Do it yourself comics

No sooner do people have the ability to put pictures on the web then they want to tell stories about them. To serve this need, there are a number of nifty make-your-own-comic-strip sites out there. Recently I came across the Flash-based Strip Generator from Third Frame Studios. The fun thing about Strip Generator is that it’s bilingual in English and Slovenian, so you can use it to learn words like smetnjak (trashcan), knjiga (something you might put in your kouček), and ključavnica (difficult to translate, but means roughly “help, I’ve jammed my fingers in the keyboard again!”). Inexplicably, I found a surprisingly good Garfield comic generator on the National Institutes of Health website. With this tool, it may actually be possible to make a funny Garfield comic. By contrast, I wasn’t very impressed with the UI for the more generic StripCreator. It’s a decidedly non-Flash non-sexy web-1.0 old-school dropdown-menu-spinnin’ form-heavy way to make comics.

But these are all iconic, cartoony comics. Suppose you want to make a comic-like page of your own pictures? That’s where ComicLife comes in, and although it’s only available on the Mac, it seems to be the pick of the litter. I heard about ComicLife while listening to a podcast of an
interview conducted using Skype between Australia and the US. It was a very 2005 kind of moment. ComicLife was created by the guys at, and it lets you create story panels with your pictures. They host a gallery to give you an idea of what you can do. It looks pretty slick. It’s taken off as a meme, and like all modern memes, it has its own Flickr tag (comiclife). Someone has even published an entire ComicLife-based graphic novel on Flickr. Say what you like about the result, the rapid and unanticipated fusion of all these online media is pretty remarkable.

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