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Advertise on Graphic Smash!

Filed under: — timdemeter @ 10:53 am

Graphic Smash ad sales are now open for business, and are powered by the aptly named, Project Wonderful.

What does this mean? It means that there are ad slots for sale on the Graphic Smash home page, as well as ads that run on every free comics page. They all run on the Project Wonderful auction model, meaning the highest bidding ad runs in the slot until it expires, or is out bid.

It also means that as we’ve just started, ad space is DIRT CHEAP. The rates are going up steadily, so if you’d like your site to get a hold of the many eyes of Graphic Smash’s teeming audience, for a mere pittance, I suggest you click on one of those ‘Your ad here, right now” buttons while they’re still cheap.


Serializer and Girlamatic RSS Feeds are Fixed

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 3:57 pm

I mention it here because there was a link to these feeds for several days, but they weren’t working — which is my fault.

They’re working now.

Feel free to LiveJournalize these or whatever else you want.

Social Bookmarking on WCN

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 10:32 am

WCN now has built-in support for social bookmarking networks like Digg and Delicious. You can see it in action on my own supercraptacular comic, which only exists to serve as a platform for usability testing of WCN user interface improvements (if I’m updating my comic, and something about the WCN interface doesn’t seem quite right, then it’s likely that other cartoonists have the same problem — you know, the old “eat your own dog food” thing).

Anyway, I wonder why more webcomics content management systems aren’t making themselves open to outside traffic-building services like this (and why more webcomics-centric traffic-building services aren’t more easily engaged by outside scripting — it’s far easier to automatically post an active, “add this comic now” link to the superpowerful mainstream site Digg than it is to do the same for niche players like Is it a desire to hold onto the reader’s attention — and keep him/her at the one domain — at the expense of all else? Or maybe it’s just a concern that incorporating all the latest web-based doodads and trends looks gimmicky (I have a lot of sympathy for that latter concern, to be honest). Or what? I dunno.

I’m trying to come up with as many ways as possible to give the comics hosted on my automation/content management/hosting systems the best chance imagineable to build an audience, while, at the same time, avoiding looking gimmicky.

Any more ideas anybody can offer in this regard? It’s my number one priority right now — coming up with ways to make grassroots marketing/promotion of WCN-hosted comics easier and more automatic … I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Remastering comics

Filed under: — Reinder Dijkhuis @ 9:25 am

The remastered edition of Guðrún ends over on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen site today.

As far as I know, it’s still very rare for any webcomic to be remastered, though reruns with commentary have occurred in a few places. The medium is still too young. Guðrún was the story with which I finally got serious about publishing Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan online six years ago. But that doesn’t mean I immediately got it all right;the digital cleaning, lettering and resizing were done very clumsily and no high-res masters were kept from which I could re-do the work. So I eventually bit the bullet and re-scanned the whole thing from the original art. The new version looks a lot better, even though, in many ways, it’s "rawer" - there is less tinkering with the analog art than there was the first time around, simply because it’s no longer needed to make tiny scans presentable or preserve bandwidth.

I’ll still need to replace the image files on the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan site. To do that, I’ll go back to the master files, cut the pages in half and upload those half-pages at a width of 800 pixels instead of the 600(-ish; getting a consistent width was one thing I did wrong at the time) pixels wide images the site has now, so that the originally-intended presentation is left intact and any pages containing comments can be preserved. That’s a bit of a chore, but I’ll get around to it eventually.

Potentially the best thing about the project: I now have lettered master files that are suitable for print, if anyone’s interested…

Time and Trades

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 7:29 am

This is tangentially related to Eric’s earlier post about serialized TV dramas.

Many webcartoonists and webcomics-watchers who advocate for full-length stories, posted all at once, point to the print comics industry as an example of how to satisfy the reader with long-form entertainment. But I’m finding that the most difficult thing about being a print “comics fan” is the vast amount of time I have to wait between starting a story and finishing it. And, no, “waiting for the trade” doesn’t necessarily solve this problem, since most comics stories are serialized across several volumes even when collected into book-form. And, again, I’m not just talking about franchise-driven genre entertainments. For example, Clyde Fans by Seth was one of my favorite “graphic novels” of last year. But unlike a “real novel,” the story stops on an emotional cliffhanger on the last page — just stops. When will the second half come out? Having a look at Seth’s publishing history, I’m guessing it’ll be years from now. On the other end of the highbrow/lowbrow divide, I lost interest in Grant Morrison’s 7 Soldiers four or five months ago, after the third trade paperback. I’ve now spent about $60 on this story, and have been waiting for the end of the story (the final $20 installment) for about a year now (ever since I finished the first volume and wanted, instead, to finish the whole thing). It’s not that I’m angry. I’m not. I’m just … well, less interested than I was before. In both of these comics. And I’m hesitant to pick up any more serialized storylines that I’m going to have to carry around in my head for a half-decade or so before they reach resolution.

