Help, Support and Suggestions

How does a comic get featured?
skoolmunkee at 6:23AM, Jan. 4, 2007
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This is a question that we get asked relatively often, so I thought I'd answer it here. :)

Currently, featured comics get featured because they've come to an admin's attention and we feel that the comic is noteworthy. So, what makes a comic noteworthy? There are some easy answers and some more difficult ones.

We want to feature comics where it's evident someone works hard at and cares about it, where we think they deserve recognition, where we think Drunk Duck members will enjoy the comic, and that make Drunk Duck look good. :) We want the featured comics to be a collection of examples so we can say “look what great comics are here, there's something on DD for everyone!”

Update regularly, and often. A comic that is amazing but only updates once every 3 weeks, or keeps missing updates, isn't going to get featured. I have a huge list of “I wish I could feature these” comics, but I can't in good conscience send people to a comic that seems to be struggling even to update.

If a comic is over, or hasn't updated in months, it won't be featured. There won't be anything in the future for people to read.

Don't have a comic rated “adult” … we have nothing against adult comics, they're just not something we're comfortable promoting on the front page. Everyone, teen, and mature are ok. Take note, even if your comic is mostly teen or whatnot, but you have one or two comics in your archive that are really offensive or adult, it's not likely to be featured. We do try to go through a comic's entire archive before featuring it.

We won't feature a comic that is consistently in the Top 10 Strips/Stories- they get constant front page exposure already. :)

Comics using copyrighted material or characters (most sprites, fan comics, or comics made using games like Everquest) won't get featured. Sorry. :/

Have more than 20 pages. 15 is the bare minimum - we prefer a bigger number, but basically, we want something there that has established the comic's story, style, and ability to update regularly. There have been a very few comics (less than 5) that were featured before 20 pages and they were pretty exceptional. Most comics need at least 15 pages to really get rolling.

Other factors are more nebulous and we can't always define them. What makes a comic “good” is often very subjective, and what one person loves another person may hate. We prefer comics with both good art and good writing - comic-craft is a mix of the two (and then some)… we try not to be too biased about it, but if a comic is good at one of them but quite poor at the other, then it's not a very good example of comic-craft, really. We don't ask that featured comics be perfect, but we do want them to be distinct from the pack (in a good way). Being “distinct” can mean a lot of things - an unusual premise, spectactular art, being consistently funny, etc… how “good” a comic is, is the most important factor in being featured and unfortunatelly it's the hardest for us to qualify. Sometimes we just can't identify why we do or don't feature a comic. Maybe it just grabs us, or doesn't.

How do we come to notice a comic?

There's a few ways we come to notice comics. (I can't speak for all the admins here, but this is my experience.)

1. I notice you or your comic on the forums, in someone's comments, in something that someone else said, etc…. this is fairly random and pretty much anything can come to my attention. However, I spend most of my DD time in the forums so I'm more likely to come across something there.

2. I've gone through the Browse/Search area looking for names and thumbnails that catch my eye. This takes a long time but it's less random. :)

3. Someone has told me about the comic. Either I've asked them for their opinion, they've PQed me on their own with a suggestion, or someone has told me themselves about their own comic…. sometimes unknowingly, like if they're PQing me for a different reason. So far, people PQing me to tell me about comics doesn't happen too often… it's not unwelcome, but I don't want to get flooded with it. :) However, it's still another way for me to notice a comic. (Note: Black_Kitty doesn't want to receive unsolicited features suggestions.)


Of course all this noticing comics and such means that I have a really enormous (100+) list of “comics to check out” which can take a lot of time, especially because we try to read most of the archive to give them all a fair shake - I'm sure all the admins have their own lists that they don't have enough time for, either. So patience is also important!

That said, don't feel too bad if your comic, or a comic you suggested to one of the admins, doesn't get featured. Currently we feature 2 comics a week- that's only 104 comics a year when DD has thousands of comics. That's a small percentage, so that means the featured comics really need to stand out on their own two feet before we ever get to them. There's a bunch of things that will work for a comic, and also a bunch of things that might work against them. Either way we might not be able to define them. It isn't a checklist we go down, it's the general impression that we get from the comic.

I can't possibly provide a full, scientific explanation of “how to get your comic featured” because it's not really a scientific process. :) But the stuff I explained above should help.

If anyone wants to check out previously featured comics, they're listed on the news page for now. There's a link for each year so far - 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.


Please note that I don't want this thread to become “hey you should feature X comic” or “why did/didn't Y comic get featured” or “is my/the comic Z eligible to be featured” … but if someone has any other questions etc feel free to reply. :) We'll try to answer.

