Tuesday, January 01, 2008

 

Stripper's Guide Publication Video Preview

How's this for weird? A video on a comic strip history blog. Last year I made a new year's resolution to publish the Stripper's Guide index. This video documents what I came up with in the past year.

I produced this video to show you folks the Stripper's Guide software application that I've been working on. The video is about 20 minutes long, filled with me saying brilliant things like "um" several hundred times (script? we don't need no stinking script!), and video quality that leaves a whole lot to be desired -- oddly enough, my real desktop isn't a blurry pixelated mess. The first few minutes is audio only, so bear with it.

I'd be thrilled if you folks would give the video a watch and post feedback about the proposed application. What you like, what you don't, suggestions for features and improvements that you would like to see. I'd also be mighty interested to know what sort of price you think would be fair (no, free is not an option smarty-pants).

EDIT: turns out that Blogger only allows me to show this video at thumbnail size -- watch the video at full size (still blurry but at least legible) by clicking right here.

video

Comments:
Hi Allan,

I'm excited to hear about your project... it sounds like it has been quite an undertaking. Regarding a print version, you may want to consider print on demand, since it is quite affordable. One of the best known POD publishers online is lulu.com... I have some friends who have had good experiences with them. Hope that helps make your big hardcover wood-pulp dreams a reality. Thanks for the wonderful blog!

Best wishes,

Steven Stwalley
stwallskull.com
 
I am also a book kind of guy and I would like to see it in printed format. I have a Doug Hinman index relating to The Kinks of some 550 pages which he also added a supplement of 65 or so pages a few years later. So the print-on-demand idea, with occasional supplements, works for me.
As for the software application, that's looking good too. Maybe I would have to buy both formats if they were both available.
So...I seem to remember you having some doubts about fair use policies of some syndicates. Is there any pros or cons with that issue in regards to which format would be legally more manageable?
Also...you bringing up the McManus brothers had me wondering how in depth you would go with people in the comic strip business. Does Leo McManus get a mention and/or entry as a KFS staffer? With McNaught there is McNitt and McAdams. I always enjoy when you get into this kind of background information on your blog or in your articles. Will the Stripper's Guide go anywhere down that road.
Finally...did you mention a time frame when this may be available. I, of course, want it now!
 
Hi Allan,

I'm also very excited at the prospect of a brand spanking new version of the Stripper's Guide. I still have my old version and use it rather frequently.

The search tool looks MUCH better on the new version. I love the fact that you've add so many new search parameters. I also like the fact that you've lessened the amount of clicks one needs to get to the info.

More images is always better, since much of the material can't easily be found by folks like me.

I would love to see basic biographical info given on artists, even just birth and death years, but I understand that that would be a rather daunting task.

Really, it looks like a great tool and I look forward to its release.

Price? If it were done as a subscription, like the old version of SG, I see no reason by $50 couldn't be a starting price, with say, one year of updates. Then, maybe $25 per year for updates. If this will be the end product, with all of the info already set, I still think $50 would be reasonable.

Best,
Rob
 
Hi Allan,

I am glad to see the Stripper's Guide will be updated. Its been a while and even if the book project doesn't come through, its good to see your further efforts get out to the public.

We have had this discussion years ago about making this data more open source, but for a number of reasons you want to maintain the work as your own and I can respect that. I hope that even though you are going this route again, I would like to present to you some thoughts I had to maybe help make the database even better.

1) Consider scripting the database in a cross-platform language (like a java-based language) so it can be used equally by an ever growing Linux and Mac audience. The ability of people using PDA's or iPhones being able to access the data while away from their home computer could only expand the potential audience and make the information more available to the public. Perhaps even an internet accessable database might be a better way to go to allow those who paid for the data to have more options to access the data.

2) Consider some search within search abilities. Let's say I use the extent of the search engine to get a set of data, it would be nice to be able to search even further within the data to parse the information out further.

3) Consider multiple sort options. Instead of the initial database being only sorted only by title, the ability to change the database in order to sort by year, artist, syndicate, et al would be nice.

4) Consider some ability to export information. I know you would never allow the database to be exported out of the program en masse, but how about the ability to allow limited exports of search results or checklist generation. You can even follow the way some research periodicals export their information online to college students. The students can export the data, but the information is tagged with all necessary copyright/trademark information and its is also tagged with the proper endnote citation that the student can use when citing the material. You can create similar tags to protect your copyright.

5) Consider the ability to add more than one thumbnail, especially with strips that had multiple artists over the years so more than one artist can be displayed.

6) Consider doing a one-time sale of the entire database (for a fixed one-time cost) with payable updates available over time instead of a subscription that had a several year wait as it went through the alphabet. One or two DVD's should hold the entire database, I would think, and I am not as young as I used to be and I do not relish the idea of a several year wait for the entire database again. :-)

And that was it. Regardless of how you go, The new Stripper's Guide will be on my short list of items to get in '08.

my best
-Ray Bottorff Jr
 
Hi, Allan.

I am very interested, of course. But will it be Apple-accessable? I have to agree with Ray that the computer world is changing and you may have to find a way to be able to adept to that. Honestly, I would prefer to have a source like this available from the intrenet. Take a look at Atlas Tales, for example, This is a site (done by a programmer such as yourself) I use a lot and is very friendly to use. And as Ray says, it will still be accessable by other applications when they become more important. I ceertainly would find it cumbersome to have to rely on a cd all the time.

Still, if it helps you going I'll probably get one anyway.
 
Depending on the price range, I would buy this guide, whether it's on a book format or a software format.

You list the type of format the Daily and Sunday strips have (panel or strip format). Out of curiosity, how will you list that with strips that only comes out once a week (ie: the entire DBR Media comics output)
 
Allan: Very interesting demo. I could go for an online or software format. The search engine addresses the frustration I often have with books. I agree that it would be good to add more sort options. I like the idea of a one-time offer of the whole database, say on dvds, with an option for yearly updates.

Regards,
Joe Thompson ;0)
 
Allan,

I too am really looking forward to your issuing a new version of this. I agree that a couple of samples would be nice, given how often artists change on some strips.

Re the format - rather than 'Blogged' perhaps the field should be something like "Website" where you can put in anything, not just your site. That way you could put in OSU or GoComics links, or the like.

The new search IS impressive.

Finally, I'd second the recommendation for Lulu, which I'm currently using to put together a book on film adaptations of comics - you can have your cake and eat it too. Or you can also publish cds through Lulu which will let them handle the copying and distribution so you don't have to worry about it.

BTW, the first strip you show in the video - the end date doesn't match what you wrote in your notes.

Great work!

Mike
 
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