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Fancomics for all fandoms
Places to post multi-page fancomics 
2nd-Jan-2010 09:51 am
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I've been pondering places to post fancomics after experimenting a bit with An Archive of Their Own and DeviantArt.

So: I'd say there are three types of fancomics. One off single pages/panels, multi-page stories, and ongoing webcomics.

All three need some sort of image hosting and some way for other fans to find them (assuming you want that) The latter two also need some way to navigate between the pages of the comic.

Now the different options I can think of:

  • Your own server/image hosting: Can be as nicely set up as you like, but people are unlikely to stumble across it unless they're interested in your stuff already. A bit of a pain to set up. Probably doesn't offer comments (all the other options do).
  • DeviantArt: hosts the images for you and has a basic but functional search function based on tags and descriptions. You have to put in any links between pages yourself (which a lot of people mess up), and the gallery and favouriting systems etc treat them as individual images, though you can put them into collections (I think? This feature confuses me :)). Very popular, huge number of fancomics.
  • Webcomic hosting sites: These make the navigation between pages really easy and are probably the best option for an ongoing webcomic. Not particularly set up for fannishness afaict, and overkill for really short comics.
  • Livejournal or other blogging platform: You have to set up your own image hosting, otherwise roughly equivalent to posting fic to lj. There's much less of a community of fancomic artists reccing each other or having communities to post to though which makes it harder to find and share stuff. Easy to post ongoing webcomics. There's a few communities to post stuff to, eg hpcomics and fancomiccentral.
  • AO3: You have to set up your own image hosting. Is set up for fic, but you can use the "chapter" option for each page and add notes etc in a fairly unobtrusive way. Tags and searching work well and allow you to target specific types of stories really well. Multiple stories in the same series can be linked. Has VERY few fancomics.

I am sure I am missing some, and this is definitely just my opinion based on personal preferences.

So: for me at least AO3 is the best place to post multi-page but not ongoing fancomics, since the chapter setup offers good navigation, and the tags allow other fans to find the comic fairly easily. If you want to get lots of exposure DeviantArt is probably better, and maybe if I and everyone else used collections properly it wouldn't be so bad for multi-page comics.

I post my single page comics to DeviantArt first but if they actually have a bit of a story I also post them to AO3, working on the assumption that the presumably-fanfic-oriented readers there probably aren't looking for out and out fanart but might enjoy a story-in-pictures. I also posted some fanart that was linked to a fic but generally don't see the point.

I feel like the "wordcount" is a bit useless, and illustrates the assumption that everything posted to the archive is fic. I can't find any way to search for all works with less than 100 words, but it would be useful if I could.

Some examples of multi-page fancomics posted in different ways (thankyou fancomiccentral :)):

And now some webcomics (which I'm going to arbitrarily define as anything over about 20 pages, though there's more to it than that):
2nd-Jan-2010 09:15 am (UTC)
There's always ComicDish as well.
2nd-Jan-2010 09:41 am (UTC)
What are it's pros and cons? It looks like a fairly typical webcomics hosting site to me but I realise I may be missing something.
2nd-Jan-2010 10:21 am (UTC)
It is, but The Max provides a means of exchanging artwork on each other's comics.
2nd-Jan-2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Ahhh. I was mostly thinking of comics based on professionally published media like Star Trek or Harry Potter, but that's still cool.
2nd-Jan-2010 09:28 pm (UTC) - AO3 thoughts
When we add the art features (which is likely to take at least a few months, because we need to get collections stable first, if not subscriptions as well), one of the things we'll probably do is change wordcount to dimensions for anything tagged as art. Medium will probably be a "wuzzle" field just like fandom, pairing, rating, etc. and you could label it as fic, art, mixed media, digital, pencil sketch, or whatever.

It's good to know the Archive is working for fanart even now, though, so thank you :)
3rd-Jan-2010 02:37 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
Awesome, I look forward to it! (Though a lot of stuff will contain text and multiple pieces of art..but I'm sure you'll work something out)
3rd-Jan-2010 05:29 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
How about things that are both? What about things with multiple images?

(I would say that one should be able to tag it both, and then it should count words, count images, and give the dimensions of the largest image.)
3rd-Jan-2010 05:41 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
And of course there's the difference between an illustrated fanfic, and a fancomic which contains both art and text inside the same image (plus possibly a transcript)
3rd-Jan-2010 05:51 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
And it looks like there's currently pretty much zero infrastructure for helping get image content transcribed/described usefully for readers with visual impairments or browsers that don't take images. One can always code in one's alt tags by hand, of course, but doing that feels somehow strangely barren next to the rest of the assortment of lush features already present for text.
3rd-Jan-2010 06:11 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
Actually I checked and the "insert image" option in Rich Text mode comes with a description option, I just tried it out and it's fairly painless.
3rd-Jan-2010 06:13 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
Oh, Rich Text. LJ's RTE and then a certain green-and-orange-themed Scottsdale hosting company's WYSIWYWYG editor has put me off those, perhaps for life. Is it actually usable?
3rd-Jan-2010 06:25 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
I was going to say "Me too" but my ire doesn't extend to actually having a specifically anti-RTE icon :)

I've used it once or twice and it wasn't too bad. If you used it to add images and switched back afaict all you'd gain is a few paragraph tags.
3rd-Jan-2010 09:09 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
I have that as an interest as well (both on DW and LJ). Most of the people with that as an interest are either volunteer-affiliated (and had to either deal with support requests about RTE brokenness) or are in the same social cloud as volunteer-affiliated people, and had to put up with us. (Some of them just tried to use it.)

See, back in the far back days (that is to say just over a year ago), I took to getting a dev's attention in IRC by saying his name and "boobies", asking a technical question while I had his attention, then making with cleavage pics. This turned into the Tits Against The RTE campaign we know and love today.
5th-Jan-2010 04:12 am (UTC) - Re: AO3 thoughts
Ahhhhh. And it all makes sense. Yes, I've had enough trouble with the RTE just from people on my flist using it, I can only imagine how annoying it must be for support volunteers.
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