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Creating Digital Comics
How easy is it to make an electronic comic and get it online and out there? Pretty easy.
Once you've created your comic, you can make a .cbz/.cbr file
by zipping up a folder of incrementally numbered images and changing the file name (in a lot of zip software you can do this in one go as it lets you set the name of the zip folder):
A Comic Book Archive file or Comic Book Reader File is a type of archive file for the purpose of sequential viewing of images, especially comic books. The idea was made popular by the CDisplay image viewer; since then, many viewers for different platforms have been created.
There's a guide on how make .cbr files here
Once you've created a .cbz file you can convert it into a PDF or EPUB format using the eBook management software Calibre
, a free and open source e-book computer software that organizes, saves and manages e-books, supporting a variety of formats. The software is available for Windows, mac, Linus and Portable devices.
If you're a Windows user, you can also do this using Comic Rack
which will convert a zip file into a CBZ or PDF.
• Altern8's iDream
• Amazon's Digital Text Platform
for getting your books on Kindle and the iPad through their own app is at http://dtp.amazon.co.uk
2000AD publisher Rebellion's digital platform
comiXology are making their developer tools available to select small publishers, see
Interested small publishers can sign up, so you can get on the inside track here: www.comixology.com/self_authoring_signup/
feature on their services, among others.
Graphic.ly announced new features like moving to HTML5 in mid-2011
and allowing you comics to be embeddable in other pages.
Initially, we have set it up where any creator can submit their work to firstname.lastname@example.org
and within 24-48 hours, their book will appear within the network," they said in an announcement, "and more importantly, the community will help curate the content.
"... By the way, when a book is submitted to Graphicly, if its approved, we will work with the creators to help them to submit their work to places outside the Graphicly Network, be it the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, or even other digital comic online stores."
Graphicly has opened its site to be "pitched to" by any number of publishers or solo creators hoping to allow their comics to connect with readers on their own terms. "Every publisher and creator will have complete control over their own project," the project's runner, Micah Baldwin explained to Comic Book Resources
. "For example, if a creator decides that they don't want their content shared – Marvel does this through a fractured strategy where they work with different partners on different platforms – they'll be able to restrict what platforms it's going to be on. But our process is a two-tiered process where we first check ourselves that the submission is not heavy porn or copyrighted material.
"The second process is where the community itself curates the content to let the best stuff bubble up. It'll be going through a review process once it's on the site. People can see books and review them, and once they achieve a certain level, they'll enter into our promotional engine. Up until then, it'll be the creator's job to promote their own content."
LongBox have been quiet for a while now but as of mid-2011 were gearing up for their shot at this field and they will be specifically setup to allow small press/indie comics publisher get on there from Day One:
"The release delay resulted in an accelerated refinement of the production tools," developer Rantz Hoseley told Bleeding Cool
, "which makes it not only easier for publishers to schedule content, automatically process it, and validate the files, but it also makes it possible for us to support independent and self-publishersnow, as opposed to nine months from now (which was the original timeframe).
Longbox will come pre-installed on Notion Ink's ADAM tablet, which is due for release later in 2011 and may prove a solid competitor for the iPad. Their reader will be released for iPad, PC, Mac and mobile phones, which could mean excellent coverage.
You can also get on the iPad through Print on Demand publisher Lulu: www.lulu.com/apple-ipad-publishing
• ROK Comics
Recently back in operation, mobile comics publisher Rok has published three iPhone apps featuring creator owned material (see www.rokcomics.com
), but you need to be prepared to promote your app yourself if you want sales - so far they have been modest on all three released. Your assets need to be 480 x 480 panels, 16-18 pt lettering.
This is because the material - as long as it isn't 18 material or religious - might be suitable for ROK's Indian WAP subscription services where the telecom partner, Airtel is getting reasonable sales. (The strips will appear on smaller screens so text needs to be legible across devices). Comics by Indian publishers take the lion's share of sales, but there is some pick up/experimentation by readers there.
Anyone who tried this platform before can still access their assets via www.rokcomics.com/index_old.php
or message John Freeman
if you want more information.
ROK also have an i-pad app in development.
A cheaper and easier way of getting on the iPad which also includes Barnes and Noble's Nook reader. You can also sign up here: http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com
Other Distribution Methods
• You might also want to investigate the 'Not 99' method
and self publish your comics. Warren Ellis
commented on this here
on his forum.
• Comic creator DJ Hoffman
has another idea for doing this here
• If you're very tech capable there is always the route of building an html5 version of your comic which is what the Financial Times
has done (one of the team talks about the challenges of that here: http://aboutus.ft.com/2011/06/07/ft-web-app-technical-qa/
). They did this to bypass the percentage of sales that is levied by Apple, Google etc.
Elsewhere on the web...
• General Self-Publishing Thread on the 2000AD Official Forum
• Creating WebComics: A Brief Guide
• Online Comic Creator Tools
Compiled with thanks to The Emperor and the 20o0AD Forum