Friday, March 14, 2008

Web Comics Portals, Part V

For today's illustration I picked a random comic from Piperka 
(discussed below), then selected a page I admire. The lead-up
to this page has me feeling something is about to happen. 
It's called seamonster and it's by Nathan Castle. I'll do some
future random picks and see what else we uncover.
Click to enlarge. © Nathan Castle.

Theme Portals

For this installment of the series, we'll look at comics portals with particular themes.

Thrilling Detective offers links to noir detective comics. They also have a great encyclopedia of detectives. Supernatural Crime is creepy detective stories.

Tapestry is a directory of comics with feeds. Owner DWLT runs it from Scotland. Currently there are 268 listings.

Komikwerks hosts six regularly updating comics but is primarily a print publisher looking for web talents. Anyone who wants to reach print should make themselves familiar with the site and its publishing history.

Snark doesn't have a theme, but it has a gimmick: instructions for building your own daily update list of your favorite comics via your computer, courtesy of its Danish creator. Thelink is to his sample list. Lop off the portion of the URL after comix to access his programming instructions.

T Campbell and company's Web Comics features something unique: top performing comics lists from traffic monitors Alexa and Compete. And while that's only about 40 links, the site is still a must-visit for the intelligent writing and reporting on comics, including the most informative piece yet and the turbulent relationship between web comics and Wikipedia. I don't know much about Compete, but I have read that Alexa only sees Internet Explorer. Given that IE is only the third most popular browser visiting my sites, this puts it in footnote status.

Family Web Comics fills an important niche: culling through web comics to find and rate material suitable for children. My own comic is there, and received a WC-10, meaning age ten and up. Some may snicker, but if you have youngsters in your family, this stuff will get you out of the Captain Underpants ghetto.

The Modern Tales group of sites is an attempt to develop genre-specific sites and build a subscriber base around them. It's a pretty classy effort, typical of founder Joey Manley:
  • Adventure Strips is a labor of love effort, printing articles about adventure heroes and comic creators of yesteryear. The floating navigation doodad is a first for me;
  • Girlamatic is comics appealing to a female audience. A new feature: free, downloadable comic books;
  • Modern Tales offers content from professional comics artists;
  • Serializer is another pro content site;
  • Graphic Smash is an action and adventure spin-off of Modern Tales;
  • Graphic Novel Review is "A look at book-length comics for the casual reader;"
  • Small Press Swapmeet is an adjunct to Manley's Web Comics Nation, and serves as retail shop for accessories produced by WCN artists.
All these sites offer access to samples. A small subscription fee accesses the archived comics.

All Manley's properties, which include some discussed elsewhere in this series, are completing a merger with the Comic Space family of properties. I'll have a section discussing the merger in an upcoming installment.

Piperka is a humdinger. It's a very large list, and a secondary popularity list based on user selections. It's also a bookmarking and tracking site that will make you aware of updates and manage your reading list. A site to know about, even if you don't use it.

Comixpedia is a dedicated comics Wiki, which might sound redundant if it wasn't for the real Wikipedia being quick to delete many articles about web comics. I haven't read the deleted articles or followed the subsequent claims and allegations, but I recommend that anyone writing about comics for Wikipedia also submit to Comixpedia. This helps Comixpedia maintain reference value as it shoulders the minor articles that Wikipedia would skip. I might add, though most know this, use the sandbox while drafting articles for a Wiki. I forgot recently and screwed up a half page article. This site is usually extremely slow for me.

Full Story is an ambitious attempt to index completed comic stories remaining available on the web. Some quick mental math suggests that founder Alexander Danner cannot hope to do it himself without falling farther behind each day, even if he omits some inferior titles. Someone's going to have to convince him to accept help. But maybe my assumptions are incorrect. At least root for him!

Next: Still several installments to come!