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King Features launches Comics Kingdom

Yesterday, King Features Syndicate rolled out their new Comics Kingdom portal. The new site has 65 comic strips, 25 vintage comics, 9 editorial cartoonists and 16 puzzle features. Part of the roll-out is a promise to add more vintage comics and for paying subscribers the archives extend back to 1995.

A few impressions as I use it for the first time:

  • I like the 7+ feature. You can read the last seven days of a feature on one page instead of manually navigating back several days. Bonus feature: at the bottom of the page, you can click to the next seven in the archive. This cuts down on page views, but is so much nicer for the reader.
  • The site is snappy. Even on pages with multiple comics loading (7+). DailyInk always felt a bit sluggish to me.
  • Commenting on comics requires a Disqus sign-up separate from their site. Outsourcing the comments is smart (I’m heading in that direction myself), but it is one extra step.

Some of the features that were promoted are still in development such as searching for a comic by keywords and shopping – although you can order a print. The most important features are there – the comics and archives.

Overall, I like the direction this is heading.

Community Comments

#1 Michael Pohrer
December/10/2013
@ 11:25 am

I personally don’t like it. It just seems like it was thrown together at the last minute. I know it’s a new resource, but the design looks terrible. For promoting itself as “The best comic strips, editorial cartoons and puzzles in all the land” they could of actually used a more upbeat look instead of a straight forward here’s our properties we represent feel. I prefer to read my favorites from the official sites anyway and never visit the site.

#2 Tom Falco
December/10/2013
@ 4:12 pm

Why doesn’t King Features just join GoComics and make it easy for everyone? I have a free membership (thanks to you Alan), but I don’t even look at it, where I ready GoComics cover to cover, daily.

#3 Welt Snyder
December/10/2013
@ 9:56 pm

Hate to burst your bubble, Alan, but the Last 7 feature was one that was already part of DailyInk. For my money, and yes, DailyInk has gotten my money annually since Day One, they could have just placed the Comics Kingdom branding over DailyInk, made the upgrades there, and I would have been fine.

The look of the new Comics Kingdom / DailyInk hybrid is obviously one more jump on the minimalist design bandwagon of recreating sites to be optimized for iPad, not computers. The fact that there were so many comics-related errors (loss of continuity with vintage strips, loss of the top tiers on Sunday strips) states the redesign was not created by comics fans or long-term Reed Brennan employees who should have at least had an understanding of the content before attacking it.

Yes, there are thing I liked, such as larger comics on zoom and deeper archives (although they are not all there yet… wait, though, I have already read them). But the one thing that irks me more than anything else is turning to Disqus for the comments. This frequent participant in DailyInk discussions has written his last comment on a KFS comic site (which explains why I’m commenting here; sorry to read you are considering going to something similar). I refuse to turn my personal information and Web use information over to a known violator of privacy standards such as Disqus (see the Disqus Wikipdeia entry for details). And I’m not about to turn Ghostery off even just to read the comments on Comics Kingdom, so comments and commenting are now a non-feature for me.

Next time when my renewal comes around, the decision I have to make no longer seems so tough. I was a DailyInk subscriber so that I could read a daily page of KFS comics I couldn’t find in local papers any more, and also read daily a variety of KFS vintage comics. Plus I have really enjoyed the From the Archivist blog. Now I will get all of that for free. Why pay more?

#4 JLG
January/13/2014
@ 10:40 pm

I have to agree with those who are commenting on the design of that site. It’s just…awful. There really isn’t a nice way to say it. I know nothing about web design and if I knew that right away, that’s saying something. GoComics has a very friendly, open feeling, full of inviting graphics that always invoke a sense of fun. Comics Kingdom looks like it was put together by someone in the HR department. Someone fighting off depression while going through a rough divorce.

I do love how BIG their zoom feature makes the strips, though. That’s a nice advantage over GoComics.

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