Edit: I already deleted one post for using this thread to just promote their own comic, don't anyone make me do it again! >:O



FAQ:

How often are features put up?
Currently, there's a new feature every Monday and Thursday. The features are getting less traffic since the main page revamp removed the admin blurbs, but if we get those back we want to go back to M-W-F.

How long is a comic featured for?
Well, it stays in the ‘past features’ list indefinitely. However, the image should stay on the main page for about 2 weeks, moving one space to the right as new features are added, until it's pushed off the main page.

Can a user have more than one of their comics be featured?
Yes! If the person has more than one really good comic, there's no reason not to feature them. It isn't about every person getting a fair chance- it's about every comic getting a fair chance.

Do you pick comics that are in the top 6-10?
We try not to- we'll definitely avoid any in the top 5, but 6-10 are more variable and that might not be a steady spot for them. Usually we don't feature anything in the top 10 just because that's pretty high already- but once in a blue moon one of the 6-10s will be featured.

Do you already have a list of comics you'll feature in the future?
We have a ‘hopper’ of comics waiting in the feature queue, though we won't usually approve them in the order they've been put in. We try to keep about two weeks' worth in the hopper at any time. So, 4-6 comics to choose from on hand when it comes to go-live time.

How do you choose the order in which comics are featured?
We try to maintain variety. Not too many color or black and white comics in a row, not too many fantasy or horror in a short period of time, if we've featured several comics with under 50 pages we'll put up a longer comic. Keep in mind some genres and styles are more prevalent on the site than others, so the odds are most featured comics are going to be T or M, fantasy, and story types (rather than strip). Westerns, for example, are pretty rare on the site in general.

Can a feature get revoked?
No, featuring is a deliberate process and if we've featured it then we mean it. The only time a feature might theoretically be revoked is if a person changed their comic to A type stuff after being featured- although by then, it would be in the archive, and most of the exposure would have dropped off.

Does filler art count as uneven updates?
For me, lots of filler in a comic's archive is a bad thing. It interrupts the flow of reading, and it makes it look like you've spent a lot of time NOT updating. I know filler art is endemic in webcomics, but maybe you should consider putting filler under a different account, or removing it from your archives after a period of time.

Does the artist or the admin pick the thumbnail?
The admin does. This keeps the featuring a surprise to the artist. However, if the artist doesn't like the thumbnail we chose, they're free to send us another (160x220) and we'll exchange it. We can't use the regular thumbnail on the comic account because it's too small.

Can I send you a PQ asking you to check out my comic?
Yes, but only if it's pressure-free. (And some of the admins don't even like that, but I'm ok with it.) It's fine to send a PQ saying ‘Hey, just thought I’d get my comic on your radar.' Fair enough, I'll add it to my list of comics to check out. DO NOT start PQing us later to ask why it hasn't been featured yet, or whether we forgot about you, etc. We have lots of comics to check out, and sure you are making yourself stand out to us- but in a bad way. Bothering us about wanting special attention for your comic isn't going to make us run to feature it.

In the same vein, PLEASE don't ask us for critiques or suggestions about your comic. You're still only asking us because you want it to be featured- it's the same thing. Firstly, reviews like that take time, and mine is just as valuable as anyone else's. Second, you're asking to ‘skip the line’ so to speak and get attention above the other 100 comics on my ‘to check out’ list (and take more time than a simple read-through). Third, if we DID review it, it's too much like promising to feature it in the future if you did those things, and we don't want to do that. Lastly, the few times I've done reviews for people when they asked, all I got was an ‘ok, thanks’ (literally) and it's put me off the whole thing. If you truly want a comic review, check out the Comic Review forum- it could use some fresh reviewers. :)
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:39PM
SomaX at 7:26PM, April 8, 2007
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I know that all factors apply when choosing a comic to be featured, but which do you concider more important: art or story?
~*~
#253 in Comic Book/Story #344 Overall ~*~ #383 in Comic Book/Story #517 Overall
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:49PM
skoolmunkee at 1:34PM, April 10, 2007
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SomaX
I know that all factors apply when choosing a comic to be featured, but which do you concider more important: art or story?

This is probably different for each admin, but I'll give you my answer.

Both the art and the story should be above-average quality, unless one or the other is really spectacular and can make up for a below-average counterpart. Say a comic with really impressive art has a somewhat weak story, that might be okay. Or a comic that is really powerfully written but doesn't have the best art would probably make it too. The tough part is that it's harder to tell good writing at a glance than it is good art. (Which is at least half the reason we try to read a whole comic's archives.)

