Monday, March 17, 2008

Web Comics Portals, Part VII

The masthead for Hyena Comics.
© Hyena Comics

Assorted Minor Hubs

Absurd Notions is a web comic by Kevin Pease. The site also supplies a decent list of links.

Comic Book Central is a classy little site with a few bugs. Important links at the top of the page, like "About Us," don't work. You have to stumble into alternate visions by scrolling way down. Also, a shamefully large number of  links to comics need updating. I thought I'd source an illustration for this article here, but a lot of appealing stuff was dead, and Craig Strzelecki's Citrusman, which has a nice character splash, warned me off with prominent legalisms. A reminder: If you want coverage in blogs, include a use exemption for "brief art excerpts for review purposes."

CBC is a merit site: the comics featured, in the form of cover pages, are management's picks of good comics and evolving comics to watch. No advertising. Put this site on your rainy day prowl list.

Comic Book Sites is a large link warehouse, but the graphic design is wrenching to look at. There are a lot of links, grouped by first letter. Illustrations accompanying the links are mostly screen grabs that don't reveal much but might be better than no illustration. Text accompanying the illustrations is in too small a font, though you can always jack it up.
CBS also carries links to various resources and sites of interest to comics people.

The Funny Cartoon offers a bunch of strips, new each day, right on the home page -- no link-clicking. But they are mostly insipid, second-rate newspaper stuff.

Online Comix, not to be confused with Online Comics, offers no identifying information and a single lonely ad for the Humane Society. But it has a neatly organized list of hundreds of comics, though there is a heavy infestation of newspaper strips.

Toontime (Denmark) is an English language compilation of about forty comics, mostly weak gag panels and short strips.

The small site Dr Shnaps offers a handful of sprite comics, a genre of limited appeal to non-gamers. Do the Research hosts about forty web comics. Some links fail. The site's blog breathlessly announces "major changes," but hasn't been updated in two years. Other pages offer insurance shopping assistance and astrology "fun." One nice feature: a menu to instantly translate a page into 30+ languages. I sense a failed business plan.

Comic Dig is on my list by merit of a nice logo. Other than that, there's not much there except a hosting site under construction.

Comic Dish is a host without ads offering 278 comics. Buttons to jump to any particular page would be a nice navigating improvement. Dish offers an interesting novelty: a twice a month character exchange, in which artists tackle drawing each other's characters. One drag: the original character and guest rendition are not juxtaposed. This precludes an enjoyable browsing opportunity.

The Earth is Square is a short list on someone's spare blog and probably shouldn't even be on my list. Omega0 wouldn't be worth the time of day, except that there are several hundred comics links, annotated in some eccentric code. Megite is another one of those weird ghost ship sites with links to a thousand things and none. But it has an ample web comic list, so I might as well include it and save someone else the trouble of turning it up.

Another that probably shouldn't be included: Go Comics. Go turns up as a jumbled-up feed for the affiliated Comics Sherpa, a list of 200+ titles and not much more. One wrong click at Go or Sherpa and you're on Pat Sajak's Puzzles and Games Weekly.

Htyp looks like a Wiki, and calls itself "the yellow pages that anyone can edit." Despite a broader reach, it has only about as many articles as Comixpedia. It does have a decent list of web comics, however.

Polypop has big plans to expand into all sorts of media, but the site doesn't bode well. Besides the home page, there's a hard-to-find secondary links page here. 01 Comics has lost ground, existing now only as a welcome page, but may be under redevelopment.

Digital Pimp may know what it wants to be, but it isn't telling. It seems to be a collective of four guys, at least some of whom produce comics, but visitors will find the Pimp basking in inside jokes and opacity. The presence of a forum may be the give-away: perhaps they've stated their case so many times, they forgot that some of us don't know. The Pimp musters about 50 links to comics, contaminated by links to other things.

Comic Hub is a free host that briefly gained airspeed velocity before belly flopping. A shabbily administered quagmire of no value. Comicon is a major comics site that ought to have a functioning web comic list but doesn't. Maybe it will work for you.

Glasswings barely makes the list with a few web comic links strewn amidst other links that you don't often see. A one-shot browse. The Funny Cartoon offers a stack of panels and strips that seem almost like parodies of today's awful newspaper strips, unless they are newspaper strips I've never seen. Not worth researching.

The unfortunately named Stool Sample site would benefit from a hard look at itself through its visitor's eyes. There is intelligence and good intent behind the site's 16+ links, but it's dangerously easy to dismiss this one as unwizened.

PV Comics is like the Flying Dutchman for bibliophiles. There's no one home ("we're taking a break") but the library is set for reading, with a several dozen titles carefully laid out.

Webbed Comics looked interesting, but despite joining multiple times, I couldn't get into most of the site, or receive assistance. I recall having troubles on sites run by Joey Manley and Josh Roberts and getting personal emails from them in short order, solving the problem. Here, I couldn't even find a contact via Who Is. I hope to have another chance with these guys. I liked their irreverent tone.

I couldn't tell how Hyena Comics defines itself, but it is a fine place to go and read the ten featured comics, and learn about the artists. It will probably end up filed as a collective upon more review.

Wunderland is an annex in the personal web site of an affable fellow who may be named Andy. He rates comics as must read or should read, and includes many links to old, archived comics. His substantial list makes good browsing.

World Famous Comics is a cluttered, inelegant site hosting a dozen comics. These folks also offer Comic Book Sites, a non-hosting link site with over 1200 titles and a similar, chaotic non-design. Browsing ease is diminished by the use of indiscernible screen shots by way of preview animation. Comic Strip Fan is by Eric from Hawai'i, a friendly fellow who loves comics. He offers a list of titles he admires.

Next: More? Yup. And while you're here, would you kindly look at the post below this one, in which I am seeking information.