Joe Alterio's blog on illustration, comix, design, animation, and other bouts of total awesomeness.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Clickwheel relaunch

As some of you may remember, I'm part of an online webcomic and mobile comic group, Clickwheel, that hosts some of my comics (about 2/3s of 365, the first few episodes of The Basic Virus, as well as a few comic-casts). A while ago I stopped uploading for a few reasons, namely, that I got a lot of web traffic but little restitution, it had poor marketing, and that process of and design of reading comics was unintuitive, and frankly, kinda lame. I'm happy to report, however, that in subsequent 6 months of furlough, it was bought by 2000 AD and that it is trying to reinvent itself as a destination again, an effort which I heartily applaud.

Part of their effort is (gasp! shock!) actually commissioning exclusive content for Clickwheel. The above panel is part of the second chapter of Colin White's fantastic series "Comics on Small Screens", an experiment of his in which he tries to tell stories by pushing the envelope of how many panels a screen can handle before it stops making sense. Loyal readers of this blog may remember that Colin and I were both invited to South Korea to talk about mobile comics, but Colin couldn't make it: nevertheless, I consider him my (somewhat more talented) brother-in-arms when it comes to trying drum up support and discussion about possibilities of mobile comics. I'm also totally flattered to report I make an unexpected cameo in his new series. Thanks, Colin. Go get it!

My main issue with CW, and one unfortunately that still hasn't been addressed, is
the actual physical process of getting the comics on your phone or iPod. It's tough to be in the tech biz these days: things move so damn fast, what used to be a project about comics on iPods (hence the name, "Clickwheel", already outmoded) has now necessarily turned into a project about comics on iPhones and iTouches. The duct-tape and bubblegum patch that was first initially proposed - just providing customers with JPGs they can download and put onto their mobile device - is unfortunately still around, and feels as caveman as ever. However, I have been assured that a CW reader app is in the works, and with iPhones now having not only wifi capability but WAP push, one has to assume that a smoother process - like just subscribing to your favorite comic and having it show up on your phone every day, a la RSS - is right around the corner. One has to assume. Fingers crossed.

Nevertheless, check out what CW has to offer anyway: its definitely light years ahead of what most other big slow stupid media companies are doing with content, it's cool, it's now more community oriented, and it's run by really nice guys. I'll go back to uploading new work too, and maybe develop something for them: the potential for instant comics to you wherever you are is just too great.

1 comment:

Kevin O said...

I think that the iPod "touch" (dumb name in my opinion - couldn't they call it the Ocelot or something?) could really make the webcomics viable - with the multitouch interface and everything.

You can make a bigger panel that people see in a wide perspective, then they can zoom in with the two-finger pull and scroll across just by dragging - it's actually a much easier and more intuitive interface, potentially, than even a traditional mouse - I mean, dragging your finger across a page as you read just FEELS right, we've been doing it since the days of hieroglyphics...

Yes yes, very promising...