Blog · Forums · Podcast


2/17/2007

Change in Banner Ads on WCN Free

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 3:37 pm

WCN Free comics used to have banner ads at the top (in the WCN branding area) based on which genre they were in — so that people could buy ads just on Action-Adventure comics, for example, or Horror comics. That is no longer the case. WCN Free comics still don’t have quite enough traffic for this kind of granular sales pitch (the vast majority of all traffic on WCN goes to Premium comics, like Templar, Arizona, which has roughly twice as much traffic as all 2000 or so WCN Free comics combined, and Breakfast of the Gods, whose comparative numbers are similar). So anyway. I changed it. Now you just place one bid, and your ad can appear at the top of every single WCN Free comic. As with all Project Wonderful-powered ad banners, bidding starts at zero, so place your bids now — you can’t possibly lose out by getting in early. Quite the opposite.


2/11/2007

DeeMan Loves Tooncasting

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:08 pm

The DeeMan has posted a testimonial about WCN’s tooncasting feature, and how helpful it has been for him in drawing in non-comics readers to his work. Like Dee, I find it mind-boggling that other portals don’t support this functionality. I mean — I even released the source code a while back, just because. Ah well. Thanks for the kind words, Dee!


2/10/2007

New WCN Feature: Inline Comments — Updated

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 5:57 pm

We’ve got inline comments at WCN now. This means that your readers will be able to post comments under your comics, if you choose to allow them to do so. They’ll need WCN accounts, but since those are now free, I don’t think that that’ll be an issue.

Comments have been turned on by default for all series. If you are a WCN cartoonist, you can turn comments off for each of your individual series by going to Manage Comics and then choosing “Advanced Series Settings” under the title of the series whose comment capabilities you wish to modify.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for spam. I’ve done some stuff in the background to hopefully keep it to a minimum — but with spam, you never can do enough. If you start to notice spam under your comics, I’d recommend that you choose the “Moderated” option in the Advanced Series Settings.

[EDIT] In response to the most Frequently Asked Question about this feature — and, really, I should have mentioned this all along — here’s how to moderate comments, if you’ve chosen Moderated posting:

1. Go to “Manage Comics”

2. Scroll down to the series title of the comic with moderated posting turned on.

3. If you have any comments awaiting moderation, there will be a link to go to the moderation console.


2/7/2007

Chapter 2 of The Vanguard is done

Filed under: — Victor Daniel @ 5:27 am

This is a couple of weeks late, especially since I’ll be putting up the cover page for chapter 3 in a day or so, but I’m letting everyone know that Chapter 2 of the Vanguard was completed… about two weeks ago. I took a week off and am now beginning Chapter 3. The last page of Chapter 2 is here and you can read the chapter all over from the beginning starting here.

This is something of a milestone for me, as when I first started this comic in April ‘06 I wasn’t sure I could get it past chapter 1, never mind this far. I’ve had the idea for this superteam comic kicking around in my head for years, but had doubts about my artistic abilities, my writing skills, I wasn’t even sure I could finish it even if I started. But it turns out that I underestimated myself-I’ve got more than 50 pages up so far and more storyline ideas keep coming. The hard part is going to be writing and drawing them out in a sequential form!

In any case, I hope you enjoy reading this comic as much as I enjoy writing and drawing it. Feel free to tell me what you think, either below this post or in my comic’s brand-spanking new forum.


1/29/2007

Push Spike Over the Line!

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 12:05 am

In case you haven’t yet noticed, Spike’s WCN comic Templar, Arizona is effing brilliant.

She decided to start taking pre-orders for a print compilation a few weeks ago thirteen days ago (!), with the understanding that she had to get to the $3000 mark in actual money before she could commit to a print run.

The telethon thermometer thingie on the top of her site right now says she’s up to $2991. That means she lacks $9. The pre-orders only amount to $15 each. So: the very next person who pre-orders a copy of the book guarantees that Templar, Arizona will see print.

Don’t you want to be that person? The person who pushes the project over the line? The one who makes webcomics history?

Of course you do. You know you do!

[EDIT]: And the goal has been met. I’m looking forward to my copy! How about you?


1/16/2007

New Webcomic by AP. Furtado

Filed under: — AP Furtado @ 1:52 am

I’m happy to begin 2007 with a brand new 24 page short story called TRANSIENT where I take a hard look into the great mystery that is life and death. So you don’t think 2007 is going to be a year of deep thought and inward reflection from my creative muse…there’s also a blue alien, a cosmic hippie, and a bit of cannibalism. It’s called TRANSIENT…check it out.


