One page, many pics: the case for multiple graphics


Diagram of multiple images in a webcomic page

Some of our ideas for the Grawlix CMS didn’t last long. There’s a reason no one remembers when the CMS would use flat files instead of a database, or had a dedicated comics-we-love widget.

But some ideas lingered. One in particular struck our fancy and, the more we talked about it, the more sense it made:

“What if a comic page had more than one image?”

There’s no rule restricting one URL to one graphic. And we found at least six reasons to think otherwise.

Responsive comics

Responsive web design is the practice of making sites work across many platforms. Responsive comics serve the right images to the right people on whatever screen, browser, or device they’re using. Having more than one image per comic page lets creative artists upload differently-sized images to suit their readers’ needs.

Long comics

Websites have no fixed dimensions, and neither should webcomics. Comics that scroll horizontally or vertically may require many separate graphics, tiled seamlessly on a page, to save bandwidth and improve page load times.

Different languages

Artists who write comics in more than one language can do so by uploading more than one translated image to the same comic page. This prevents the mess of multiple URLs for the same part of a story, and makes pages easier to track behind the scenes.

Patrons only

Casual readers get to see low-fidelity, black and white versions of each comic page. Readers who contribute to Patreon get to see full-color or higher-res versions of each comic page. Granted, we don’t have Patreon support … yet. But the idea holds up.

Guest art days

It’s not unusual for artists to let their fans contribute comics. “Guest art days” fill the gaps when the artist takes a well-deserved break.

But what if they get more guest art than their break allows? Simple: they can post more than one image per day if their site supports multiple images per page.

URLs and other metadata

The most exciting ideas involves treating each image as a panel in one comic page, then assigning a link to each. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but we believe linked panels would let readers, shall we say, choose their own adventure.

Going forward

We’re big advocates of webcomics that take full advantage of the medium — and more than one graphic per page is a terrific way to do that. We have many reasons to make the Grawlix CMS handle more than one image per page. Version 1 already does, and version 2 will go much further.

Anyone can read the blog, but patrons get inside info. Support our project!