Something about Comic Fury webcomics, hosting and forums is different from anything out there, and we're searching for the elusive ingredient. I'm DSW, ComicFury member and creator of Awkward Moments and Crowbar! RoboTwin (creator of Space Brothers and letterer of Mad Jack) and I compiled some questions for Kyo, founder of ComicFury.com. CF features many great comics and a fantastic growing community. Many people learn about CF by simple Google searches or links from other CF members. Soon after joining, one discovers the legend that is Kyo. If you ask any Comic Fury member what they think of Kyo and Comic Fury, you're going to get the same answer, "AWESOME!" And it's rightly earned, Kyo is well regarded and an awesome guy, having created one of the most easily customizable and innovative comic hosting sites on the net. But it's important that we don't create a superficial portrayal of this international man of mystery from Germany; he IS awesome but that doesn't describe him. One of the most telling things about his online persona is his "usertitle," a unique forum title that some members receive for reasons known only to Kyo, and it could change at any time according to his godlike whim. For the moment, Kyo's reads: "Sorry for being a dick sometimes." This nicely hints at the friendly atmosphere of ComicFury, as well as the mischievous yet mature qualities of its young founder. So, without further ado, the Kyo interview:
Do you see ComicFury as a business, a hobby, or a charity?
I don't know if hobby is the right way to describe it, I know charity certainly isn't, but it's definitely not a business. A good word would be "project." I see it as a project. Truth be told, I sometimes used to tell some of my friends that it's a business, when they seemed not to understand why I invest so much time and money in it. Obviously that's not true because I'm not actually earning any money from ComicFury. Still, I wouldn't call it a hobby. I mean, it is a hobby to work on ComicFury, but the site itself is so much more. It's become a responsibility for me, and the word hobby implies that it isn't, I think.
I don't think I'd want to host my webcomics on someone’s hobby site, because that just leaves a feeling like it could go down any day if the guy picks up yoga. Obviously that's not true with ComicFury.
Why isn't ComicFury a charity? I mean, my goals were to make an awesome and free webcomic host, and I think I succeeded with that, but I don't think you can call a project like this a charity. Maybe because it's giving to the wrong kind of people? I don't know, it's all about connotations I guess. Non-profit is a word I'd use to describe it. A non-profit service.
How big do you want ComicFury to become?
I used to be really into the idea of having ComicFury become huge and successful, but now I think successful will do. Huge websites tend to become less personal and closely-knit and I really like the community that's going on at ComicFury. A few more people on the forums I wouldn't mind at all, but not too many. I feel that the forums represent that, too. We have like... six of them. Now that's not really true, but we have about 6 real forums. Forums where you come to ask questions and get support or the news forum don't really count to me. Those aren't really forums you discuss stuff in, socialize.
But anyways, so we have 6 forums, right? And I feel that that represents the community as a whole. It's small, active and because of that everyone kinda knows everyone. When you go to other forums, you tend to see a million different categories, which sorta ends up in the users forming tribes based on the categories they actually look at. I don't think this would be possible with the way the ComicFury forums are built, which is a good thing.
Big sites always pose a challenge. To a lesser degree on these kinds of sites, because a big site does not necessarily mean a big community. There's always these kinds of people just "dropping off" their comics but never setting foot into the forums. That's cool and all, but the most loyal members tend to be those who actually talk to people on the site, for good reasons. It's harder to switch if you have friends on a site, and see it as a community than if you view it like a service, where you come, use, leave.
How many members would be enough?
I'm going to interpret this as "active members," because the number of members is... just a number. It doesn't mean anything. It's not like a video game high score. We're pretty good right now. Honestly, provided everyone stays forever I would be OK with never getting another single new member. We're kind of at the point where we're getting dangerously close to needing better hosting. Better hosting means that it'll cost me more money. A lot more. Like, we're talking 40 dollars more, a month. Something that I can technically afford (so yeah, ComicFury is not going down), but not something I necessarily want to pay. I've been talking a lot about options but it seems like it's getting more and more inevitable. At the moment I can afford paying 60 - 70 dollars for ComicFury, but what about the future? I don't know. I definitely don't want to put ads on the site, and I don't want to lock people out from features either. As I've mentioned before, my current plan is to make a ComicFury premium thing, but basically give people the option to pay whatever they want for it, including 0 USD. I'm hoping that that will get some money into the budget.
