidden text. Alt tags on the images are a very good idea; even better if it's an image per panel, but that's not very practical.

    I've got into the habit of using the accompanying blog post for additional information and stuff, although I'm not a fan of anything that interrupts your reading flow. But it helps make the site more search-friendly, and the searchers hopefully get something more out of it than just a mention of the words they searched for.


    I think that's your best option with the tools that exist: related text, not identical text, on the same page. This is all the bots will be able to see.

    The most SEO-friendly approach would be to use actual text for dialogue and narration (and an image per panel, with descriptive alt text). Unfortunately at the moment you'd be restricted to rectangular blocks of text, though with HTML5 we might be seeing that loosen up a bit.

    I doubt that many people would want to go that way unless you could use the same source material for both the web and print versions.

    *edit: I completely forgot that I did design a web comic site for somebody else.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVaehling
    • CommentTimeFeb 15th 2011
     (9535.60)
    The thing is, I'm just not sure if the dialogue in the comic should really be the text that guides readers to the site. This could be confusing, and frustrating to people who have been searching for information about, not illustrations of a topic. And you don't want the first impression you make on somebody to be a frustrating one.

    Let's assume you have a horror comic, and the monster is about to eat the hero, saying something like "Ooh, snacks! Does anybody have a ship load of guacamole?" This page would be entirely useless if you're searching for a guacamole recipe. So why have that word in the back end anyway? Aren't keywords like "man-eating monster" better?

    Yes, I realize I'm clearly overthinking it. But the point stands - SEO for comics may have to use different strategies than SEO for, dunno, recipe sites.