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Author Topic: So, what shall we do?  (Read 25848 times)

Offline Mithandir

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So, what shall we do?
« on: February 05, 2012, 12:33:02 AM »
Hey all,

I made this forum and this post after the fantasy webcomic roundtable at WebREEF this weekend, which inspired me to try and create a community for fantasy webcomic creators. I've had this domain (fantasycomicportal.com) for years, but never did anything with it because I lacked the time to do what I wanted. I figured it would make a good place for this project though.

First, though, I want to know YOUR opinions (and by YOU I mean mainly fantasy webcomic creators). What would you like to have here, what are your ideas, suggestions and wishes?
Read Chasing the Sunset, or else!

Offline Mithandir

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2012, 12:38:42 AM »
I'll start off with my own ideas and suggestions.

My original plan for this domain was to have a directionary of fantasy webcomics tied to a wiki. The wiki would have information about fantasy topic and then link to different webcomics to show how they interpreted that concept. For instance a wiki page on Trolls would link to all webcomics that use trolls. However, I now feel something like that is maybe better left to tvtropes.

Now, my idea is more of a community site for creators. Some place we can discuss our own and others webcomics, maybe plan crossovers, con visits, tips on anything etc etc.

So, now it's up to you! Suggest!
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Offline Alien

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2012, 01:43:41 AM »
A wild suggestion appears!  Tvtropes is a pretty good place for that sort of thing, and people do use it to find comics.  Thus, perhaps we should cooperate in ensuring all the comics in this group (that want to) will be represented on tvtropes, and kept up to date with appearances of trolls and mermaids and other tropes that people may find it by.

Offline Jens Peder Neilsen

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2012, 05:21:08 AM »
I don not think a wiki would be a bad idea.
mayve one that we could even have entries for our own races-creations

Lianne

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2012, 06:35:11 AM »
I think the biggest question is: what would a fantasy-specific webcomic community offer to us fantasy webcomic creators that more general webcomic communities don't?  What makes you wish for something more focused? What do you feel like non-fantasy webcomic creators just aren't interested in/have an unhelpful perspective on that you want to discuss with creators in your genre?

Offline keyake

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2012, 12:43:54 PM »
I don't know about a wiki, but I would love a feedback/critique section. Lianne makes good points, and I think that what I personally would look for in such a community is more specific feedback. While outside opinions from creators who do gag-a-day comics or scifi comics or other genres can be useful, more often than not I also find a need for feedback from other creators within the genre of fantasy comics or longform comics.

A suggestions bin would be good too. I make the kind of comics I do because I like those kinds of comics, I like reading them, and it would be really fun to discuss technique, story craft, and style choices with other people who work on similar themes.

Just my two cents.

Offline Mithandir

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2012, 01:46:31 PM »
Lianne: That's a fair question.
Off the top of my head there's a couple of things I think would be useful to discuss with other fantasy creators. There are, IMO some challenges which crop up with making a fantasy webcomic in specific. Some of these are technical, like how best to lay out an archive or how to grab and retain reader interest (shared with longform comics in general, I guess).
Others have to do with the process of worldbuilding. When we make a fantasy comic, we also craft a world around it. Sometimes we might run into issues here that we might want to discuss with other people who can quickly understand the mechanics of your world and think inside it where people without that experience might approach it from the outside. As fantasy creators we know that, for example, trolls in one universe can be radically different from those in another, but an outsider might simply revert to the traditional "real world" concept of a troll.
Research is another thing that it might be good to have some likeminded individuals to throw ideas around with. For example I know my artist (Alien up there) will occasionally look for examples of period fashion. If we have a bunch of fantasy comic creators around there's a greater likelihood that somebody will have some sort of expertise or prior research in it (or at least some good links to share).

It's these shared characteristics amongst fantasy comics that I think make it beneficial (and fun!) to have a group of other creators around.

Halflight: That's a good suggestion, and one that I think ties in somewhat with my worldbuilding comment above (but then extended to include art, storytelling etc). Critique is always useful, and especially when it comes from people who might have faced similar issues as you are struggling with (or who can, through experience, spot a potential future problem).

A lot of course depends on the activity level of such a community :)

Some more thoughts from me:

I'm toying with the idea of a forum, or a section of a forum, with access restricted to fantasy (web)comic creators (say with a comic that has at least 10 episodes, let's not set the bar too high). Not to be elitist or anything, but to have a place where we could discuss things without giving spoilers to our readers.

I'd also like something more than just a forum though, but I'm not quite sure what yet. I do think that if this project gets off the ground I would put a little box on my site with a rotating ad linking to all the others comics in the community (but I would not make this a requirement to join whatsoever, just purely voluntary). Some years ago I did a little feature where I spotlighted fantasy comics that were smaller than ours to get them some extra readers, and I'd love to do something like that again.
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Offline CMorgan

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2012, 03:50:57 PM »
Not be super hokey but I think a fantasy comic community would be a great opportunity to make friends with like minded folks!
When I first started out I noticed that most articles/forums/podcasts that i found on the subject of web comics leans very heavily towards humor/gag a day strips. The most relevant advice and critique has always come from someone doing a long format/fantasy comic, and that has been immensely helpful. I think it could be a great support network for everyone (not only online but also at Cons, events, ect).



