Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Read Your Favorite Flash Based CO2 Comics on an iPad or iPhone!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

One of my biggest criticisms of Apple’s iPad (and the iPhone for that matter) was its inability to read Flash. This was particularly irksome to me since the CO2 Comics site depends on a Flash viewer to display all of the great comics that we have to offer. We use Flash primarily for its stability and it makes our viewer particularly compatible with motion comics like Bernie Mireault’s  The Jam Urban Adventure.

I was not in a hurry to get a tablet, especially one that could not read Flash. I knew that when I eventually bought one it most likely would be the iPad since I swear by my iMac, tote around an iPhone, and would want all to interact seemlessly on the old iCloud. But to me an iPad was just a big iPhone and I am completely happy sitting in front of my computer in my studio, surfing the net and reading webcomics on my 17″ monitor.

I’m not excited about the idea of buying a comic app to read on a device. I’d rather have the comic book whenever possible and there is so much free comic content on the web, I could read comics forever without spending a dime.

So tablets did not impress me. They are just another tekkie device attempting to flip over the consumer and shake every last shekel out of our already thinly worn pockets.

But hey, I’m an old fart. What do I know?

When an iPad mini migrated into our home to be used primarily by my wife and daughter (my son’s Macbook Pro is tattooed to him as is his iPhone) I squeamishly explored its browser capabilities, sadly confirming its inability to read Flash. This became an even bigger issue, however,  when my wife discovered she could not play Farmville, her favorite Flash based Facebook game.

Oh! The horrors!!

So I sat in front of my trusty iMac and explored. I quicky discovered a number of apps claiming to enable the iPad to be able to view Flash, all with varied reviews. iSwifter caught my attention. It was a cloud based server designed for games, that quicky translated your interaction back to your device. It was FREE! It could play Farmville! Surely it could handle the CO2 Comics viewer.

Well, the app was free…for fifteen minutes each day for a week after which it was $9.99 for unlimited usage.  After I got knocked off when my first fifteen minutes expired it was worth the ten bucks to me not to have to wait twenty-four hours to take another stab at experimenting with it. (Sucker!)

Sure enough, it worked as promised. It was fast. The images were clear. Farmville worked great. I could read all the comics on CO2 Comics with some minor snafus. It needs Wi-Fi and does not work at all on the iPhone. The CO2 Comics Flash viewer worked fine and it jumped nicely from page to page but the browser was locked into a horizontal view and I could not significantly change the size of the image. This forced me to have to center the comic viewer on the screen and scroll up and down. I could not control the scrolling action at all by touching the comic page in the viewer. I could only use the tiny available border visible on each side of the image. If I happened to accidentally touch a link, I was off to a different site. With a little practice I was navigating CO2 Comics like a pro and I was satisfied despite the quirks.

Screw Farmville! I can read CO2 Comics on an iPad!

I was happy until I sat down to write this post. I did some more research on the subject and came across this list of Alternative Browsers for the iPad compiled by Craig Nansen that appeared on a 2011 post on Wired Educator:

Diigo Browser (free) – Chrome-like, with annotation and offline reading (formerly iChromy)

iSWiFTER (Free)

Atomic Web Browser ($0.99) – Browse FullScreen w/ Download Manager & Dropbox

Cloud Browse ($2.99)

iCab Mobile (Web Browser) ($1.99)

Grazing Web Browser ($1.99)

Skyfire Web Browser ($4.99) and $2.99 for the iPhone.

Puffin Web Browser ($0.99)

Opera Mini Web browser (free)

After reading the reviews and the comments, the Puffin Web Browser, which was actually FREE, stood out as a viable option. I couldn’t argue with free so I downloaded the app to check it out.

Boy am I glad I did!

The comic reading experience in the Puffin Web Browser was great! So much better than iSwifter. I can’t believe I almost settled for something so mediocre. The thing I like most about Puffin is the ability to zoom in and out with no discretion. The images slide across the screen with a sweep of the finger. There are some artifacts in the images. They are more noticeable on black and white images and become more apparent, naturally, when the image is larger but they are not that big of a distraction from the reading experience, at least no more than the funky printing on the old newsprint comics.

One other plus about Puffin is that it does work without Wi-Fi enabled. It is slower on Verizon’s 3G network but it gets the job done if you have the patience to wait 5-10 seconds to turn a page.

