Friday, February 24, 2006


In a press release last week, Komikwerks, the digital comics publisher, announced some new hirings and new deals, including print collections of online strips and ebooks. No word on the ebook distribution end of things, though.

According to Komikwerks co-founder Patrick Coyle, the new hires will hopefully spruce up the site:

“Fans have already undoubtedly noticed a change over the last month,” said Coyle. “There have been a number of new columns appearing on a regular basis, we have rants and interviews coming out with a greater frequency, and some of the online strips have moved to daily releases.” Coyle explained that content areas are the major focus for Komikwerks. “We’re not a news and review site. There are so many sties out there that do such a good job with that there isn’t really a need for us to concentrate in that area. So rather we’ve formed partnerships with Comics2film, etc. to let them provide us with quality comics news.

A good thing, too: many of the features and columns, including prominent headliners like Stan Lee's Soapbox, are long out-of-date.

As well, the company seems to be all over the place in terms of comics delivery platforms, without any sort of logic. PSP, ebooks, and webcomics all see, to be vying for attention. No new high-profile creators or series seem on the horizon for the publisher, either.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Advertising Insights

Web Comics and Ads

Frequential became interested in the world of web advertising and comics after reading this exchange at The Comics Reporter about ads on the Dilbert webcomic discussed at webpronews.

In an email to Spurgeon, Todd Allen notes:
"Those Google Ads are on the Dilbert blog, not on the main Dilbert site with the strip. They're using standard, image-based banner ads on that site. Contextual Ads like Google Adwords are the de facto standard for blogs, so the fact Scott Adams is using them on a blog is pretty much a sign that the original columnist had run out of material.

Google Ads are served based on the text on a web page and in the text contained in certain tags in the HTML, so unless you have a lot of copy surrounding your online comic, it is questionable how well Google Ads will be able to function, relative to thier business model."

As well, other sites were honestly discussing their own advertising strategies. Jonah Weiland at ComicBookResources talked about the use of google ads at the CBR forums:

"Yes, today I instituted Google's AdSense program on the CBR Forums. I've been experimenting with them on the main site using only unsold inventory I have and have seen some nice results that have generated a little extra revenue.

After reading through Google's various FAQs I came across a suggestion to add Google AdSense ads to communities like the CBR Forums. The truth of the matter with forums is that generally the reader can train his/her eye to avoid any ads on the page. Thus, forums generate little income for the site owners. The click-thru rates for ads that run on the main CBR web site are much better than for the ads that run in forums. That means forums themselves are generally a money looser.

Now, with the ads placed at the bottom of a thread, there's a greater chance people might click on them, which is the key to success for any ad based Web site. (Remember, clicking the ads you see on your favorite Web sites helps keep that site running) Plus, through Google AdSense, we might be able to make the forums generate some revenue, although it's certainly not going to make us millionaires!

Google AdSense also does contextual based advertising, which means it will at least attempt to deliver ads that will be meaningful to the user. It scans the page it's hosted on and tries to feed you ads based on what you're reading. It doesn't always work perfectly, but it's pretty darn good.

It's an experiment that I'll be keeping a close eye on. I don't think it's too intrusive and doesn't harm the browsing experience. If I don't see reasonable results from the number of impressions we feed, then I'll take it off. If it does well, that will mean good things for all of us (i.e. expansion of the forums, the Web sites, resources we offer, etc.)."

Other tech wizards spend their time developing tools to make online comics searchable through Google:

Comics For Google Sidebar

By Nathan Weinberg
Comic Junkie has created the first third-party Google Sidebar plugin I've seen, one that displays the first panel of new comic strips for you to read.
(via Brad Hill )

The main webcomics syndicate, Keenspot, has a very sophisticated advertising strategy (and a small $25K annual budget) and specific ideas about making internet ads work for their cartoonists:

The option to include Keenspot-supplied Google Adsense text advertisements on their site is now available to our creators. We work with creators to implement the text ads using the most effective methods available. Keenspot plans to join the Premium Adsense service, which supplies a variety of Adsense advantages not available to clients receiving less than 20 million pageviews monthly. Keenspot also plans to pay to have the archives of every Keenspot comic transcribed in text form. This will not only allow each comic to be fully searchable, it will also allow Google Adsense to deliver more effective and targeted advertising on every page they appear.

More articles:

*Comixpedia discusses all forms of blog advertising here.

*A primer for using advertising on webcomics sites here.

*The latest news about unauthorized use of brand keywords in Google ads (lawsuit) here.

Anime Exodus

Found on The Beat:

On the music meets comics front, and tying in with the New York Comic-con this weekend, the ultra cool Knitting Factory club in NY presents Anime Exodus, a dj'd party featuring "MARI IIJIMA, J-pop sensation and voice of Lynn Minmay [MACROSS], who will perform an extended set of her original music plus a few favorites from Macross just around midnight"

KF//KF Presents...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Arf Lovers Blog

The second week of Craig Yoe's new blog, serving in part to hype his latest books on comics history (Arf Museum, Modern Arf, etc). A unique blog with a focus on classic comics and newspaper strips. It also has several unique features including Wonderwoman Wednesdays when Yoe posts a photo of someone wearing a WW costume.