Lea has explained the phenomenon to me, and it does make sense: comics, especially solo efforts like hers (or Seth’s) take time. Dribbling the work out in installments is a way to earn back some of the money that it takes to make the work in the first place. And so on. And I know that I could just focus my own attention on long-completed works — but that takes just a little bit of the excitement and community-feeling out of reading comics, since everybody else is talking about what’s new and what’s now. You know?

I dunno. This is rambling. Must have more coffee.

SNAP! Comics Arts Festival

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 2:35 am

SNAP! The Comic Arts Festival 2006 is this coming weekend in Dearborn, Michigan. Serializerists Matt Feazell and Sean Bieri will be exhibiting there, as well as other cool people like Jim Ottaviani (Joey was talking about his “Wire Mothers & Inanimate Arms” with Dylan Meconis earlier) and Suzanne Baumann (one of my favorite minicomics artists). There’s also a live music halftime show.

Sean Bieri did that cool poster.


New York Times on Serialized Dramas

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 2:35 pm

Add this to your thinking on one-shot gag comics vs. serialized story comics.* The New York Times has an article on serialized TV dramas which has some rather obvious parrallels to serialized comics stories (just substitute “waiting for the DVD’ with ‘waiting for the trade paperback”). The lead is that audiences can handle only so many serialized dramas:

IN every television season some new lesson about the American audience is imparted. This season’s lesson was clear within the first weeks of the fall: you can ask people to commit only so many hours to intense, dark, intricately constructed serialized dramas, to sign huge chunks of their lives away to follow every minuscule plot development and character tic both on the air and on Internet sites crowded with similarly addicted fanatics.

The buried lead is that so many of these shows get cancelled that nobody wants to get left hanging:

“Smith” won’t even get that minimally dignified exit. The CBS series, about a ruthless gang of master thieves, also had an impressive cast, headed by Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen. But it was expunged from existence after just three episodes. If you want to know what happened to those characters, you’ll just have to use your imagination. They will forever be suspended in midstory. … [one viewer] said the demands on her time and concerns about cancellation sent her fleeing from some of the shows, like “Six Degrees,” ABC’s serial about intersecting events involving six New York strangers. “I decided not to stick with that one because it wasn’t being very successful in the ratings. It’s not worth watching a show if you’re not going to get the story completed on the air.”

I’m guessing many viewers (like me) wait a few months or even an entire season before watching any of these shows just to see if they’ll stick around and recieve any buzz, then play catch-up with re-runs, DVDs and downloads. Especially when networks are throwing in the towel on such series after only three episodes. The same is true of comics — if you don’t have a track record of finishing (or at least continuing) what you start, few people are going to give you a shot right at the start.

* Note: “One-shot gag comics vs. serialized story comics” is a false binary if there ever was one.

Matt Mullenweg on Building Out

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:49 am

I’m continuing to research and ponder and think as I work on my early project docs for WCN 2.0, which will be a major upgrade, not just a cosmetic tweak, of WCN. This presentation (large MP3 file) by Matt Mullenweg, from the Future of Web Apps conference, about the challenges he and his team have faced, and continue to face, in building the community-based blog-hosting platform that is similar, in a lot of ways, to WCN (though blogs are different from webcomics, too, in a lot of ways) provided a lot of food for thought. But I’m still chewing on that food. No thoroughly digested conclusions yet.

The key moment for me (and replace “webcartoonists” with “bloggers” here): “Never underestimate the ego of bloggers.” Possible conclusion: powerful audience-building and tracking tools are more important than anything else in the success of a service like this.


Not that everything else (the actual content management system) doesn’t have to be better than the rest of what’s out there, but the thing that webcartoonists really want, more than anything else, is a large audience.

No hosting provider or content management system can guarantee a large audience to any individual comic. But there are things that can be done, especially in a network as large as the Modern Tales family, to make that possibility more viable.


