Monday, February 08, 2010

Soft opening

I'm still tinkering around with this new website, but I'm at the stage where I could use a little feedback before I try to promote it to a larger world.

It's a pretty simple idea -- just put up a strip each day, provide a little entertainment and maybe point two or three people a year to some of the collections that are available out there.

Comic strips, and their creators, are in an odd kind of bind. People like comics. They clip them out and put them on their refrigerators or tape them to their cash registers or pin them on their cubicle walls, but not enough people make the next step and actually support the artists by visiting their web sites or buying their collections.

So how do you try to raise that consciousness? It is a puzzlement. If they pursued comics more rabidly, they would find the collections on their own. But people tend to be passive. They see what is in the paper and they often like what is in the paper. They'll even bombard the editor with complaints if the cartoon is left out of the paper or, lord help us, dropped from the line-up.

But they don't see what is not in the paper, nor do they think much about it. And I don't know that this will help. But it will make me feel like I'm doing something, and, after all, isn't that what it's all about? The appearance of action?

Anyway, come visit and let me know what you think.

(We will now commence a stretch of 10 consecutive days during which there will be no funny or remarkable comic strips at all.)


Dann said...

Could the header image be converted into a bitmapped image? So the user can click on an image and be taken to a page that describes the comic strip and provides a few samples?

Also, this 10 days of no humourous that a feature or a bug??


Brian Fies said...

I like the idea and look forward to its execution (take that however you want! But I meant the good kind of "execution").

I did an interesting experiment several years ago in which I cut out either the best or worst comic printed in my paper that day (whichever struck my fancy), taped it into a notebook, and wrote a paragraph or three about what made it good or bad. I got a lot out of the exercise. For example, I gained a new appreciation for "Cathy," which I'd never really cared for and seldom read, but when actually analyzed turned out to produce the best gag of the day a surprising amount of the time. Some strips that I'd thought were pretty good turned out to be kinda lame when I really looked at them. It was good for my cartoonist soul.

Best of luck getting it going and keeping it up, I'll be a regular.

Mike Peterson said...

Just a prediction, Dann. As soon as you launch a daily "best of ..." you can be sure there won't be any bests.

And Brian, I have added a few extra strips to my daily routine, just to make sure it doesn't become too much of a "Mike's World" featurette. I'm really gonna try to expand my awareness. As it happens, most I am adding are mainstream strips. I already know, for instance, that Zippy will never, ever appeal to me, and there are a couple of other hipster strips that are, if not fingernails on the chalkboard, at least very not hip. But I'm tryin' to not be a snob.

For those keeping score, I have 120 strips on my daily menu. Not all of those update every day, and some (Calvin and Hobbes, Geech, Steve Canyon, Latigo, Shirley and Son, Peanuts) are reruns, so not eligible. But I also have a passle of editorial cartoons, which more or less get us back to the 120 total.

Surely, one of them will stand out each day.

ronnie said...

Excellent! Have added it to my RSS feeds and look forward to checking it daily. Great idea!

Mark Jackson said...

I've added it to my daily list. Good luck; I suspect you'll know you've been successful only when you start getting arguments about each daily selection..

(I mean, how could you have picked Grand Avenue over Medium Large on Wednesday?)

You might consider adding a Comics Kingdom site to your custom comics page sidebar. They now let you construct a list of KFS "favorites" which then display in pages of 4. The Toronto Star has larger default comics than the others.

Dann Todd said...

Dang it. I knew I should have added a "[grin]" at the end.

I like the concept a lot, Mike. But I've no idea why this strip didn't make the cut for Feb 8. Or any of the subsequent ones, really.


And the gif map was a serious question, FWIW.


Mike Peterson said...

I think I'm going to have to move this to another provider -- there are some "user friendly" elements at this one that make it hard to do some pretty basic things -- like allow people to click on the comic to get a bigger version.

Once I'm set up, Dann, if you want to forward me the magic gif map, I'll happily use it. But it is (A) beyond my feeble powers and (B) too likely to suggest that THOSE strips are the ones I'm featuring, which, as you can see from the first week's offerings, is not the case.

Comics Kingdom isn't a bad idea, Mark. I'll check it out. Meanwhile, you've probably already noticed my current provider doesn't even allow code in comments. Reminds me of a Doonesbury from WAY back (pre-jump) in which Bernie and Mike are talking about how much power is left after all the user-friendly features have been added -- the computer says at the end "Kick back. Have a cup of coffee!" but has about 5 kbs of memory to actually work with.

I think that's who is powering this site.

Sherwood Harrington said...

From the peanut(s) gallery: Dann, I urge you to take the Deacon up on his request -- I think it would be a cool function to add to the banner, and I don't share Mike's concern abut reader confusion re what strips are featured -- the content of the daily updates should disabuse any such misinterpretation right away.

So, as is so often the case in my academia and your free enterprise: a good suggestion becomes the suggestor's burden.

Dann Todd said...


I'll see what I can work up for you. I think I've got a tool that will spit out what you need.

Of course, I've been wrong before and this could just be a laborious bit of work.


Mike said...

Be aware, Dann, that you could come up with a wonderful working graphic and I could find out that it won't load. This is a template, not a start-from-scratch web site.