Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Digital, Thrillbent | 33 Comments

THRILLBENT IS LIVE!

How do you engage this brave new world of comics?!

Go to http://www.thrillbent.com/

Click on the title you want to read.

Turn the pages with your arrow keys.  Just like pages.  Left and right.*

Done.

Well, that was anticlimactic.

*******************************

Which is, of course, the point.  No music.  No motion comics.  Just pages of art and words.

We’re not trying to re-invent comics.  We’re trying to hack out the tools by which some other, younger ferocious person will re-invent comics.

Content Density (look, ma, I made up a term!)  at this point will run to roughly a regular paper issue’s worth of material a month.  It will vary in the future, but right now this allows us to contract artists, colorists, etc at a rate with which they are familiar and comfortable.

The updates are always in multi-page bursts, giving you enough new material to feel like you got a chunk of story each time you swing by.  You can read about Mark’s thinking on the size of these updates here.  Personally I’d chalk our adoption of this structure up to Warren Ellis’ FREAKANGELS.  In my personal design notes, this was one of the first “We do it like THAT!” notes.

No advertising yet, as we’re still tweaking the page construction.  Yes, I know that means there’s no income from this thing.  Until we figure out the best way to get the material out to the humans, Mark and I are supporting the burn rate ourselves.  He sold his fantastic comic collection.  I am using the residuals from the Catwoman movie.

Up to you who has committed the greater sin.

There are a couple ways to optimize your viewing experience, in both the pdf download of LUTHER (and future pdfs)  and on the THRILLBENT site.

PDF: In our preferred iOS pdf reader of choice, GOODREADER, you just tap the edge of the screen and the slides lay over quite nicely.  The changing panels, additional dialogue balloons, etc all work as they should.  Most tablet pdf readers work the same way.

If you’re viewing the pdf on your computer, on whatever pdf viewer you’re using you want FULL SCREEN and SLIDESHOW settings.  Again, page advances will be with the arrow keys.  I’d note that you can also open the file with the Chrome browser, grab that FULLSCREEN setting (farthest left on the blue bar at the bottom of the page) and it plays pretty damn fine.

Thanks to commenter Nate Hoffelder, the Android apps we know our pdf works well in are:

Aldiko
Montano
Adobe Reader 9.0.2

Our comics are, in a word, dumb.

LIVE COMICS ON THE SITE: Blow your browser out to Fullscreen.  Getting rid of the bookmarks bar will also help — basically, it’ll automatically resize to whatever screen you’ve got open, but it’ll look better the more screen real estate you give it.  Then click the arrow keys.  Done.  It also reads just great on your tablet in a web browser, with either page swipes or taps on the lef tand right hand sides of the panel.

IN THE APP:  That’s not quite ready yet.  But it’s getting there.

Okay, that should answer any questions.  Enjoy, and as always your feedback is critical.

* (You can also click on the edges of the images, but I prefer the arrow keys, as it’s more like turning a page.  I am obsessed with skeumorphism in new media.)

 

33 Comments

  1. George Tramountanas
    May 1, 2012

    I am LOVING it! I enjoyed Peter’s artwork before, but somehow I’m appreciating it at a whole new level now. Maybe it’s due to the large size of the panels, but his eye for details and the inking really shines.

    The story hooked me in too (of course!)

    I was kind of expecting a little more of the “Luther” experience – using the panels to pace the story – but I’m assuming you achieved the pacing you were going for in the way it’s laid out. It worked for me, anyhow. 😉

    Congratulations on the first installment! I’m looking forward to many more in the future.

    Oh, two suggestions: 1) a large “Thrillbent” logo-hyperlink in your blog’s heading would be handy, and 2) I’m voting that you call your comic publishings “installments” instead of “issues.” Cheers!

    Reply
  2. Nate
    May 1, 2012

    “basically, it’ll automatically resize to whatever screen you’ve got open.”

    It didn’t on mine. Instead the panel hangs off the bottom of the screen. I found that I had to make the window narrower so the comic would shrink.

    I’m running Win7 and FF11 on a 12″ screen.

    Reply
    • John Rogers
      May 1, 2012

      “Narrower”, eh? Hmm, first time we’ve had a hink, although I’ll admit Firefox was the bear to get this to work with. We’ll look at it. Thanks!

      Reply
  3. nate hoffelder
    May 1, 2012

    If anyone needs an Android app, here’s a list of 3 that displayed Luther properly.

