Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Here's a bunch of stuff to pick at over the Thanksgiving holiday if you're in the U.S. If you're not, hang in there, Canadian Thanksgiving is practically almost sort of just around the corner. If you don your snowshoes and start now, you can make it. It's basically another giant nosh, but everything is covered in maple syrup. Trumping gravy in my book.

To all readers: Happy Thanksgiving. Remember that happiness can't linger without peace, so try to make peace without cracking too many heads.

The Webcomic Crossover and Cameo Archive keeps growing. I can tell you from personal experience that this stuff is hard work, and a labor of love. The site isn't just an archive: there's a forum, store, new fan art archive and more. I tested it out by submitting the person-associated-with-dinosaurs story arc from Lil Nyet, and it was promptly added... One blog that packs a wallop with news bite roundups like this is ArtPatient. Blogmaster Delos is a valued friend and colleague whose optimism inspires me and whose faith in people stops me from being as critical as I might otherwise be. His reviews are, at their best, written with an appreciation of the artist and the reader, and never have a shrill judgmental tone. Even when we disagree about something, it's fun to be around him. If you haven't seen his blog, have a run at it and see if it appeals... So far I think I have managed to work in mention from all but two press releases I have received, which I think is pretty good, especially since no one has reported posts are getting as dull as dirt. My favorites are simple letters telling me what's up, and the facts surrounding it. I don't think any webcomics bloggers stand on ceremony and want standard releases like big media uses. So yeah, if it's about webcomics, send it in, and use the List of Webcomic Blogs I spun off my right column... Using Blogger? Wondering why some NEW POSTS appear in the new style, better-enabled composition box, and others in the old style? It appears the new style originate from clicking NEW POST in the dashboard, and the old style comes from the header. The new style has smooth cut-n-paste

and the ability to insert images in the middle of your post without struggle... Apploop almost promises to make sending comics to handheld devices as easy as having an RSS feed, but falls a bit short. It comes so close it's scary how fast things are changing in that arena. The parts about exactly how they are going to get your comic into a place like iTunes and how you are going to be paid are a little vague for my taste. Plus, they blew off answering my few, easy emailed questions, suggesting that like iVerse, they are not ready for prime time. Anything that makes the middleman optional means greater creative control, so I like the trend... Maybe it's just something that strikes my fancy, but after watching previews all year, the graphic novel that has me more excited than virtually any pending release is One Strange Way. The first installment is done, and I plan to read it leisurely over the holiday, so I can't detail the story for you. I can say it's beautiful, creepy, anxious, demonic* and filled with puzzles and Easter Eggs like a miniature Myst, if the latter wasn't programmed by Frederick Neitzche. Don't be alarmed that a brief audio help starts when you arrive at the site -- it only lasts a minute and clarifies what to do and what to watch for as you read the story. Creator Mark Bernal classifies the story as being for ages 13+ and you can learn more about him. ... I've been spending more time scouting out comics in the three big community sites, Drunk Duck, SmackJeeves and Comics Genesis since realizing that they far outnumber the "free range" comics that get most of the attention. Not to mention, my personal favorite comic these days is Ugly Girl, based on Jeeves. (It's about high school kids with physical characteristics that mirror their social status.) Frankly, I don't see how one qualifies to talk seriously about webcomics without dedicating some face time to these sites. There could be blogs reporting on each one, just as there are blogs that track sites like Zuda. Or one shared blog, where authors from each community take turns posting news and *ahem* trading barbs.

Ever see WebsiteOutlook? It estimates the value of your website's URL on the open market, but it's also a sort of analytics tool you can add to what you track and use for comparisons. It seems a lot more compelling after you read the short FAQ section on how it works. Of all the analytics gizmos I've tested, this one came closer to Google than most, but is a little high, at least today. We'll try to catch up. Thanks, Tanya, creator of the funny webcomic Betapwned, for sharing the find...KEZ has a terrific column post that I wish I wrote. I love to test and measure things for performance, and she thought of an SEO test that never dawned on me, and really should be seen. If you've wondered Why SEO? And, Does it work?, this is juicy reading.
*It's endorsed by Li'l Nyet.