Shuck’s Back in Time for Halloweeen

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 10:58 am

Rick Smith and Tania Menesee’s Shuck was one of the under-appreciated gems of the original Modern Tales lineup. The strip moved over to Serializer a little more than a year ago, in hopes that it would be more likely to find its audience there … just in time for the server crash that disabled that site for way too long (mea culpa). But, well, now it’s back — and Halloween is the perfect time to rediscover Shuck, who, after all, used to be the guardian of the gates of Hades (but now lives a more genial exurban life). Rick and Tania have brought a new energy to the revived version: it’s daily now, for one thing, and full color.

I’m also noticing a distinct lack of the unusual dialect-like-but-not-quite spelling tricks from the old strip. Those added an idiosyncratic flair to the writing, but they also, um, made it a little more difficult to read than it might have been. I’m not sure what I think about this development yet.

If you’re looking for something quirky and sweet (but tinged with darkness and death, too, like everything else within this mortal coil) to add to your daily trawl — and who isn’t? — you could do far worse.


New Dylan Meconis Book Project

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 9:02 am

First the bad news: Dylan Meconis is taking a break from her outstanding WCN comic Family Man. The good news is the reason. She’s working on a nonfiction book project with comic book industry veteran Jim Ottaviani, called Wire Mothers & Inanimate Arms: Harry Harlow And The Science Of Love. Here’s the description from Amazon:

Psychologists know best, of course, and in the 1950s they warned parents about the dangers of too much love. Besides, what was “love” anyway? Just a convenient name for children seeking food and adults seeking sex. It took an outsider scientist to challenge it. When Harry Harlow began his experiments on mother love he was more than just an outside the mainstream, though. He was a deeply unhappy man who knew in his gut the truth about what love - and its absence - meant, and set about to prove it. His experiments and results shocked the world, and Wire Mothers & Inanimate Arms will shock you as well.

This sounds interesting to me. Maybe it will sound interesting to you as well.


Sydney Supanova

Filed under: — Stephen Crowley @ 4:56 pm

Sydney Supanova is on this weekend… it’s like a tiny version of the San Diago Comicon. I’ll be there in Artist’s Alley with a couple of webcartooning mates - Noemz (Zeera the Space Pirate) and Rahball (Crea’tures) - under the banner “Webcartoonists Anonymous”.

They’ll be selling their stuff and I’ll be sitting there like a big idiot with my tiny Magellan fliers because I forgot it was **this** weekend and, although I’ve been slowly preparing for it, haven’t actually got my act together enough to actually have anything to sell. (What a dope.)

Regardless, should you be in Sydney, Australia and going along to Supanova I’d really love it if you dropped by and said “hi!” and chatted about comics and stuff.

It’ll be interesting to see how many other Australian webcartoonists are there… last year the overwhelming majority were print cartoonists, sitting there with their little stack of mini’s with glum looks on their faces because they’d sold 5 copies… when I said Magellan was getting, on average, 1900+ readers a week (or that other webcomics get 10x or 100x that amount) they were a bit “oh wow” but still had little to no intention of switching to the web. A shame, since many of them had some awesome comics. Given that Australia is pretty switched on with tech and the internets, it seemed a shame they were shortchanging themselves of a shot at a global audience that would at least be bigger than 5+.

Maybe that’s changed… and maybe I/you can convert some of them! Maybe see you there!

Vigilance to the face, au gratis!

Filed under: — navarro @ 1:21 pm

An Idea for a Portal

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 9:57 am

Some of the traffic trends I’ve seen on Webcomics Nation point to a real market out there for Christian-themed webcomics. I’m not the person to exploit this niche (aside from the fact that I’m an enthusiastic and evangelical atheist who would feel uncomfortable with the subject matter personally, one look at my own day-to-day queer life would send a significant portion of the target market running away screaming — so we’re a match not made in heaven, to say the least). But there it is. It’s just a thought.

Project Wonderful

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 9:09 am

Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics fame) is always coming out with cool little side-projects, like RSSPect, which helps website authors build RSS feeds, and OhNoRobot, a fan-powered search index for webcomics. His latest project is, by my lights, the coolest of all: Project Wonderful, a new advertising network that allows webcartoonists (and anybody else with a website) to place his/her advertising slots up for auction. This seems designed to solve two central problems for webcartoonists: 1). AdSense and other keyword-based advertising networks don’t work that well for webcomics, where the primary content is “hidden” inside an image file, rather than exposed in machine-readable text, and 2). many webcartoonists don’t have any idea how much (or how little) their ad slots are worth. The thing is still in beta, I think — it’ll be interesting to see how it works out. Here’s hoping it works out, um, wonderfully.