Worht checking in, if only to follow the link to Batman's Blog by Johnny Ryan (from Friday February 17, 2006).

Arf Lovers Blog

Warren Ellis gets Blog Tech Advice

Lots of tech-talk in the comments section for people who use obscure programs to create feeds and post pretty pictures. � Interweb Stuff Is Beyond Me Now

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Comic books Explain Tech in Namibia

BBC NEWS | Technology | CDs and comics offer digital aid

So in April, they came up with the paper-based Hai TI comic, which means Listen Up in the local language, Oshiwambo.

"It is printed every Tuesday in the local youth newspaper, so it goes across the country. What is in the comic is also all online," said Ms Haotuikulipi.

The colourful gang of characters explain technology and what it can be used for through stories, just like a conventional comic adventure.

When they talk about e-mail or downloading, for example, information panels near the speech bubbles offer an explanation and web addresses for readers to follow.

The characters are based on actual SchoolNet staff members and the comic has been such a hit that they are becoming minor celebrities. And word is spreading.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cartoon Controversy Update

Protests and Editorial Reactions Continue

The three main Canadian stories relating to the publication of cartoon depictions of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish Newspaper:

1.Large demonstrations in Canadian cities. Following protests in Montreal and Toronto last week, Vancouver and Ottawa are the sites of latest protests.

2.Toronto student newspaper publishes a cartoon of Jesus and Mohammed kissing: - U of T paper defends publication of cartoon
-The Strand: Victoria University, Toronto

3.Canadian publications reprint Danish cartoons amid protests:
-Jewish Free Press publishes multiple images
-New Muslim newspaper planned

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Manga Uploading Case

Manga Blog tracks the arrest of manga cafe owners who neglected to pay royalties, link courtesy Comics Reporter:

The logic is that you’re actually helping the author, because once a book builds a following it is more likely to be licensed, bringing in extra income for everyone. My own two cents would be that you’re unlikely to deprive the author of income because an untranslated manga is unlikely to sell many copies before it is licensed. On the other hand, I have no problem agreeing that once it’s licensed, scanlating is out of bounds:

when you scanlate licensed manga, you deprive manga-ka of their royalties. So do us all a favor: don’t scanlate licensed manga. And when the published version comes out in your country, support the author by purchasing the book. It’s the very least we can do.

MangaBlog � Blog Archive � Three arrested for posting manga on the net

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Lynn Johnston on Cartoon Controversy

News Link Source: The Comics Reporter

Syndicated cartoonist Lynn Johnston of Dor Better or Wose fame weighs in on the current world-wide controversy over depictions of the prophet Muhammed in a press release from her syndicate:

"I believe these cartoons have a right to exist. The media does not have the right to use them callously in the name of freedom. Freedom for whom? If one innocent person dies because of this capricious incident, publishers must accept the blame.

On behalf of conscientious humorists and illustrators worldwide, I want to say to the nation of people who have been understandably offended – an apology is due. This is not comedy. If a cartoon or a statement causes such pain, it enters the category of hate literature and should be treated as such."

Universal Press Syndicate: News Release

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cartoonists on iTunes

Over at the Comics Journal board, this little tidbit:

"I was searching through the iTunes music store and happened across the R. Crumb Fresh Air interview.* I had no idea that this audio content was available there. I did a couple more searches. The Master class in cartooning that Chris Ware and Charles Burnes did last year for the New Yorker is there as well. There are a couple of Spiegelman interviews also. If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, head on over."

Cartoonists on iTunes - The Comics Journal Message Board

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shojo Beat

First Annual Shojo Beat Music Awards
by Joseph Holley

For someone whose knowledge of Japanes music extends only as far as Damo Suzuki, Yellow Magic Orchestra, the soundtracks of 1960s monster movies, and garage acts like the 5678s & Guitar Wolf, this is very educational --if only some young person would explain it to me.

"Welcome to our first ever Shojo Beat Music Awards! To bring you the best in J-Music, we scoured the trendiest corners of the Japanese music scene in search of the most inspiring and entertaining musicians. We've nominated more than two dozen of the hottest acts in 2005 in five different categories—Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop, R&B, and Rising Star—but only the best of the best come away with our coveted and prestigious Shojo Beat Music Award! While some of our nominees may already be familiar to those of you who are tuned into Japanese music, we hope that everyone will discover something new that's worth a listen. After all, there's more than enough here to fill up your iPod—and no evening gown or tux is required."

Shojo Beat: "First Annual Shojo Beat Music Awards"