Sunday, November 2, 2008

Like a Google Map of Webcomics

Here's something fun. If Star Trek's Borg swept through Comicdom, assimilating characters, the results might be something like this.

The site is called Webcomics Collage , and it is made by a clever fellow with no desire for fame. He loves webcomics, and wanted to do a project involving them, and this site is his vision.

It's a grid of squares. Each square is like an ad space, and you can submit a 40x40 image from your comic for inclusion, free.

But it's far more than a novelty item. Each square is a link, so it functions like a real ad and adds to your Google mojo. It's fun seeing how many images you can mentally place, too, though scrolling over will tell you any you don't know.

The cost is free. After one year, you'll be asked to kick in three bucks toward overhead or drop out. I was amazed a few people reacted as if this idea is some kind of rip-off, and will be busy trying to guess their identities by process of elimination after the grid fills in. Since money is often given as an excuse for other reasons, I think some people consider themselves too cool to join in. I am pleased my comics will not have to spend the next year making conversation with them, and look forward to the day the grid is filled, and they are out in the cold, pressing their frost-bitten noses against the window while we sip cocoa and try not to giggle.

The creator is one of those people who didn't let himself be stopped by what he feels is a shortage of drawing and writing talent. Inspired by how comic syndicates once included character icons and title artwork, he wondered how it would look to have a webcomic character collage online. Unlike collages where everything is in a jumble, this one gives every participant their own box. It will be a novelty item, artwork, advertising device and historical document, all at once.

The three bucks, by the way, is not a scheme to buy a car after a year. It's a hedge against the possibility that the site could become traffic heavy and incur significant server costs. Should you stay and pay it, you might look at it as getting two years of advertising for $1.50/year. Plenty of ads cost that for an hour. Long before you have to decide whether to contribute or jump off, you'll know if it's throwing you traffic. Not too many products come with a free trial period like that.

Resizing your desired image may slow a few people down, if you don't feel like waiting for Photoshop to open on an older system. Skip that! Use a free online image re-sizer and be done in a moment. There are many to choose from. I personally like Resizr because it allows you to do cropping and other quality adjustments, and makes gif, jpg or png files.

Check out Webcomic Collage now, while the good balcony seats are still available. Consider bookmarking it, and watching it fill in. It's pretty neat.