How do you envision ComicFury.com 10 years from now?
It would be cool if ComicFury was my job, but I don't necessarily expect that. I definitely envision it to be alive and kickin'. What I've always wanted to do is extend it into other forms of hosting. Forums, blogs. Whatever. It's gonna happen, I'm sure.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Honestly, I have no idea. I don't think anything in my life has ever turned out the way I expected it to, but it always turned out for the good. I'm currently studying to be an engineer, but right now I think it's actually more realistic that I will be doing some internet bullshit™ for a living than engineering. Who knows? Maybe I'll do both. Mark Zuckerberg, I'm coming for you!
Would you ever consider selling ComicFury?
No. I've received offers several times. Good offers. Offers I could have bought a fancy car from maybe? Or a fancy house boat even. OK, probably not. But anyways, no. I think if I ever did sell it, I would instantly regret it. It's something I have made, groomed and built from the ground up several times. How does one build something from the ground up several times? Well, I completely rewrote the code. It wasn't just updates. Look at CF's current source code and the original source code, and you will not find a single line of code that is identical. In any of the files. But anyways, that's not the point. The point is that I've sacrificed countless nights and weeks to coding and maintaining ComicFury, and I'm just way too attached to it to ever let it go. I couldn't. The thought of selling it hadn't even crossed my mind when I received my first offer. And I didn't think of it as a very attractive idea back then, and I still don't. Like I said, Mark Zuckerberg, I'm coming for you.
OK, so for those of you who don't know, Mark Zuckerberg is the owner and author of Facebook. A friend of mine had taken me to see the movie "The Social Network," which is basically a hollywood-ized story of how Facebook came to be. Not entirely accurate but a very good and entertaining movie. After I had seen that movie, I did some research on how accurate it was and Mark Zuckerberg in general. The project got started in a dorm room, and apparently Mark Zuckerberg has an unusual amount of control over his company, because he made sure it would be that way. So while getting really big and stuff, he always made sure that he still had full control over it.
This is something I can really sympathize with. I don't think I'd be able to let anyone else code for ComicFury, because I'd just be too worried that they screw it up and put in security holes or something like that. Basically I'm very attached to the site is what I'm saying. I wouldn't sell it. Couldn't.
Do you foresee a definitive time by which CF7 will be online?
Definitely not any time soon. My plan for CF7 is to be able to actually make your own forums for webcomics. Which of course requires me to code an entire forum hosting service. Which is what I'm currently doing (or rather putting off, due to exams), and it's gonna take a while. It's a big project, but basically exactly what I talked about above. Extend the things you can host on the ComicFury network. So yeah, I plan to make a free forums host before I finish ComicFury 7. Lots of work, but it will definitely be a cool thing to make, have and maintain. And it will be very interconnected with ComicFury. I still have to think about that a bit. Currently I'm just working on the actual forums system, not so much on the host itself.
However, because of this and other reasons, I will be pushing out some of the features I have already finished for CF7 (not that many, trust me) for ComicFury. CF 6.5 it will be called. That should happen fairly soon, although I do have exams for another 2 months so I don't know what fairly soon means. Hopefully before these two months are over.
What is one thing you are excited to introduce in CF7?
Well, I kinda just gave that away up there, so I'll talk about CF 6.5 a bit. Something that I've had planned for a long time is now possible: Setting extra pages as front page. Also, you will finally be able to delete webcomics. I've rehauled the settings page a bit to be much neater, and the forums got some special attention as well. Expect nothing too major though. Just a collection of small, neat things.
What's the first 5 webcomics on CF that come to your mind?
Ohhh, not sure I wanna answer this. But I'll play:
TOGM (The Other Grey Meat), Riddick Q. Loss Tales, My own webcomic venture: Q (for obvious reasons), Pitch Black, Love Kills Slowly.
Oh and Bone Jangles. That's number 6. I could go on like this for a while I guess. Worme, maybe?