However what happens a lot of the time is that a comic has both average art and average writing (that's how the law of averages works). They're both part of the same craft and in many ways they rely on each other. In that case there would need to be something else that sets them apart from other comics to make it special. I don't expect every comic I might feature to be perfect- but I do want them to be quite good at something, and that the other qualities of the comic can't detract from that. Bad art is going to detract from any comic, just as bad story, bad design, bad humor, etc will detract. A comic with an epic story but art that is hard to make out isn't going to make it - the art makes it so the comic is harder to understand. Or, the art may be fantastic but the story is terribly slow and boring. All the elements need to work together.

Art is often really daunting and considered the most time consuming and hardest part of making comics (writers may argue that). I know in most cases art won't be perfect, but I at least want it to be reasonably fitting, polished and understandable.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
bryan at 9:45PM, Aug. 27, 2007
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Do ya'll mind telling me what the average influx of readers is when a comic gets featured? About how many extra page views does the person get, is what I mean…

Sorry if it's not a relevant question… I was just sorta curious >.>
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:35AM
skoolmunkee at 2:57AM, Aug. 28, 2007
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It's kind of a bother for us to check that kind of thing, but when I have checked, the average is between 4000-7000 views. There have been a few that don't quite break 3000 and some that netted 9000 but they're more rare. Usually they'll get max views the day they're featured, about 2/3 of that the second day, and then small declines back to more ‘normal’ numbers within the next week or so. Most featured comics seem to gain a decent amount of long-term readers from all the ones coming in for a peek, not sure what that average is but I'd guess less than 500 in most cases, probably. I suppose 7-10% of the initial hits would be a good guess.

There are trends within that as well. Good art in the thumbnail seems to be the main factor. Comics that sound religious don't seem to get as many, and adventure and fantasy comics seem to do the best.

EDIT: Since the main page revamp, where the thumbnails are smaller and the admin blurbs aren't visible (you have to read the newspost from that day), the average is 2000-3000 new views. :(
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
CoyoteLongshot at 10:59PM, Feb. 3, 2008
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I got one.

So say a comic's been going on for a long time. At the beginning the art's pretty bad (Just pencil or something), but as the artist gets better so does the comic, and eventually the art gets really good. Would you still consider it for a feature, or do you usually only feature comics that are good all the way through?

Just curious.
I'm on the Hairway to Steven, baby!
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:47AM
skoolmunkee at 2:05AM, Feb. 4, 2008
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Hm. Well, I've had that come up a couple of times, and it ends up being about half-and-half with me. :) It kind of depends on what relative percentage is good-to-bad- if half the archives are really terrible I wouldn't feature it. If it was about 25%, that's a better chance. The thing is, we want to feature comics that people will want to read, and very often terrible art or unreadable words etc are a huge turn-off for people. It's compounded by the fact that with long-form comics, you really have to read every page, and if the first so-many pages are difficult to get through, people will lose interest.

I try to be fair though- if the art is servicable (as opposed to just really bad) and doesn't actually detract from the story, I'm more likely to feature it. If the art is a huge hurdle, its chances are poor. The stronger the story is the better chance it has. A comic is a medium using both art and story, so I have to take both into account. :)

The opposite applies though too. I've seen a few comics here with really wonderful art, but the story is totally incomprehensible, or their writing skills are so poor I can't figure out what's going on from panel to panel. They haven't been featured either.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:40PM
threeeyeswurm at 11:48AM, Jan. 11, 2009
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I have a question, let's say a comic was featured when it had 15 pages. A year later, it has 100 pages. It has become a very different comic but a very good one. Would it be possible for it to be featured again?
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
skoolmunkee at 12:52PM, Jan. 11, 2009
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Nope, a comic can only be featured once.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
Naughtelos at 3:59PM, Jan. 21, 2009
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Not to disagree with an admin, but why don't you feature comics with copyrighted material? Is it because we're “underground”? Because, say, Cru or myself, heavily modify the graphics, and don't even use World of Warcraft itself to make it (we use an application that uses the game files), making it a rather gray area, if that's a line you don't want to dance around, I understand, but it's not straight-up illegal.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
skoolmunkee at 9:53AM, Jan. 22, 2009
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Essentially it's because if the comic does not use material completely created by its team (author, artist, etc) then it leaves a door open for legal problems down the line. Technically while DD would not be responsible for that (we are happy to host that kind of thing unless we receive a cease and desist otherwise, which is what happened with a Garfield or Peanuts parody a while back), featuring it is in a way seen as an endorsement. I imagine it would also imply the company's knowledge of the practice which could theoretically cause liability problems if someone wanted to cause trouble, I dunno about legal stuff though. Basically It's a risk that Platinum would rather not take, so we've been told not to feature anything that uses copyrighted material- modified or unmodified sprites, videogame graphics, characters, etc. We've made slip ups once or twice but we try to stick to it.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
Naughtelos at 6:03PM, Jan. 28, 2009
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Right-o. Gotcha.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:09PM
Hakoshen at 11:43AM, March 12, 2009
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skoolmunkee
Essentially it's because if the comic does not use material completely created by its team (author, artist, etc) then it leaves a door open for legal problems down the line. Technically while DD would not be responsible for that (we are happy to host that kind of thing unless we receive a cease and desist otherwise, which is what happened with a Garfield or Peanuts parody a while back), featuring it is in a way seen as an endorsement. I imagine it would also imply the company's knowledge of the practice which could theoretically cause liability problems if someone wanted to cause trouble, I dunno about legal stuff though. Basically It's a risk that Platinum would rather not take, so we've been told not to feature anything that uses copyrighted material- modified or unmodified sprites, videogame graphics, characters, etc. We've made slip ups once or twice but we try to stick to it.