Puffin is also available for the iPhone! So, being the curious goat that I am, I quickly downloaded the app to my iPhone. Sure enough, I can now read CO2 Comics on my cell as well, though my suspicions were confirmed. I just can’t seem to enjoy reading comics on a little cell phone screen. If I wanted to read comics that small I’d go buy some penny gum and read the comic adventures of Bazooka Joe. Unfortunately they no longer include those tiny printed gems with those crusty little pink and chewy bricks of gum. What’s next? Hostess cupcakes? ( I know. I know. Sad isn’t it?)

Reading CO2 Comics on the iPhone using Puffin Web Browser was pretty much just like reading them on the iPad except everything was smaller and it did move a bit slower. Buttons and links were harder to navigate because of their shrunken size and though I could zoom in and out just as easily, I needed to do it so much more often that it became a bore. I at least know now that if I ever need a comic fix all I have to do is pull out my iPhone but I’d much rather read comics on a tablet, laptop, or desktop if no printed comic book is available.

So there you have it. A resounding, YES! You can read and enjoy Flash based comics on the iPad and the iPhone! Next time you have the urge to drop 99¢ on a comics app in Comixology to read one comic on your tablet remember that there are over a thousand pages of great comics right here on CO2 Comics that are just one FREE app away.

And don’t worry, if you would really much rather have a printed book, we have them too! Just click on that cool ad blinking at the bottom of this page!

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

Point of Reference

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

There is an on going discussion in the comics industry about the ethical use of reference material. Too often (once is too often) it is possible to find blatant examples of art that is boldly swiped directly from the pages of another creator’s work. I have seen entire pages lifted with only the costumes and word balloons changed!  Other artists lean heavily on reference photos and trace directly from them.

Maybe the practice of swiping is more rampant in comics than in other mediums simply because the volume of work on stringent deadlines encourages the need for shortcuts. You would think that this was more true back in the days when guys like Jack Kirby were cranking out six issues a month but it seems like those artists from previous generations drew so much and so fast they didn’t have time to copy, it was easier for them to have the work just spill from their mind right onto the page.

The argument that time is money has always been the biggest motivator for comic artists to “borrow” images. The legendary Wally Wood is reported to have had a motto framed on his studio wall that read, “Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut and paste up.”


22 Panels That Always Work is the registered, copyrighted property of Wallace Wood Properties LLC -- All Rights Reserved. You can order the print from http://www.vanguardproductions.net/Woodprint2

In bygone days illustrators kept a file referred to as a morgue where they collected every image they could find of every subject they could imagine possibly ever needing. Clippings from magazines were categorized and systematically stored for future reference.

Tracing required transferring the image from tracing paper onto the bristol board using a light box or an even more archaic technique of rubbing lead on the back of the tracing paper and transferring the lead onto the board by redrawing over the traced image. Some artists used opaque projectors to project an image to trace directly onto the board and others would grid the image and the board to insure that their proportions were correct. It’s no wonder that artists found it easier to learn to draw well, so they could simply look at an image for reference and render a form as they wanted to.

Artwork by Daniel Scott Gabriel Murray rendered in POSER, Click for More

Today if you are looking for a reference image all you have to do is search for it on the internet. You can build files of poses from images that you like and keep them just a click away. These images can be pulled into a photo editing program like Photoshop and scaled to size, modified and drug right into a comic page that is being digitally created or printed out and lightboxed onto bristol board easily since there is no image on the reverse side like on those old magazine clippings.  Even magazine clippings can be scanned and copied in this simple manner. Reference programs like Poser exist to let artists create their own specific three dimensional reference pose.

Tracing or copying is easier than ever before but now the world is watching. As easy as it is to copy it is just as simple for the audience to search for images to compare and they will. These swiper Sherlocks are more than happy to share their findings all over the internet.

Many artists take their own photos for reference which is also much easier to do in this digital age when a photo can be instantly uploaded rather than waiting to be developed at the Fotomat. Still, direct tracing fro a photo has its limitations.  Though a photo is a wonderful source for accuracy, an illustration usually requires some sort of subtle exaggeration to bring the image to life, a tweak that only a talented illustrator can provide. These embellishments usually become trademarks of the illustrator’s style and become distinctive in their work.

Famed Marvel Comics creator Bob McLeod often posts wonderful works of great classic illustrators on Facebook. He recently posted comparisons of Norman Rockwell’s reference photos to a final piece and pointed out how this master illustrator made select adjustments to make the work come alive. The post was a wonderful example of how to use reference material but immediately broke into a discussion about reference ethics.