1/8/2007

Narbonic Retrospective Commentary Podcast # 1

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 4:06 pm

This is it! Narbonic has ended, but, as promised, you can look forward to six more years’ worth of Narbonic: The Director’s Cut, with commentary and other DVD-like extras. This podcast is one of them — a weekly conversation between Narbonic creator Shaenon K. Garrity and myself, hopefully with some special guests along the way.

In this week’s edition, Shaenon talks about how she feels about finishing Narbonic; remembers things she forgot to put in the text-based commentary for the first week’s worth of expanded strips, and attempts to pursue and intensify her pathetic little feud with myself. Also, we discuss my fatness.

Download the MP3 or subscribe to the iTunes-compatible feed!


1/6/2007

If you’re having trouble with WCN today

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:00 pm

There’s some weirdness at mosso today, where default indexes are not being properly and promptly redirected-to from /

What that means is this:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/ — will load slowly, if at all.

However, you can get to the exact same page quickly by using the full URL:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/index.php

I’ve asked my account manager to look into the issue.

This applies to any URL that ends in /

For example, instead of the usual control panel URL, you should use:

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/wcn/controlpanel/index.php

Since your comics’ URL’s all end in series.php, this problem should not affect those pages.

I’m sure this will get straightened out soon. In the meantime, if you have problems loading a WCN page, check to see if the URL ends in / — and if it does, add “index.php” (without the quotation marks) to the end, after the /

[EDIT —

Fixed now. For those who are thinking about using Mosso after I recommended it so strongly the other week, here’s what the problem seems to have been:

I don’t really understand exactly how the server cluster system works, but the problem was related to their dual support for Windows-specific and Linux-associated technologies on the same website. Apparently, if you’re only using Linux-associated technologies on your site, it’s best to make sure you’ve got the default technology set to “Linux” rather than “Windows” in your Mosso control panel, even though the Windows server cluster is technically capable of serving PHP, MySQL, etc. and the Linux server cluster is capable of serving ASP, etc. There’s some sort of workaround they’ve got going on over there for fully redirecting default index pages on the Windows cluster (where the, um, default default page names are presumably index.asp or even, shudder, default.htm) from / to index.php, which was screwing up the other day. Now that I’ve made the switch, the site is serving more quickly in general, even ignoring the screw-up. Also, the homepage no longer redirects from / — just display the index without adding index.php to the end, which makes me happy for SEO reasons (http://www.webcomicsnation.com/ has a very high Google PageRank, but http://www.webcomicsnation.com/index.php, weirdly, doesn’t). So. Anyway. There you go.

It’s really cool that a mosso account lets you play with PHP *and* ASP, MySQL *and* MS-SQL on the same site, though.

–]


1/5/2007

Bellen Snuck Up On Me

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:18 am

I didn’t like Box Brown’s Bellen the first time I saw it. The drawing is fairly static, and the humor is very dry. But since I’m subscribed to the all of WCN RSS feed, I kept seeing it every day. At some point, I started loving it. Don’t get me wrong: the strip itself hasn’t changed. The art is still static. The humor is still dry. Maybe I have changed? Or maybe it just takes a while to work its gentle vibe. I dunno. Today’s strip is a particular favorite.


12/24/2006

Minus World

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 12:39 pm

“Welcome to Minus World Game Studios, Inc. - where misanthropic, heartbrokwn bastards from all over the world have gathered to create overpriced gaming software for millions of whiny, emotionally-stunted morons with cash to burn. Have fun! ”

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/mudron/minusworld/

Too early to tell exactly where this is going, but with a creative team like Bill Mudron and Anne Maloney, here’s your chance to get in on something really, really good as it’s just starting up!


12/18/2006

Web-Based Drawing Application

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 1:27 am

I’m thinking of working on including something like this in the next version of WCN. Would you find such a thing useful, or useless? Keeping in mind that you’d always be able to upload images you’ve got on your hard drive, if you wanted to. Before you make a comment, be sure to follow the link and check it out. These things are getting much, much better by the minute — so if, say, Oekaki’s are your only experience with web-based drawing, you might really be surprised. I’m not saying it’s ready for prime-time, though (this one is in alpha). But as a tech demo, it’s interesting. And I’d really like to incorporate tools for actual comics creation — rather than just upload and organization — within WCN. I dunno. Maybe for WCN 3.0.


12/17/2006

Developers: Help Me Suss out a WCN API

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 10:45 am

So I’m thinking I’d like to develop a WCN API, allowing external developers to play in the WCN sandbox. Goals:

1. Inbound publishing hooks, so that developers of third-party content management or content creation systems can allow their users, on the “inbound” side, to publish content directly to WCN (in the same way that many third-party word processing tools can now publish directly to WordPress). I’ve been studying up on the WordPress API, so I think I can, all by myself, make this happen from within any content authoring tool that can publish to WordPress.

