Over the last few months, we’ve been tracking the progress of Clickwheel.net in their quest to bring online comics to the masses. They released a comics reader for the iPod Touch and iPhone in the summer, and they’ve been picking up the slack (and creators) from Wowio’s recent woes.
At both those times, Clickwheel Editor-in-Chief Tim Demeter hinted at a big announcement “coming this fall.” Fall is here, and the announcement is as well. We received a press release, and spoke with Demeter about their newest project. A new site is entering the family, and this time it’s not about bringing the comics to the fans, but about the fans bringing their comics to the world.
Comicbrush is the new site, and it’s bringing content creation tools to a web based system. What that means is anyone who wants to make a comic can using the tools on Comicbrush. You simply upload any images you own and want to use, whether they are photos, drawings, or computer generated art, and Comicbrush gives you the tools to manipulate them into panels, add word balloons and captions, and give yourself a final product. This may seem slightly familiar to anyone who has heard of or used the “My Comic Book Creator” software. The major difference here is that it’s free to use Comic Brush, and it works on all platforms and browsers, where “MCBC” costs $50 and is Windows-only.
The free part extends to using your own content, sharing it via email, Facebook (and other social networks), or to iPod Touch/iPhone, and free artpacks. In addition to these, Comicbrush will regularly release premium artpacks. These will contain works done by professional artists commissioned by Tim Demeter, and will include images and characters from 2000AD, which shares a parent company with the site. These packs’ cost will be displayed in points, with each costing about 600. New users will be started off with 1000, so premium content is available for free right when you sign up. In addition to that, users can purchase points at around five US Dollars for 2500 point pack, plus a bonus 150 points. This equates to 2.5 GBP, which is what all European users will pay in for the time being. Prices are displayed automatically by the region the user logs in from. Several new art packs will go up monthly, with at least one from each group being free. They even plan to allow users to suggest artpacks that will include items or people they want to use in their stories.
The community aspect is one Comicbrush hopes to focus on, as well. When choosing how to share your creation, one option (not mandatory) is to put it in the “Community Galleries.” Here, other users can view, but not download, your creations. Demeter says he’ll be looking through these Galleries for inclusion on Clickwheel’s download service. A feature will be added to the site soon that will allow burgeoning creators to “export their comics directly to Clickwheel” and a “submission method” to send Comicbrush comics directly to Demeter for evaluation to be part of the paying portion of Clickwheel.
Comicbrush is ultimately about making comic creation simple and free (or at least relatively inexpensive). Demeter says they just want “to introduce the fun of creating and sharing comics to anyone and everyone.”