The art of using WordPress for webcomics

WORDPRESS FOR WEBCOMICS

Internet comics can be traced back to the pre-internet age. According to Wikipedia

Early webcomics were usually derivatives from strips in college newspapers, but when the Web became widely popular in the mid-1990s, more people started creating comics exclusively for this medium. By the year 2000, various webcomic creators were financially successful and webcomics became more artistically recognized. Unique genres and styles became popular during this period. Wikipedia 

Looking for comics on the internet isn’t that hard. Sites like Top Web Comics and Webcomics keep up with the industry including various webcomics. I have always liked the idea of creating comics, and the internet now gives me a platform to take a spin.

So I made a webcomic. I wanted to test out a couple of plugins for posting webcomics. Using WordPress for webcomics can be a valuable piece of content for engaging your customers.

Today I am going to talk about what I learned.

Spoiler alert: I had fun. 

WordPress for webcomics
Screenshot of my webcomic

Creating a Comic

Creating a comic is fun but a little more complicated than you might originally think. There are at least three things you need to create a comic.

First, you need your graphic images. Next, you need a story, however short it may be. Finally, you need your characters. Your story is going to have characters to make it move forward.

Images
There are many ways you can go about getting your images. For example, most stock photo sites sell licensing to various vector graphics that are made for comics. You can use them, edit in a vector graphics software or whatever you need to do with that image.

Another option is to use Canva. I was amazed at some of the images they had ready made that can be used. Canva is what I did to create my little comic story.

Finally, hire an illustrator. If you are going all out, swinging for the fences, get a professional illustrator. A professional illustrator will be more costly, but you will have a more custom, professional product.

The Adventures of MainWP Man

 

Story
You need a story. It needs to, at least, contain a story arc. By that I mean you have characters such as a protagonist, a villain (the bad guy) and someone who helps the protagonist (in this case MainWP Man). There needs to be adversity, some kind of pain, and there needs to be a resolution.

Characters
In my story, I made the villain, Slother, who causes the business owner’s website to be too slow.

Slother the villain

The owner reaches out and gets the help from MainWP Man and his sidekick, MainWP Boy.

MainWP Man & MainWP Boy to the rescue

The resolution speeds up the computer and the business owner is doing business again.

Faster website and satisfied business owner

As you can see in the story, our hero, MainWP Man uses the power of MainWP to help the business owner’s website run faster.

That’s all for this episode

WordPress for webcomics

WordPress is an ideal place to put a webcomic. Indeed, there are even a few plugins made specifically for displaying webcomics. The plugins are built on a custom post type setup.

The good thing about using one of the plugins is you have a place to have taxonomies that are already built into the plugin. However, I noticed on the two I tested that it was a little difficult to pick up the display and it never seemed to do what I wanted it to do. I’m sure with some time and code customization a developer can do what he or she wants.

If you, however, are setting up something quickly to display a webcomic once in a while, it could be a bit too much than needed.

One could take advantage of one of the Custom Post Type setups as well and I think they would work really well. It might be quicker to use your CPT of choice rather than trying one of the plugins.

Another drawback of the plugins is they do not seem updated very often. Perhaps Your own solution would be a better choice.

Finally, I used Beaver Builder for the layout (note: not sure how long I will leave this page up) along with its gallery feature. Frankly, it was much easier as I really didn’t need the taxonomies.

Therefore, I think one of the easiest things to use for a webcomic display is to use your favorite page builder. A gallery can also help display your webcomics.

If you are looking to have multiple stories and characters, then using a CPT plugin or one of the webcomic plugins might be a better solution. It depends on the purpose of your webcomic.

Observations

So, in terms of setting up a WebComic on WordPress, the plugins seem to be a simple solution that is based on custom post types. It makes sense really.

If you plan on creating and posting multiple WebComics with multiple panels and chapters, you may consider using a CPT type setup. The layouts seemed to be limited from what I can tell. The layouts weren’t something that was easy to customize out of the box.

For a long-term project with multiple chapters, characters, stories, and all that goes with a comics, I would definitely recommend a CPT type of setup so that you can attach taxonomies to make it easier for the reader to sort and search.

The plugins I looked at are a good solution, but they are free and some haven’t been updated in some time. As a developer, you would be better to use your own CPT process.

If you are going to create short comics and don’t need the extra taxonomy, then using something like Beaver Builder might be a great way to display your comic.

Conclusion

I liked creating the webcomic and believe I can do them by using an efficient process. There is a need for different types of content in our businesses and this could be something that helps you stand apart.

Have you ever thought about using webcomics for your business or publication? Drop a note in the comments and let me know!

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Donata Stroink-Skillrud
Donata Stroink-Skillrud
President of Agency Attorneys