2. Outbound mirroring, so that developers can build their own hooks into their own platforms which look for and accept input from the WCN engine. I didn’t explain that well. Basically, when a WCN member posts something onto WCN using our control panel, I’d like for him/her to be able to click some checkboxes and have that content mirrored elsewhere on the web — whether it’s a WordPress blog, a static HTML site, or another webcomics automation system. WordPress and static HTML sites are easily — I can do that all by myself. I think. Mirroring from/synchronizing a WCN account onto other webcomics automation systems will be hard, and will require the cooperation of people developing webcomics automation systems. I’ll probably not want to work with them unless they’re willing to also incorporate item (1) into their systems, too, so that my webcomics automation systems and theirs can be used interchangeably to update comics on either site, or both simultaneously. This would also allow for cartoonists to migrate their sites wholesale to other services if they wish (keeping hosting customers because they’re “stuck” with you, having spent years building the database that represents their webcomic, is not an honorable way to do business, and does not hold the best interests of the customer in the highest position).

3. Data availability. I’d like for third-party developers to have access to public data from the WCN site, using a simplified set of SQL queries delivered via XML, without having to spider for everything on the whole site, filter out the data from the HTML, build their own copy of the database, and then run SQL queries against it (which is what they have to do now). Data could include: popularity statistics for individual webcomics for a given day or a range of dates; which comics updated on what date; which Swapmeet items in which genres were posted on what date; which (any kind of content) by (any cartoonist) updated (when). And so on. This would be helpful, I think, to services like Piperka, search engines like Google, and may even lead to new webcomics-related applications none of us have ever thought of. What do they call’em? Mash-ups.

Preferably, the API I come up with will be useful and general enough that other webcomics sites and services can use them — or use very similar ones — in the same way that the Blogger and WordPress API’s have been widely copied by other services and software.

The only problem is, I don’t know a damn thing about developing useful API’s. I do know that the nature of API development is such that any mistake made early on will be deeply embedded in the system, and uncorrectable.

So, yeah, I’m looking for input.

I’ve started a Yahoo Group for this topic.

If you’re a developer with knowledge of XML, REST, and API development, and an interest in building your own tools that take advantage of the WCN platform, won’t you join it and help me figure this stuff out?

Much appreciated.


12/14/2006

If you’re still seeing the “old” version of WCN …

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:56 am

A while ago I moved WCN from its long-entrenched position on a dedicated server at ev1servers.net to a server cluster at mosso. I forget how long it’s been. Weeks? A month? I dunno. Anyway, in making the move, I had to change the DNS pointer to the domain. DNS is the system that changes domain names (like webcomicsnation.com) into IP addresses — in other words, DNS is the way your ISP knows, when you ask for a page at webcomicsnation.com, to make a request of a particular server at a particular place. A DNS change doesn’t just take effect immediately across the whole internet — it spreads like a beneficial virus from one computer to another until every computer eventually understands the change.

Except that, apparantly, some computers aren’t seeing the change, still — especially those on a couple of college networks.

It’s frustrating, because this isn’t something I have direct control over. It’s just a fundamental part of how the Internet is supposed to work.

Anyway, if you’re one of the very small number of people who, when you go to webcomicsnation.com, are seeing the old server, rather than the new, you should go and read these instructions from Roland Barrera, my account manager at mosso about how to trick your computer into “seeing” the correct server despite your ISP’s failure to update its own systems. So far, the people at mosso have been the most responsive and proactive hosting providers I’ve ever worked with. Roland in particular has been enthusiastic and helpful. If you have need of the kind of higher-end clustered hosting they sell, I couldn’t recommend them more highly.


12/13/2006

The Long Tail on WCN

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 6:15 pm

Here’s a chart showing the relative popularity of all comics on WCN for one partial day (today, up until just about five minutes ago):

Does it remind you of anything?


12/12/2006

WCN running a little slowly today

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 10:14 am

WCN is running slowly today — first time in a while. BoingBoing linked to “Breakfast of the Gods” last night, which might be part of the cause, or it may be a larger problem with the PHP4/Mysql4 cluster at mosso. I’ve notified my account manager there, and mentioned the boingboinging to him — he’d asked me to let him know when/if we were about to have any traffic spikes, so he could maybe allocate more of the grid’s resources our way for the short term. Hopefully they’ll clear up the problem, whatever’s causing it, as soon as possible.


New RSS Feed for WCN Peer Reviews

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 8:20 am

WCN Peer Reviews are where Webcomics Nation cartoonists write about the comics of other WCN cartoonists. It’s a unique feature of our site — most webcomics portals and collectives have some passive form of cooperative cross-promotion, but ours is the only one that rewards cartoonists for promoting somebody else’s work, as far as I know. Over the past few weeks, I’ve strengthened this feature considerably, turning it into the primary navigational construct by which readers discover new comics to read. I have more plans for it, too. Expect to see more functionality in the near future. For one thing, I’ve just added an RSS feed for Peer Reviews, so that you can read them as they roll in, just like a blog.

