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All New ComicSpace

So while I was still thinking about what I should write on my last day of posting here, I noticed that ComicSpace had got itself a makeover. They've upgraded the whole system from whatever it was before to Wordpress. The transition wasn't exactly seamless; they're still working on the kinks. Some data seems to be lost, some displays weirdly. If you have a ComicSpace page, it might be a good idea to stop by and clean up your profile now. (If you're like me, you haven't done that at least since the makeover started a week ago.)

You do remember ComicSpace, right? A couple of years ago (2006), OnlineComics.net's Josh Roberts created the site, aiming for a "MySpace for comics". For a while, it seemed like the place to go if you wanted to connect to other comics people (or, more to the point, webcomics people). Personally, I lost touch with it over time, although I was very interested when Webcomics Nation's Joey Manley announced a merger of the two site families (including OnlineComics.net, Modern Tales and others) in 2007. The sites still haven't merged, although they're all part of the same company, E-Line, now. So much about the history. So what has changed?

Of course it's a little early to give a complete critique of the new site, since they're still working on some technical hassles. In the announcement, Joey lists the cut-off images in the blog and the homepage itself as examples. So bear in mind some of these things may yet be fixed. I'm using my own ComicSpace page as an example, but from what I heard in the forums, other people's impressions were similar. I had two galleries and a couple of news posts, so-called bulletins, saved at my page. The bulletins and the first of the galleries have been transferred to the blog, the gallery as the first webcomic and the post as, well, posts. (The site uses Michael Sisk's Inkblot and Webcomics to display the comics.) The second gallery didn't make it thorugh the process. It's gone, both the gallery as a display and the images themselves (I've mirrored some of them on other sites, that's how I know). From what I heard from other users, all but the first gallery are gone. So I was lucky I only had those two. The blog's display is very basic, and users only seem to get limited customization options. (No direct coding.) The pages display is 600px wide, and if your pictures are larger, they'll get cut off at the moment.(That's one of the things they're working on.)

New posts will be shown at ComicSpace's home page - this is new. I like that. Within the network, your default page is still the profile page. It's the same address as the old profile page, too, so that's where your old links lead to. The blog is two clicks away from there, but your updates show here, too. You do get a subdomain for your blog, too, based on your username. (Mine is http://vaehling.comicspace.com/.) So you can choose to link this from your other sites instead. The profile page allows for the usual community activities: Contact friends, join groups (is that new? that's new, right?), add status messages for display at the top of your profile page. That's all fine. What it doesn't allow for (at this time) is any formatting in your bio (line breaks, I can handle, but my images were gone, too). The new site's focus seems to be on community activities, so there may be some changes ahead here.

What bugs me (as a non-paying user), are the shop links in the right column, where the galleries used to be. The layout makes it look as if those shops were part of my profile, but they aren't. As before, the shop is only open for premium users. But all in all, the page looks much better than before. Simpler.Finding stuff seems easier (so has losing stuff - it's easy to navigate from a profile to the community pages without wanting to; or maybe that's just me). And they've lost the ads that used to be plastered all over the page! It'll take some fixing on their side, some configuring on ours, and definitely some getting over losing that gallery on my side, but once that's all done, using ComicSpace may actually be more fun than it has been for a while.