I am a big fan of maximizing the use of your resources but as an illustrator you have an ethical responsibility not to plagiarize the work of others wether it be a photograph, painting or drawing. It is fine to be influenced and inspired. Refer to the work of others for education and use of technique. Look closely at details so you can accurately depict the form of the subject you are rendering. Regardless of what you are creating, be original and you will gain the respect of your peers and the admiration of your fans.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco


COMICONOMY the Economics of Comics

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Pirates! Pirates everywhere!

It was just over a week ago when everyone was banding together to trash SOPA and PIPA. We can agree that, as creators, nobody likes pirates but we hated the idea of losing our rights to innocently pirate, ourselves. The idea of being shut down, fined or arrested for sharing music, images or video that we “borrow” for use  on our blogs and/or favorite social media brought together a nation of internet users that rallied to crush those bills and won an indefinite reprieve.

I guess we are all in agreement that it’s OK to pirate a little bit, so long as nobody is profiting directly from the pilfering. It is, after all, free advertising, right? As a creator, what could be better than seeing your work go viral and having the whole world find out about it besides, you know, being paid for it?

The real pirates, the bad guys, are the ones with those vicious torrent download sites, scanning entire issues of comics, ripping entire DVD’s of major motion pictures, and cataloging music by the truckload for downloads as mp3 files. Those guys are rapists! They literally rip the food right out of the creators’ mouths by preventing them from benefiting from sales that were lost to the downloaders. The downloaders are the pirates’ accomplices, they are pirates too, red handed with stolen goods and the first ones to share an innocent link or post tainted content.

So, SOPA and PIPA have been dead for barely two weeks and everyone is already screaming about how we have to take down the pirates. Comic artists everywhere are starving and nobody wants to pay for comics, especially if they can get them for free. What are we to do?

Kill the pirates! Shut them down!!

Please, just don’t use SOPA or PIPA.

Almost symbolically, good ol’ SEAL Team 6 heroically trashed a real-world, pirate compound in Somalia and rescued two aid workers that had been kidnapped. Nine pirates were killed. Everyone is happy!

This all got me to thinking. Pirates are a motivated lot, as are most bad guys. They don’t steal and plunder just for the fun of it. They do it  for the money. They gather up a ton of treasure and then they bury it on a deserted island. The downloader’s reward is free comics but the mastermind must be making a fortune to be willing to risk federal charges.

The pirates have figured out how to make money with comics while giving them away for free! Those rat bastards! If only we were that smart! Comic creators could be happy again.

Well Golly! Web comics have been using the same business model as the pirates for years now with varying degrees of success. We use it right here at CO2 Comics! Yet it is always a struggle to justify giving comic content away for free because it flies in the face of the old distribution system, the same system that has a stranglehold on the industry’s move to a digital market.  We are so afraid not to make a nice buck off a sale in a micro niche market that we are unwilling to make a small return on each sale in a potentially monolithic market or let graphically rich, free content drive streams of traffic through a sponsored website.

Free content drives every major website on the internet wether it is a search engine, a social network, a news agency or whatever. Who pays to use Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!,  Wikipedia, or Twitter? They are all among the top ten sites in the world and all worth BILLIONS of dollars! Content that is free to consumers has driven entertainment industries for decades. Newspapers,  radio, and television have all been huge beneficiaries of delivering free content.

Build a big enough comic reading audience in a free and open market and you will see the number of book sales begin to rise to numbers not heard of in decades. There is plenty of evidence that free web content has helped the sales of trades. Retailers will be happy to see a parade of new clientele march through their doors. We won’t have to read blog posts by comic artists crying duress driving down their power of negotiation to corporate publishing scum by playing a vulnerable hand. Free content also neutralizes piracy by taking away their only incentive to attract comic readers to their torrent sites.

Comic art has more value than we are daring enough to place on it. Let the work declare its own value and surprise yourself. Always remember that Disney is built on the back of Mickey Mouse and Time-Warner on the shoulders of Superman. Walt Disney believed in Mickey and let Mickey’ s success establish the worth of his company. Seigel and Schuster, in a fit of desperation,  sold Superman, a comic that nobody else wanted, for a lousy $130 and made someone else rich beyond their dreams.

Which creator would you like to be?

Let’s learn from the pirates. Comics are treasure even when they are free. We are in a position to command the destinies of our creative properties. Do not let senseless fear jeopardize the future of the industry. Take time to analyze and understand the market. Take control.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco



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