Hosting Issues

A project goes through many iterations when execution, and my CMWP comic idea has morphed to something else. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of Meg for you to see. However, instead of a big comic book (such as a 20-ish page issue that I was originally planning), I’ve changed it to be several, shorter ‘strips’, of 4-8 panels each, with each ‘strip’ taking up 1-page, or double-page. That also means I’ll be writing several, shorter stories on Meg, which is great, because I can explore that curiously silly dog a lot more.

Another reason for my doing so, is due to considerations in distribution: namely, how I’m going to disseminate the final products on the Internet.

TUMBLR:

My first, obvious choice, was Tumblr. Apart from being a network already sprawling with an audience – younger people who love animals, and are savvy to the style of story-telling, while not too young to not get the medium of comic itself –  who’d most likely be the best recipients of the project, Tumblr also provides an interesting format of consumption in terms of images.

Furthermore, Tumblr offers an unique form of image display: Photoset. As you can see, the photoset layout has given me an automatic comic gutter, meaning I can feasibly simply create the panels, size them appropriately to the dimensions of each photoset panel as required, and upload them. It cuts out the need for me to make a template with gutters for my comic.

Image taken from cynicalidealist on Tumblr.

The photoset layout also means each individual image can be viewed separately, which is an interesting workabout to achieve the panel-by-panel view that would stop large comics being unreadable on small portable devices.

MEDIUM:

The other choice for me, was Medium. WordPress was never really a choice, however I am exploring the possibilities of hosting comics on WordPress.

Medium offers a very simple model of creating and reading. There is no fiddling with various themes and HTML – it s your page, and your feed. You tag your work, you submit it to a collection of similar topics, and others read it and/or share it. This appeals to me, because the one shortcoming of Tumblr is this: Themes. While most of the audience will consume the comic via the Dashboard – a completely differently themed layout, much like a Facebook news feed – the fact is, any external audience who follows a permalink will be coming to the page that sits within my actual blog – my themed blog. Therefore, the way that my blog theme displays the work is paramount when it comes to a medium as important as comics.

Medium will cut all of that hassle out for me.

This is a web comic on Medium – unfortunately you’d have to click on the hyperlink, because I can’t in good conscience steal the Frogman’s comic and put it on here!

The simple layout means that I do lose the natural gutters of the Tumblr photoset, but instead I get a fantastic, fluid reading experience, uncluttered by anything else except for my username and comic title up the very top, and a recommended further section at the bottom.

COMPARISON:

The two sites bring me to this consideration:

Gutters.

I am incredibly interested in gutters (the white spaces between panels) in comics, because that’s what separates a COMIC from a SERIES OF IMAGES, at least for me. Looking at a lot of print comics post 90s, however, it’s obvious that the actual white strip itself is not paramount in defining a comic as such – but a relationship between panels is.

Tumblr would give me this in ample readiness – it’s there, and all I have to do is to make sure my panels will sit in each spot perfectly.

Medum, on the other hand, gives me the freedom of simplicity – I can always manually create gutters for each strip on my computer, OR I can create a comic that doesn’t require gutters at all.

This is something which I can only really decide on after experimenting on both mediums (ha). Furthermore, I do want to look at what WordPress can offer me in terms of image hosting.

Issues to consider for further along: viewing on portable devices.

There is no App for Medium, however the streamlined reading style seen on browsers carries over beautifully on mobile browsers. Having said that, it doesn’t let you select and zoom in on each individual ‘panel’ when on mobile.

The App for Tumblr, on the other hand, is temperamental at best, especially with displaying images in Dashboard. The actual blog page itself (ie, my themed blog), is accessed through the browser anyway, and depending on the theme I choose, it could either take me to a full-HTML website (completely unreadable on a mobile device), or a vertical, mobile version, which is still extremely cluttered with buttons and links that are separate to the theme of the blog.

Right now, I’m definitely leaning towards Medium more. With more exploration and testing, I’m sure that I’ll find an answer soon.

Alex.

P.S. I started using sub headings!

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