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/rss.php?type=newreviews

Depending on what browser you’re using, and/or how you’ve got it set up, clicking the link above may cause gobbledegook to appear on your screen. What you want to do is get an RSS Aggregator — either a web-based on (like BlogLines) or a desktop one (Outlook will do, as will Firefox — I use SharpReader), then “subscribe” to that feed within your aggregator. No, it doesn’t cost money.

If you don’t want to use an aggregator, you can also follow the WCN Peer Reviews as they roll in, just like a blog, by visiting the Webcomics Nation homepage regularly.


Unknown Webcomic Calvalcade: Fite!

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 5:50 am

Following the story of Fite! is kind of difficult, since the characters speak in symbols. I’m not saying it’s impossible — and maybe the problem is just that I am entirely more language-focused than the average comics reader. I am one of those people who looks at the pictures to figure out what the words are telling me, as opposed to the kind who look at the words to amplify what the pictures are saying. But you know what? it doesn’t matter. I love Fite! for its style, for the colors and the character designs and the kineticism and the zazz.

The other day I was reading Ren & Stimpy creator John Krisfalusi’s essays on color theory and the greatness of 1960’s television cartoons designed by Art Pozzi — and it seems to me that I’ve found a great application of those theories here (I dunno if Luce was influenced by those cartoons, or those theories, or not, but it sure looks like it — the principles are all in place).

Which is all a fancified way of saying that this comic is just a lot of fun to look at. Check it out. You might like it too! Here’s a sample page, to show you what I mean. Click to read more:


12/10/2006

WCN Genre Banners Now a Much Better Deal

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 3:02 pm

Yesterday I set up some Project Wonderful buttons to run at the tops of the genre pages in the WCN Directory.

They only ran on the actual genre listing pages, not on the comics themselves.

After watching this for 24 hours (albeit weekend hours), and after getting feedback from you guys, I’ve decided to sweeten the deal. Instead of just running on the actual genre listing pages, the buttons will now also appear on the tops of the pages of all WCN Free comics contained within the genre in question. So if you bought a “Fantasy” button, your button will appear both on the genre directory page for “Fantasy,” and also at the top of each comic on WCN Free categorized as a fantasy comic by its creator.

These buttons appear in the formerly-unused white space in the WCN branding bar, and do not take away any extra space from the cartoonists.

They do not appear on WCN Premium comics, where the artists are paying for hosting in exchange for the right to control the banner ads on their own pages, of course.

I don’t know how many more pageviews this will generate for the people who have already purchased buttons, but I suspect it will be pretty significant.

Let’s watch and see …


Unknown Webcomic Calvalcade 12/10/06: Breakfast of the Gods

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 8:49 am

Breakfast of the Gods by Brendan Douglas Jones is a grim’n'gritty, multi-layered, high-concept superhero epic, starring beloved cereal mascots from out of our collective childhoods. Sort of like what Marvel and DC are up to these days, with their Crises and Wars and what have you — except with Cap’n Crunch and Tony the Tiger instead of Captain America and Power Man.

Highly recommended. Insert joke about nutritional requirements and daily allowances here.


12/9/2006

Unknown Webcomic Calvalcade

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:52 am

The most gratifying thing about running WCN — especially since I decided to offer a free level of service — is that I get to discover and read tons and tons of great new webcomics before they get famous. Here are some that happened to catch my eye this morning while I was doing some routine coding and maintenance:

First, there’s Tommy the Cat by Les Inkwell, which is in French Norwegian? Apparantly? — but that actually doesn’t matter. I don’t read French whatever language this is in, but I picked up on what was going on right away. I’m pretty sure you will, too. Have a peek:

Next up, Sacred Cows by SpiritPainter. It’s one of those spirituality-focused comics I mentioned a while back. The fact that this one has found a warm place in my otherwise crabby, atheistic heart, should tell you a lot about how good it is. Here’s a sample:

Even though it’s not a clip-art comic, Facts from the World by Karstein Volle reminds me of some of the best in that genre, like Partiallyclips or Red Meat. I’m not sure why. Here, have a look:


Teen Drama by Tom McHenry has the potential to be a breakaway hit, provided the MySpace crowd gets wind of it:

Nice Work by Geoff Grogan just started, but it looks really interesting, in that “lots of inky lines” kind of way. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself:

Theres tons more. Like I said, these just caught my eye this morning.

What are your favorite new, undiscovered comics on WCN? That’s what the comments are for …





Powered by WordPress