Playing a Global Game of Comic Strip Panel Lottery

I Dream in AnalogI came across a new comic maker (Thanks, Maha, for the tweet!) that seemed worth checking out. It is called Fun Palace Comic Maker, and is part of a larger Fun Palace group that is doing intriguing work around the arts and science and more.

The options at Fun Palace Comic Maker are fairly limited — you can’t adjust the number of panels, or resize the art, or add your own art. But the limitations are part of the charm, and this narrow element of choice is at the heart of the rationale of the site, which is built along the lines of a “panel lottery.” (See Scott McCloud’s Five Card Nancy game)

The comic maker site was conceived by Matt Finch, and you can read an interesting interview with him over at Comics Grid about his intentions and thinking behind the Fun Palace Comic Maker idea. It also sounds as if there are more innovations to the site coming down the road.

Finch notes, in that interview at Comics Grid:

Making an online game was as much about reaching an international audience as exploring the digital medium in itself – “the world’s largest game of Panel Lottery” – but it also let us do things that you can’t achieve with pen and paper, or cut-up comics on a desktop. — Mike Finch

Still, for what it is at this point, it was fun to create something quickly (although, when I tried it on my iPad, my comic crashed on me … I had to move to the desktop), and when you “submit” your final comic, the site sends it off to a companion Tumblr site for archiving. I like that collaborative publishing piece of Fun Palace.

I made my small comic on the theme of digital writing because that is on my mind these days with the approach of Digital Writing Month in November (more on that in the next few days).

Peace (at play),

  1. I like the simplicity of this site. Seems an alternative to others such as Make Beliefs Comix which many teachers at school use. I am guessing that if you did not want to ‘publish’ to Tumblr then you could screen capture? Only frustration is the limit in characters available.

    • Yes … screencapture to save (or right click, save?). I think the limits are intentional, and part of the “game” that isn’t quite clear at the site (but is in the interview).

  2. I use for my comics engine. I tried Fun Palace ( and didn’t get the same feeling from it. I think the size of the panel had something to do with it. I add another step to my comics making process. I always copy my comic from the site to SnagIt to add a few elements that the comics tool can’t.

    As to the constraints–every form has its constraints. No problems there. But I think the constraints here are not the same as training wheels on a bike. I thing the constraints amount to lowering the barrier to access so that all may create. Low barrier to entry is an open invitation to become a comix artist. Low friction means more likelihood of creating especially by those who have school-created biases about their own creative capacities.

    What fascinates me with these comics for rookies tools is that they have tremendous capacity for crossing genres. From the first time you use them, you are jacked into the real world of rhetoric and composition, audience, purpose, and the full catastrophe that being a writer entails. Even easier to take on that persona with all of these tools.

    Anti-spammicality: banjo yes The Roman emperor held his flat palm horizontally in place. Below him encircled in the arena five gladiators wielded banjos, prepared to play to death the bedraggled hedge fund manager. The Emperor raised his thumb from the other fingers and raised his eyebrows as if to say, “Banjos, up?Banjos, down?” The crowd screamed, “Deliverance” at the top of their lungs as he lowered his thumb.

    The emperor turned away and heard the hedge manager scream for mercy as his gladiators took up a vicious driving and slicing version of “Dueling Banjos”.

    “It could have been worse thought the emperor.” A guard heard him whisper to himself as he walked by, “It could have been “lady of Spain” on a score of accordions.”

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