sequential daze

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Project Wonderful adverts

You might have noticed I set up a side column which contains various links and also some Project Wonderful advertising spaces. (This is seperate from the banner adverts running across the top of the Graphic Smash or Comic Genesis sites - the $$$ from those goes to the respective site hosts).

I'm not a huge fan of advertising but Project Wonderful makes it easy for other webcartoonists to advertise their comics at a "market set" rate. It also allows the person offereing the space (in this case me) the chance to make a bit of income. How much money comes in depends, usually, on how popular the comic is. Those with higher readership invariably attract a greater asking price for their site based on an ongoing bidding process.

Magellan advertising space is currently going for between 1 and 2 cents per day... that's opposed to some other comics that can net $10-20 per day per advert! It's only early days yet but hopefully it will increase to a little bit more over the coming months. I certainly don't expect to make a living off of it (although that would be nice) but any additional income is always useful.

Part of what needs to happen is for me to increase the Magellan readership. It's better than it was this time last year and the number of visitors seems to creep up a little bit each month. I'm certainly still doing this for the love not the money - but I believe Magellan is a great webcomic and that a lot more people should be reading it and enjoying it. Anyway, that's for me to think about.

In the meantime, if you do see an ad that takes your fancy - please click on it!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Charisma on Twitter!

I should probably have my head examined for this... charisma_E is using Twitter ...and in some bizarre 4th wall breach our universe's Twitter is somehow relaying her feed! Spooky.

Will be an interesting experiment. I know that John Allison tried something similar with Shelly Winters (aka Dr Lady Sounds) one of his Scary-Go-Round characters but pulled the plug on it after a couple of weeks.

Anyway, check it out - Ms Pop Princess just started her account yesterday and already there's 50+ tweets.

I'm having a total blast with this so far. Let's see how long the novelty lasts! I've not paid all that much attention to Twitter in the past although I can see it's an interesting way of communicating and now I've dabbled a bit I really like the 140 character limit a lot more than I thought I would. It's ideally suited to Charisma too!

The stepping on point was just a few hours prior to the events of the Bad Karma storyline and I'm attempting some in narrative tweeting here... Charisma's tweets might sound familiar because they're referencing events that have already happened from the point of view of the Magellan webcomic reader. What's been really fun about it is that I've retold the events between pages 4.39 and 4.277 as they unfolded in real time using Charisma tweets! Those 236 pages covered a day in Magellan time and took me well over 2.5 years to tell - but about 30 posts over 20 hours on Twitter. So far there have been plenty of cameos from other characters too.

If you want to read from the start you'll have to go to the latest page, scroll to the bottom and click on "More"... and just keep clicking back until there's no more "More". It seems that there is no way of linking to the first post in a way that will then allow readers to then move through the rest of the archive - Twitter could really learn a thing from webcomics which handle archives and navigating thru first/previous/next/current updates a lot better.

So where to next? I definitely won't keep up the pace of updates... once the excitement of the dragon attack wears off and everything settles back to "normal" or what passes for it at Magellan then it'll probably be about 1-2 tweets a day. I still have the next 10 or so days leading up to the ceremony (and we all know how Charisma feels about that!). Beyond that... who knows? There is a certain incident in about two months time that involves a certain blue energy entity and a firebreathing Gabby. Let's see if I can make it that far!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

5.15 - on changing Jenna Zots!

I mentioned in a small note under page 5.15 that I've changed the colour of Jenna Zots eyes... the bit that would normally be the white and iris are now solid red and the bit that would normally be the pupil is now yellow. It looks quite freaky, but that was the intention... I wanted to "demon her up" a bit more. As part of doing that I went back thru the other pages in this scene (5.12-5.14) and recoloured her eyes. I probably should go back thru the previous 500 pages and change her eyes wherever she appears throughout (not all that often) and also change any instances where other Forn (Jenna's people) appear.

If you've read through the whole archive you would have noticed the horned, blue skins have turned up several times.
Here's a bit of creative background to the Forn. Bif's first appearance (noted above) was also the first instance of any character with blue skin, horns and a shaved head. The very next scene (page 1.19) shows "John" (who doesn't have a shaved head) and Biskart En (who appears partially bald).

So far, so good - I was thinking to myself that these were maybe a race of refugee demons who work on Magellan Island - but didn't do an awful lot of design or development beyond that. When I got to page 1.21 I had one First Year cadet that I really didn't like (she had utterly lame powers, so lame I won't even say!) and decided to replace her with a first year cadet from those race of horned, blue skinned demons... and that's where Jenna Zots (who also appears partially bald) came into the picture. It isn't until the History special that her people are officially named as refugee Forn demons from the realm of Fassique.

As noted, Jenna has had a very minimal role in stories to date. She's been seen in backgrounds but today's update is the first time she's ever spoken! We've seen Biskart En and "John" in other scenes. Over time I have been slowly building up a profile of the Forn in my mind (like what is the significance of the head shaving/non hair shaving? etc) plus a backstory which I really hope to get a chance to tell at some point (it sure isn't going to happen in this story!). Something else that's been building up around the Forn has been their visual design. On page 2.39 Jenna can be seen ascending the Tower - and clearly does not have a tail and, given that she is wearing boots, probably isn't likely to have cloven hooves either! Also, until recently, all Forn have had white horns not black horns.

All these visual inconsistencies are a result of how I created the vast Magellan universe. Five years ago, as I populated the many, many background characters that were to most form the background story a lot of visual concepts and characteristics were very simply thought through. Case in point being the Forn.

Now that I'm at a point where a Forn is going to feature in a story I'm revising some of the earlier designs. As I work on this story I might think (for example) "it would be so much cooler if Jenna and the Forn had black horns, or cloven hooves, or red eys, etc". Since these small details haven't played any major role in previous back continuity I'm doing an "in-continuity ret-con" (if that even makes sense!). (And that isn't the only instance of this type of redesign, you may have noticed the look of the cadet's uniform has changed from chapter to chapter.)

I'm much happier now with the visual design of Jenna and the Forn so there probably won't be any more changes. But there might be for other characters and/or their costumes along the way. They will all be subtle (like Fatima isn't going to suddenly get legs instead of tentacles) and won't effect back story but they will all hopefully help to mature the visual appeal of characters and their overall design.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Comp-art competition

OK - the competition is now closed. Many thanks to the entrants!

There weren't as many entries as I might have expected - 9 submissions from 7 entrants... but I'm extremely grateful for, and awed by, what I have received.

The GALLERY OF ENTRIES is online here.

Winners to be announced soon... making a decision WILL NOT be easy!