    Aldiko
    Montano
    Adobe Reader 9.0.2

    Reply
    • John Rogers
      May 1, 2012

      Thanks! I’ll go dump those in the post with you credited.

      Reply
  4. Adam_54
    May 1, 2012

    Works great on my PC in I.E 9 but I’ve noticed a bit of an issue on my iPad.

    The size looks like it should fit the iPad screen. but because of safari’s navigation bar at the top it doesn’t and I had to keep scrolling up and down ever so slightly.

    Should it of automatically resized for that?

    And if not is there an option I dont know about to make Safari full screen on an iPad?

    Great work BTW all the same! Cant wait for next weeks “installment” 😀

    Reply
    • Smars
      May 1, 2012

      yep.
      it’s the aspect ratio.
      the frames should be longer/wider
      rather than taller.

      Reply
    • John Rogers
      May 1, 2012

      @Adam_54 erg, the Safari iPad problem is one we are not quite able to beat — and why that app doesn’t go fullscreen while all their others do (or other tablet browsers do) I just don’t know.

      With the comic centered, you really don’t lose much — the bottom edge “bounce” you noticed was because not all of these original pages were done to template. That should be fixed in the next installment.

      Thanks for helping us hunt all this down.

      Reply
      • Steve Broome
        May 1, 2012

        You can actually install a redirect for when the browser is detected to be iPad’s safari. You can also test everything before deploying by using the safari options and changing it through that menu.

        Reply
        • John Rogers
          May 1, 2012

          We’re moving to the redirect stuff now — we kept it simple for the launch, as we had a couple issues with the viewer beforehand. Thanks for the advice. You’re one more smart blog comment away from a job offer.

          Reply
          • Steve Broome
            May 1, 2012

            Cool good luck with it. I work a lot with wordpress so if you have any questions email me and I’ll do my best to help you guys out while you’re getting this thing going. There are lots of fun options that can be taken advantage of with php but obviously the coding is very different from HTML. I actually like what you guys are doing with the lightbox style arrow overlays, it works well here.

            Also FYI there’s a typo in Insufferable where it says “more bullets that you” instead of “than”.

  5. Smars
    May 1, 2012

    yeah, I messed up when i went to read the comic, but only because i’m used to the coding i do for my own comic where the reader can click on any portion of the left or right side of the frame and move to the next.

    I’m confused… what did people expect?
    I expected just what I got. comics, digitally.
    no bells or whistles, just good comics, provided in a format that is a bit more in balance with my contemporary lifestyle. C:

    also… i think calling them issues is fine.
    or chapters.
    either one.
    they’re still comics.

    Reply
  6. Steve Broome
    May 1, 2012

    As a web designer I’d ask that if you guys must use a blog layout, maybe do something to make it stand out. For a visual medium like comics I can’t think of a reason for all of these sites to be so similar.

    Insufferable looks great.

    Reply
    • lori
      May 1, 2012

      Some suggestions…?

      Reply
      • Steve Broome
        May 1, 2012

        I love what Dark Horse did with their re-designed site. It really pops. Also inset buttons versus straight text might work. At the very least some kind of “grabby” header image would be very quick and only require a quick adjustment to your theme’s stylesheet. I’m also a fan of banners that feature auto-scrolling image galleries linking to various projects the way news sites do for their most recent articles.

        Reply
    • Mark Waid
      May 1, 2012

      GOOD CALL, Steve. Very smart thought. Cogitating….

      Reply
  7. Carlton Donaghe
    May 1, 2012

    Let me add myself to those who were surprised Thrillbent looked so much like a blog site.

    As for the comic, once I got the advice to go full-screen on my browser window, I liked the view much better.

    I was a little disappointed that the story didn’t make as much use of the technique we saw in Luther. This did come across as a better way of reading print comics on the screen. Print comics designed for the digital screen.

    I came to the site prepared to pay and download something, so getting the first issue free was nice.

    I’m really wishing you the best with this.

    Sincerely,
    Carlton Donaghe

    Reply
  8. Carlton Donaghe
    May 1, 2012

    As for making a comic site look radically different while using a CMS like WordPress or Joomla, here is what I’m working on right now:

    mojopopcomics.com

    It’s taking a while to adapt the template, and I’m not familiar enough with the Joomla CMS or modifying a CSS, but it’s getting there.

    My goal was to give it a retro feel, but using what’s available.

    It’s got the MySQL database for system management and a document seller. I’m going to use PayPal to handle transactions.

