Well-made comic websites

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Well-made comic websites

Postby carsonfire on Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:36 am

Hey, I'm back online after a very long forced banishment! I'm looking at cleaning up my site, some, so I'm looking for some inspiration.

Forget the comics themselves, what comic sites have you seen lately that are particularly well-made? And what's your criteria?

I suppose that one criteria should be a good balance between ads and content. I look at books and sites that feature innovative and beautiful websites, and they always have in common that the designer didn't have to bother fitting in unwelcome/obtrusive elements like ads. A design-only site like this, for example: http://www.csszengarden.com/ -- would that look as nice with a skyscraper, a banner, and a network header?

Worse is when you have to add all those busy elements to a large, busy-looking comic. How do you make a website like that not look like a convoluted explosion?

Perhaps Ajax could be used to fade away the rest of the site when you view the page? Anyway, whattayall got out there?
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Re: Well-made comic websites

Postby carsonfire on Sun Sep 13, 2009 7:16 pm

Since posting this, I decided on a template called Agregado from WordPress. It's not what I intend for publishing comics, but it is one of the nicest looking WP templates I've seen.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/09 ... ess-theme/

One thing I'm thinking about experimenting with is using Lightbox to post some comics within pages. The faster DSL I'm using allows me to better go through comics archives than with the slow dialup, but I still find it kind of annoying to build a completely new page for each comic. Especially for a story comic, where action should flow some, it seems like it might be better to at least batch some together -- so, for example, you might read six comics on one web page, then advance to the next web page to read six more.

This would lessen the cartoonist's pageviews, and decrease the amount of ads viewed per comic. But maybe the reduction in reader annoyance would be worth the trade-off.

If you don't know what Lightbox is, here it is displaying some character sketches:

http://antelucan.com/?p=56

They can be batched together as a group, which means that when you click on one thumbnail, not only does the image pop open over the page, but also rudimentary navigation, so you can go immediately forward or back without closing the image.

I think it's nice that it also takes away the need to work the full-sized comic into the web page design, which is really tough, and causes most webcomic pages to be huge and busy.
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Re: Well-made comic websites

Postby Canterrain on Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:29 am

I'm probably biased, but I think the new look of Xyliatales (http://www.xyliatales.com) does an excellent job of balancing ads and webcomicness.

I also think terra comic (http://terra-comic.com/) is very beautiful. She changes up the look somewhat frequently too, and keeps a screen shot of the old looks. It's kind of fun to see how it has evolved.

And while again I may be biased, I think www.wingedwolfstudio.com is an excellent resource for webcomic in general, but also specifically the designing and setting up website aspects of the whole thing as well.
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Re: Well-made comic websites

Postby carsonfire on Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:16 am

All three are beautiful! :D

Xylia has always looked nice, and it also stands out as being the only one of the three that has to cope with the kind of large ads and stuff I was talking about. Even our Keenspot newsbox is bigger than any of the ads on the other two pages.

Terra-comic's sidebar makes good use of CSS opacity, which is something I recently picked up, too. It's a nice way to make a mouseover effect for link art without having to make extra art for the effect.
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