Super Real Gets Props Over At Newsarama

Filed under: — The William G @ 10:54 pm

It seems no one has mentioned it yet, but… The dead tree version of the classic Graphic Smash series, Super Real, got a mostly positive review over at comicbook news site Newsarama.

So I just wanted to give a tip of the hat to Jason Martin. Good stuff, man.


Filed under: — L_Jonte @ 11:40 am


And so it begins.

Once again, spirit of October has gripped us here at GirlAMatic and sent our imaginations out on a wild hunt. Submitted for your approval (and entertainment) are a delicious selection of candid Snapshots from the GAM Halloween Party.

All this week your favorite comics creators will be exposing their friends across GAM to public ridicule. There will be much merriment, much embarrassment and many a silly costume.

Do join us.


Women Webcomicker Grant NAN

Filed under: — Eric Millikin @ 1:20 pm

Lea Hernandez has announced the Women Webcomicker Grant Nan recipients for 2006. They are:

Blue Canary, Kit White

Chasing Daylight, Ann Kennedy

Circuit of Heaven, Julia Claire Begley (URL forthcoming)

Primary, Rachel Dukes


The Big Tease

Filed under: — The William G @ 1:15 pm


Hey there comic fans! William G here and I’m happy to tell that I have two marvelous teasers for November’s comic releases for you.

First up is an uncolored panel drawn by the bursting-with-talent, Sahsha Andrade for the next installment of the romantic drama, It’s About Girls. I’d post up the whole page but giving away this much awesome is illegal in a number of states.

It's About Girls

Icon is re-adjusting to being back home after spending two years in Japan. Can he pick up his life again, or will the shadows of the past continue to weigh him down? And Marc is in rasslin’ tights again?! Holey!

It’s About Girls 16- Drifting Back to A Point, coming this November to Modern Tales and Webcomics Nation!

But if he-man action is more to your speed, worry not! Bang Barstal is heading back to your screens with a new slam-bang adventure set in the glacial wilds of Canada!

Bang Barstal

Can Bang answer the challenges of the dead while freeing the town from the coldly villainous Jack Frost? Will he ever get his car out of that snowbank?

Bang Barstal in: “The Dead”, coming to Graphic Smash November 25th

Hang on to that mouse, comics fans. November is coming soon!


“Comics that are not Successful” does not equal “Independent”

Filed under: — Joey Manley @ 11:18 am

One of my pet peeves is people who have pet peeves.

Here’s another: the misuse of the word “independent” in comic book industry press releases.

If a creator has sold control of his/her work to a corporate third party, you can’t really call it an independent comic anymore. Because it’s not independent. It’s just not. It’s part of a larger corporate portfolio. That’s neither good nor bad. But it’s not “independent.”

Semantics? Maybe. Many companies in the comics field appropriate the term “independent” to mean, “We’re not Marvel or DC.” That probably has at least some valid meaning in the comic book stores, where the vast majority of comics sold are by one of those two companies. But let’s not fool ourselves. Any company claiming inaccurately to be “independent,” or to publish “independent comics,” or to control a “vast library of independent comics” would love to be as big as Marvel and DC, and is planning to be as big as Marvel or DC (if you can call the typical comics industry “I saw Stan Lee in a vision” pipe-dreaming “planning.”) There’s no functional difference — except that Marvel and DC are successful, and have a proven track record, and these other companies are … not, yet, and don’t. “Independent” does not mean — should not mean — “we’re just not successful yet, so treat us nicely, because we’re using this happy-connotation word to describe ourselves, see?” Too often, that’s how it’s used.


Li’l Lupus, the minicomic!

Filed under: — Lynn Lau @ 10:07 am
New: Li’l Lupus: Babysitting Blues, the minicomic!

Readers may remember characters here from Jupiter, the comic about a circus girl who leaves for the “real world,” much to her family’s utter consternation. Now in his very own adventure is a tale featuring Jupiter’s brother, Lupus!

When Li’l Lupus is designated the task of looking after his sister for the day, his plans for an afternoon of good ol’ fishing are ruined. But when he loses his young charge, Li’l Lupus soon realizes that sometimes the good life comes in pairs!

Get Li’l Lupus: Babysitting Blues right here, or read a 4-page preview!

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