    It should be going live, with content, in one month.

    Let me know what you think.

    Sincerely,
    Carlton Donaghe

    Reply
    • Steve Broome
      May 2, 2012

      Jus to clarify, WordPress is absolutely not a CMS site, it’s blogging software. They’re not the same thing, although you can through a lot of work modify WordPress to be CMS software.

      Regarding your site, I see what you’re going for with the retro style branding, but I’d recommend working more on how you’re directing the visitor’s eye.

      Reply
  9. El Commutador
    May 1, 2012

    Hi Mr. Waid!

    I’m a Spanish reader, long follower of your work and very into the digital reading last 1 1/2 year. So, I congrat you for this project and my best wishes – will be following & praising thism project, of course.

    One comment / problem regarding Thrillbent website: Google gives me an error when I try to add it to my Google’s reader (feedburner):

    “We’re sorry…

    … but your computer or network may be sending automated queries. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.
    See Google Help for more information.”

    Hope is nothing, I’ve added it manually, though 🙂

    keep the good work!

    ET

    Reply
  10. James Schee
    May 2, 2012

    Good story, wasn’t sure about sidekick as an ass but fun so far. Might want to look out for typos more. I’m guessing Ann was supposed to say than you, instead of that you.

    Reply
  11. Scott Story
    May 2, 2012

    Creating a theme for WordPress is do-able. I’ve done it before.

    Reply
  12. Scott Story
    May 2, 2012

    Carlton, your site looks great if the comic itself is black and white.

    OK, here’s my homegrown design sense for what it’s worth: The page is bright white and the comic on both sides is sandwiched by all these bright, primary colors. So…

    …if you comic is black and white, it will stand out as the the single element among all the colors.

    ..if your comic is color, then it is competing with its own website. It’s the old “comic convention” problem where you have colorful cool stuff, but you sandwhiched between 100 other colorful cool booths, so who do you stand out.

    Hope this is of assistance to you.

    Reply
  13. Carlton Donaghe
    May 2, 2012

    Mr. Story, thanks for the advice. But actually, the comics will not open up in a web-page. They will be comics that are downloaded, either as a PDF or other file that can be read on a tablet or computer screen. So, it won’t be sandwiched in between anything. I don’t want to do “web-comics,” I am really out to do a digital comic. I believe Mr. Waid has taught me the difference.

    Thanks again. I hope we can discuss this more as the site develops.

    Reply
    • Scott Story
      May 2, 2012

      I see where you are coming from, Carlton, and it sounds like you know what you are doing.

      I have mixed feelings about the difference between web and digital comics. On one hand it’s simply a measure of how often and how much content of a comic becomes available. There are some other distinctions, such as whether the comic is read on a browser or downloaded in chunks as pdfs, or what have you. You can argue these distinctions all day, but in the end sequential art is sequential art. That’s my take on it.

      Reply
  14. Carlton Donaghe
    May 2, 2012

    I hope I can say this without sounding too much like a fan of Mark Waid (because I’m sure he hates that), but when I saw what Mark and Jeremy Rock had done, it was like a revelation.

    I never liked webcomics. Never did anything for me. I don’t like reading comics scanned in to be read online. I much, much prefer print comics.

    But what Mark and Jeremy did (weren’t they a singing duo in the sixties? “Trees, swaying in the summer breeze…”) was like a revelation.

    I’m a print guy, but Mark sold me on this new format.

    Reply
  15. Nathan Wilson
    May 2, 2012

    The only difficulty I had regarding format and display was on the iPhone. Not being able to resize the panels to read the text meant that I had to scroll up & down, which at times, inadvertently, skipped ahead to the next panel reveal. The experience was much tighter & controllable on the desktop.

    Reply
  16. Kevin
    May 8, 2012

    Thanks for referencing GoodReader. However, in order to read the pdf offline, we should be able to download the issue onto our iDevice. Could you point me to a download link?

    Reply
  17. Mike Schwartz
    May 8, 2012

    Will you post the PDF settings or provide a tutorial on how to set up a file similar to Luther or the other Thrillbent comics?

    I’m working on a test project right now and really like how Luther looks and works.

    Reply
    • John Rogers
      May 8, 2012

      Excellent idea. I’ll talk to Mark about posting our art specs. Maybe you guys can even improve on them!

      Reply
  18. Leonard Marks
    May 16, 2012

    great post

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘950178304 which is not a hashcash value.

    Reply

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