Setup (part5) Finally! ComicPress!

It’s been so long since I’ve installed ComicPress that I really don’t know how to do it anymore. These days I just copy my stylesheet from one comic into another, and then replace the header with the correct one. The things I tend to change are:

  • Background image. I like pattern8 for repeatable background images, although you can always create your own if you’re patient enough to make sure things line up properly!
  • Text and Link colors. If you’re going with a dark background color/image make sure your text is light enough to read. If you have a light background color/image use a darker text. Pick link colors that blend with the feel of your comic – you don’t have to stick to plain black and white. Check out this fantastic Color Wizard to see what kinds of color schemes look great (or not so great) together!
  • Boxes. I don’t know how easy it is in the CSS editor because I use Firebug (below) and get into the styles editor that is just code to muck around, but if you have a REALLY complicated background image, you may want to have colored boxes around your text – otherwise I tend to leave the boxes transparent to “pull” the whole theme together. This is purely a readability issue, and isn’t always necessary!
  • Header Image. You’ll definitely want to hide the text at the top that has your comic’s name, and replace it with a header image that has your comic’s name, and some bad ass art to show off your comic. Even if it’s a stick figure comic you want that bad ass art up at the top!

Video that Comes with Comic Press:

Frump (the guy who maintains ComicPress and Comic Easel) has a great video on how to set up. He moves his camera around a little bit, but you can still see enough of what he’s doing that you’ll be able to figure it out:

What I do differently:

I don’t use chapters (I set my stuff up a few years ago, and I had to migrate over to Comic Easel and all that fun stuff. I messed up a bunch of formatting, and now I don’t mess around with chapters. I’m certain that it’s easier to fix than I imagine, but I just haven’t bothered to mess around with it.

I also tend to get into the guts and us CSS that I find in the Appearance>Editor. I use a Firefox browser with Firebug to help me locate and change CSS.

If you’re interested in going that route, I did a lot of experimental learning (and site breaking) on my own, and then recently found this video. This lady is SUPER helpful with learning how to use Firebug and how to work with CSS.

I used this to put in my header, and different layers of background. I think nowdays you can do most of this from within the Appearance>Customize area, but I’m a bit old fashioned! Either way, I’d HIGHLY recommend putting in an “image” header and hiding the text header – I know I said this already, but I’m saying it again: having an actual image header looks so good, and sometimes people just ignore this. It drives me crazy.

Plug-ins I use:

There are a lot of recommended plug-ins for wordpress and comic press. I use a bare minimum because I hate messing around with this stuff, and because sometimes plug-ins will break your comic site. Just remember to load and install plugins one at a time, and check to make sure your site is still pretty where the viewers can see it before you move on to another plugin.

Easiest way to get these is to go to your wordpress dashboard, then to Plugins>Add New. Search for the plugin and download them from there! I’ve included links to the ones I recommend, but it’s only so you can see (and make certain) you get the ones I’m talking about, instead of something similarly named.

One-Click Child Theme – You NEED this one, even if it looks optional. After you get ComicPress to look the way you want it to by following Frump’s video and playing around with it, you’re going to follow the instructions on the One-Click plugin and make THIS your new theme. Any theme (not just ComicPress) you use and like, you should make a One-Click version of it. Child themes help protect your site when new versions  of a theme roll out, and they keep you from losing a lot of the customization that you’ve put into it.

Askimet – this helps with spam, and by “helps” I mean it hides about 1000 pieces of spam I get, and only maybe  2-3 slip through to my email every once in a while. It’s pretty crazy awesome. It comes installed with wordpress, so just follow the instructions to get your API key and activate it!

JetPack is the plugin that tells me that people actually read my comics and blog (on a good day, maybe about four people or so) while  Google Analytics is the one that tells me I’m alone in the internet and that no one cares and I should quit drawing comics and go get a real job. Everyone seems to recommend both and I figure that between the two of them, I have a better idea as to who’s actually seeing my stuff. (All two of you!)

Neat to have:

All In One Favicon let’s you put a little icon up in the tab of your browser for your comic! If you look, typodmary has a little ghost thingy. It’s not very visible, and I need to do another, more readable one for typodmary and all my comics. This video shows you how to make the .ico images you need for a favicon.

I also used to have twitter and instagram plugins that would allow people on typodmary to see my twitter feed, and my instagram feed, but those plugins broke. That’s another thing that happens: maybe you get a few good years out of a plugin, but then the manufacturers stop updating them, and they break. It is always sad when that happens. There are plugins I can use, but I’ve not been willing to search through them all to see what’s right for me (which is to say, if you find a good one that you like that works with comicpress, let me know!)


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