If you’re running a webcomic you’ll need some sort of script or system to manage displaying and archiving your comics. (Some people do it all by hand but that can become a problem when you want to make site changes and suddenly you have to edit a bunch of HTML files.) I’ve contributed this list to various forums and sites over the years. It’s always changing as some scripts get antiquated and disappear or new ones get developed. It’s a handy list to have if you’re setting out to build a site and it’s one to keep an eye on if there’s some feature your current system doesn’t have and a new one starts offering it. I’ll try to keep it updated but lets remember that this list is by no means perfect or complete. I’ve broken it down into several types of archive systems available and my thoughts/opinions/experiences with each.
These are sites that will host your comic for you and handle maintaining your archive. There are free and pay versions depending on the service you use and how much control you want over the design/advertising on your site. There’s the benefit of belonging to a community but there’s also the concern of getting lost in a sea of similar sites.
Comic Genesis – Formerly known as Keenspace, one of the longest running free hosts available. You edit template HTML pages with specific tags and FTP your files to their server. Fairly large forum community of fellow creators. I used them a long time ago until I deleted some file and broke my site.
Drunk Duck – Similar to Comic Genesis with a community of fellow creators. Major difference is everything is browser-based which makes it easier to start/edit multiple projects though this probably limits design flexibility.
Webcomics Nation – Built by Joey Manley, the fellow behind Modern Tales and it’s family of sites. Also mostly browser-based in design.
These are scripts you can upload to your site to dynamically cycle through your comics. Some have interfaces to manage certain things depending on the system.
Walrus – One of the first archive scripts I ever used and learned to edit with. If you’re looking for something simple to build from, especially if you’d like to pick up some rudimentary PHP skills, give this one a shot.
ATP Autosite – I used this one for awhile after I got comfortable with Walrus. It can handle dropdown menus and since Walrus only supported one image filetype at a time it was a nice upgrade. Don’t think it’s under development anymore though some sites still use it.
Comic Update Script for PHP (CUSP)
Autokeen Lite – Free archive script from Keenspot. It’s CGI, which is good for hosts that don’t offer PHP. I tried it a long time ago but there was a loop that caused trouble on a Windows server or something.
Schlabo’s Comic of the Week (COW) – Sort of built around a Pic of the Day system but I never got it to work too well when I was using stand-alone scripts.
These are updating systems that are part of something bigger. They’re basically themes/plugins for existing blogging software to give them comic managing abilities.
Comicpress and Comicpress Manager – As far as I know this was the first real plug and play system for using WordPress to power a comic site. (Which makes an incredibly robust system for handling blog posts/searching and managing an archive) There were sites which offered guides/hacks for doing it before but Comicpress was the first prebuilt theme for doing it. Comicpress Manager is a handy plugin for getting the most out of the Comicpress theme. I used this system early on but over time it became harder to edit as design elements got spread over various files. You can find various tutorials online and even videos.
Webcomic & Inkblot – Similar to Comicpress and Comicpress Manager except here the plugin (Webcomic) handles the archive management while the theme (Inkblot) deals with how it displays. It also supports converting existing WordPress themes to work with it. This is the current system I use because of it’s flexibility in editing and ease of use. Also has a series of tutorial videos.
stripShow – Another WordPress webcomics solution that started around the same time Comicpress did.
WPComic – WordPress theme for webcomics
Manga+Press – Yet another webcomics solution for WordPress