So does this mean mine can never be featured since it involves lightsabers, metal gears, lancers from gears of war, gamestop, wal-mart, bullet bending from wanted and certain other elements I can't recall right away?
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:41PM
skoolmunkee at 2:02AM, March 13, 2009
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Hakoshen
So does this mean mine can never be featured since it involves lightsabers, metal gears, lancers from gears of war, gamestop, wal-mart, bullet bending from wanted and certain other elements I can't recall right away?

I think that would be fine since those sound more like references or elements, not 90% of the story. Something like that is much more in line with ‘parody’ usage than a fan comic all about x-men (which may be a parody, but the entire concept of the comic is focused on a single property). I think there's a case there of ‘spreading yourself thin’ being safer than having focus- we could feature a videogame comic like PA which has a different reference every week, but not something like Nintendo Super Squad which features the same 7-8 characters over and over.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
ozoneocean at 6:42AM, May 7, 2009
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You know, the copyright issue is an interesting one.
I featured a photo-comic that used Lego space vehicles and figures. In that instance I considered that fair use and artistic licence. Those figures were not created as “art work” by the Lego company (unlike game sprites and game models), but as toys. The creator produces the art through photography. The use of the term “Lego Space” just gives the subject matter (the toys) their trade name.

So there are nebulous instances. Grey areas.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Net at 11:02AM, May 11, 2009
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skoolmunkee
Update regularly, and often. A comic that is amazing but only updates once every 3 weeks, or keeps missing updates, isn't going to get featured. I have a huge list of “I wish I could feature these” comics, but I can't in good conscience send people to a comic that seems to be struggling even to update.


Hmm.. question. Is that rule iron-clad? Ie, a comic like mine, that only updates monthly… but has updated monthly and faithfully since 2005… could never be featured? Or would it also depend on the comic itself, exceptions to the rule and what not?

>Net

Updating monthly since January, 2005!
**now full time on the Duck!**
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:12PM
ozoneocean at 10:17PM, May 11, 2009
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There are exceptions of course. :)
Your example is a good one: The updates are sparse but they're regular.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
ParkerFarker at 10:41AM, May 25, 2009
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would you feature comics that are good but only, like, a specific audience would appreciate or read it?

“We are in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.” - Blackadder
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
ozoneocean at 3:24AM, May 27, 2009
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ParkerFarker
would you feature comics that are good but only, like, a specific audience would appreciate or read it?
Yes. :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
ParkerFarker at 12:25PM, May 31, 2009
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Oh another thing, Is a comic eligible to get featured if it always updates on one day, like a Friday, but on other days at random too? Cause it still has has a schedule of always on a Friday, but then it adds a bit of surprise to any other day too.

“We are in the stickiest situation since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun.” - Blackadder
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:38PM
skoolmunkee at 3:40PM, May 31, 2009
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Yeah, that's fine. We just have a problem with a comic that only updates sporadically/irregularly with long gaps inbetween, or a comic that suddenly doesn't update for a month, etc.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Salsa at 8:58AM, June 28, 2009
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Sorry I got two, so I figured that it'd be easier to kill two birds with one stone.

1) what if a comic had a one month gap then updated fairly regularly after that?
2) if the comic really doesn't have an update schedule, can it still be featured?
RAGE!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:17PM
skoolmunkee at 3:32PM, June 28, 2009
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1) Yeah, taking breaks is fine, but I generally make sure it's been back on track for about a month or so before I'd consider featuring it.