Offline NaarieKermie

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2012, 05:44:19 PM »
I agree with CMorgan. The default webcomic type for most people seems to be "gag-a-day" so almost every resource is geared that way. I swear, I find a resource for the webcomic creator (be it a blog, podcast or list of articles) and the break down is usually:

"Scripting your Webcomic.
Word Bubbles 101
Wank Bait or Harpy Shrew; Which Girl Type Fits Best with your All Male Cast?
How to Write a Longform Webcomic
Merchandising for the Masses
Joke-telling for n00bs
Fanservice: Harmless Fun or Character Explotation?"

Every article is written for gag-a-day unless it explicitly says otherwise. I'd love a place were we could have a ton of resources all made with longform in mind. Where I could read every article and it would all apply to me instead of having to filter out what useful information I can.

Plus I'd love to make friends with other fantasy lovers! Still trying to work my way into the community here! ;)

Varethane

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2012, 07:21:57 PM »
Yeeahh I've also noticed that trend among the wider webcomic community... a lot of the 'default' resources, from advice articles to webcomic-oriented content management systems*, are sort of inherently geared towards humour strips.  I wouldn't mind having a resource out there dedicated specifically to fantasy comics! (or even to long-form genre or high-concept comics in general, since I feel like there's a fair amount of overlap among those creators and readers.)

*(I've always felt a little irked that every single one of ComicPress's archive systems are date-based, when that's pretty much the single most useless, confusing and ugly way to organize the archives for a long-form comic. Relying on each page to have an individual title ranks only just behind it in terms of awkwardness.)

Duskglass

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2012, 11:18:43 PM »
This would be cool! I'd love to have a place to chat with other creators!

I haven't done much searching for resources, but I do know the pain of dealing with Comicpress's native archives. (I hand-code my archive because the default ones are so ugly. :C )

What defines a fantasy comic? Fantasy is such a vague concept in general and I always feel like everything I write blurs genre lines.

Offline Mithandir

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2012, 11:57:21 AM »
Alright, so a little sumamries of thoughts so far. People seem to want:

  • A place to talk with other creators.
  • Articles and resources about making fantasy webcomics
  • Some technical help with e.g. adjusting comicpress for longform comics

Keep the suggestions/wishes coming (oh and if you know other fantasy comic creators, feel to invite them to have their say :))
Read Chasing the Sunset, or else!

Offline T III

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2012, 05:38:12 AM »
I think we should expand a little on the fantasy webcomic thing - whilst most of us are producing fantasy comics here that's not as big an aspect as the comics being long form instead of strips.

99% of webcomic resources and articles are aimed at strips, it'd be nice to have a long form community. I did notice that at the WebREEF chats there were a few people pushing me toward coding my own CMS. Which I really should at some point because a software engineer relying on Comic Press is a little embarrassing. But I think Comic Press itself, properly edited can be just as good for long form comics as strips.

As well as the general "friendly, helpful community", here are some things that I'd like to see from a long form/fantasy community:
  • A forum/chat for creators to discuss topics - also include forums for readers in order to help cross promotion.
  • Articles and resources for creators - either within the forum or somewhere on the website.
  • Some way to promote members, perhaps your rolling ad idea either on individual sites or the main portal site, a voluntary link exchange etc.
  • A site containing how to and news articles, announcements etc. written by members - for the general public.
  • Some way to organise meet ups at events or exchange ad space in our print comics.
  • Speaking of events - a calendar including member appearances and what events are happening around the world.

The reason why I include the promotion aspect is that most people who read long form comics, are more likely to be interested in other long form comics in a similar genre than those who (for instance) only read XKCD and CAD.

The reasoning behind a public facing site with articles, news and announcements is that not only does it give us all an extra platform to announce things but with articles and such it draws more creators and readers to the site and embeds it as a valuable resource for all. Articles could include announcements for anniversaries, new products launching, tutorials, general news from the comic/webcomic/fantasy industry (perhaps including some reviews of relevant tv, film and games).

As for events, it would be handy to know who is at which events, and for the newbies who have no convention knowledge it'll give them an idea of what events exist near them, who attends, people they can seek advice about those events AND can give them an idea of the expenses involved etc.

Varethane

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2012, 08:35:37 AM »
The problem with pushing people towards coding their own CMS is that... well, not all that many creators know much about that sort of thing. Some will be all about the coding (there are definitely some nice hand-coded sites out there), while others might prefer to spend their time making the comic and not have to worry about the website. Which is probably why so many long-form comics end up on sites like Smackjeeves, where you just plug your work into a template and have done with it.

I may have gained access to a pretty sweet CMS now, but I spent four years hand-coding the entire site in nothing but html (using just <a href> and <img> tags), because trying to learn more elaborate coding made my brain shut down and I always seemed to have better things to do with my time. (Like homework, or making comic pages)

Offline Mithandir

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Re: So, what shall we do?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2012, 12:30:08 PM »
T III: Push you to make your own CMS during that panel? I wouldn't know anything about that :)
I did make my own CMS, which is currently used by both my own comic as well as that of a friend: Rogues of Clwyd Rhan., but it's a bit of a complex system to use (very very flexible, though).

Back to topic, the forum software I installed can do most, if not all, things T III mentioned. There's a calendar, for instance. There's a forum, obviously. I also installed an addon that handles articles etc. I'd want to extend it myself some to do things like comic listings and maybe RSS feeds, so I'll have to have a look at the actual code, but the basis seems good.
Chat shouldn't be too hard either. Maybe it might be good to have some video chat channels, so we can stream our desktops to show eachother art techniques? I quite liked that in WEBReeF.
Read Chasing the Sunset, or else!

 

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