2) it's fine not to have a set schedule, but it needs to have something fairly regularly. If there's 1 page a week, just not a consistent day, that's fine. If the comic has 3 one week, 1 the next, nothing for 2 weeks, then 2 the week after, then another week with nothing… that's not so good.

Also your sig image is too big, 480x60 max please. :]
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Annie2495 at 11:04PM, Dec. 23, 2009
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I hope this question is okay to ask ^^ Say a comic is showing improvement, it's a good thing right? But if their first pages suck and the new ones are obviously getting good, does it still qualify? Or should there be consistency?
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
ozoneocean at 1:12AM, Dec. 24, 2009
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Annie2495
I hope this question is okay to ask ^^ Say a comic is showing improvement, it's a good thing right? But if their first pages suck and the new ones are obviously getting good, does it still qualify? Or should there be consistency?
No, tjat's fine. If a comic isn't so great to start with but gets really great later on it's right for featuring, as long as there are more great pages than ropey ones :)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
skoolmunkee at 1:24AM, Dec. 24, 2009
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That's a pretty grey area. It depends on too many things (and is too subjective) to give you a very good answer. Most commonly this comes up with ‘bad art, good writing’ situations, but there have been a few with ‘good art, bad writing’ or ‘pretty good, but not funny yet’

It's impossible to ask for consistency, that's the nature of creative works. Always progressing. :]

One thing I consider is ‘percentage’ - IE if the comic has 80 pages and the first 50 are pretty bad, I'd wait until it has a better ratio.

On the other hand, if one aspect is really good, that lessens the impact of the less-great aspects.

If the beginning is so rough it shuts me off from being interested in reading more, then it would take a lot more of something else for me to want to feature it. This is MORE of a problem with story comics than strips. Story comics more or less need to start at the beginning, and it's difficult to ‘jump in’ at the point where things have improved because you're missing a lot of established story. With strips you can often just skip to any point and it's more readily accessible.

The ‘rough beginning’ problem is probably the one in which I most often have to put myself in the role of ‘average comic reader’… as opposed to other goals we try to meet, such as finding different qualities or styles, hitting on a range of story types or genres, etc. I may come to a comic with those ideas, but if it's got a rough beginning I'm more likely to start looking at it from the perspective of someone who is kinda interested, but needs to accept (or get past) the rough part somehow.

The main problem is subjectivity though. What I think is good enough may not be the same as someone else's good enough; different people have different ideas of ‘rough’; I'm more or less forgiving of things others aren't; I may be interested in a story or art style a lot more or less than others; different people have different senses of humor. We try to keep that in mind when we feature but we figure there's a certain amount of unavoidable bias. :] Since those things affect our initial interest in reading, it would probably have a knock-on effect if the beginning is hard to get through for some reason.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM
skatch at 12:50PM, Jan. 4, 2010
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hey you know the copyrighted thing does it matter if your using sprites but you give credit
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:38PM
ozoneocean at 1:10PM, Jan. 4, 2010
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skatch
hey you know the copyrighted thing does it matter if your using sprites but you give credit

Unfortunately yes. :(

—————–
Some other things to add that bear iteration, Comics will not be featured if:

1. The comment form is removed.

2. The ads are removed.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:35PM
booger at 7:19PM, Jan. 30, 2010
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Add another for the fanart thing:
What if you have 1 - 3 fanart pictures, but that's it.. Like they're fillers?
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
skoolmunkee at 1:31AM, Jan. 31, 2010
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Hm, I'm sure that's been answered at some point but I don't feel like trying to find it.

Most of the time filler is fine (and 1-3 would not be a problem unless you only have like 5 pages), but if ‘filler’ is a regular thing with the comic I'd be really reluctant. The problem with filler is that it breaks up the normal flow of reading the comic, especially if it's a story comic. If that happens often it makes it hard to read the comic.

Say a comic with 50 pages has a bunch of fan art they want to post. I'd feel okay featuring it if they saved the fanart til the end of a chapter, so the ‘extras’ were more of an interlude. What I *wouldn't* like to feature is a comic that, for example, posts a lot of fan art among the normal pages. for example, I think it was Temple of a Thousand Tears… I liked the comic, but there would be 2 pages a week, and then a 3rd update which was fan art (fan art friday). So when you're reading the archives, you'd get story-story-interruption. It was REALLY annoying and I didn't feature it because of that structure. Eventually Oz came along and featured it though, which shows that we have different opinions about those sorts of things. :]

Edit: actually, Oz may not have featured it until they changed their fan art posting format…
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:43PM

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