Comic-O-Matic Developer's Blog

What's Margo up to??

Monthly Archives: June 2011

International Characters Available

The original TrueType font used by Comic-O-Matic is based on Nina Paley’s handwriting, freely available under CC-BY-SA licensing at

Unfortunately, she didn’t have any need for international characters like the upside-down question mark used in Spanish or accents and umlauts.

Using font-editing software, including the free BSD-licensed FontForge (, I was able to add characters, so now the following characters are available in Comic-O-Matic:

At some point, I’ll see about releasing it as an OpenFont. I have other features of Comic-O-Matic that I want to spend my time on just now, but if there are other characters that users want added, please contact me!


Fun new feature!

Cartoon characters don’t just speak in words, they sometimes speak in pictures, so tonight I’ve been taking a breather from the twitchiness of  interface design (curse IE!), and have added another feature to making the comic strip that I hope folks will like: Emoti-thingees!

There are currently eight special words that you can use instead of dialog text. All you have to do is put one in square brackets, and voila! the emoti-thingee appears over the character’s head !

The special words are: cloud, storm, sweat, steam, heart, bubbles, lightbulb, and curse


Preview new feature: select eyes and mouths

Having prioritized the request of being able to select eyes and mouths, I’m facing a lot of browser issues – predictably.  This is what the latest revision looks like:

I have not put it as the default yet for the Comic-O-Matic site until I get more feedback on it and have tweaked it to suit myself – but you can still right-click and save any strips you make using this interface the same way you save from the main page.

As always with your feeback, let me know platform (Windows, Mac, Linus, Android, iOS, etc.) and browser (Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome, etc.) and version, if possible!  Screenshots are always helpful.

What do you think of the display including the numbers of the parts in red?

As always, thank you for your time, attention and support on this project!

Known issues:

INTERNET EXPLORER:  IE doesn’t display the eyes and mouths in the drop-down menus, which is why I added in the numerical designations for the parts.

ANDROID OS on Droid phones: The Android OS on Droid phones doesn’t like scrolling menus on ANY webpages, so I am still looking for a workaround for it.


Testers needed today (6/24/11): image picker interface, version 3

Once again, thank you to the folks who tried out the second version of the image picker. It seemed to work on all platforms, but I’m not entirely happy with showing only one option at a time, so it’s back to the drawing board!

Now I would like feedback on this version, from as many browsers and platforms as folks can get to me. This third version using a drop-down menu.  I’ve set it up to scroll because ComicO-Matic has almost thirty options each for eyes and mouths, although this script test only uses 8 sample items.

Please confirm that 1) the pair of eyes changes immediately to the selected pair, and 2)  the eyes remain as the chosen set after you click the “Select Eyes” button.

Again, many thanks!

Testers needed today (6/22/11): image picker interface, version 2

Thanks again for all the help yesterday testing my first stab at the eyes- and mouth-picker.  It failed to do the same thing across browsers, so it’s out.

Now I would like feedback on this version, from as many browsers and platforms as folks can get to me:

Let me know if the images of the eyes change when you click on the numbers above.

Thank you all!

Testers needed today (6/21/11): image picker interface, version 1

In response to popular demand, I’ve been working on a visual image selection interface today, so that users can pick their characters’ eyes and mouths. (No, there will NOT be a nose picker!) If you are interested in helping out, preferably today, I’ve made a sample sample script you can test on your computer. This is important because I am uncertain whether the interface will work the same on all platforms and browsers, since it’s using Javascript, so watch the video to see what I want it to look like, then go to and try it out for yourself. Copy the info about your browser and include it in any feedback you send me about your results, either posting it here or emailing me at

Thanks for your support!

btw, this video will probably disappear once I’ve decided how to make the interface.

Feature request: Eyes and Mouths Picker

“It would be nice if you could make the selection of expressions less random.”

Yes, I get this request a lot from people who have a clear idea of what they want their strips to be, especially after making a few to get the hang of it with the random generator, and it is definitely in the plan to design an interface that doesn’t use “random” to produce the strip. My priority right now, however, is to make sure that the strip-generating script has all the capabilities I want. There are still a few more important ones I want to incorporate, so in the meantime, the user interface will depend (mostly) on randomness for a little while longer. A few of the features I’ll be working on adding over the coming days/weeks include having the option for a thought bubble instead of just speech, a box in a panel where you can include non-dialog text like, “The next day…”, and the option to flop the character left or right (which is effective for 3 of the 5 current characters). But then again, yesterday I added the character picker, so you never know what I’ll choose to plug away at on any given day!

My thoughts on the design of the interface to pick the eyes and mouths: I am planning on having that be a visual picker, which is a smidge more complicated than just selecting from a drop-down list of names of the parts. I don’t really want to give descriptive names to any of the specific pieces because I want to encourage users to select them for their impact on telling the story visually, and imposing my names on them might do too much to constrain and aim free interpretation.


New Feature: Color control

One of the features I’ve been asked for is a way to retain colors in the panels instead of having them change every time.  Now it’s easy to keep or reject the color of a panel by using the checkbox in the bar that spans the two characters in the panel. I also liked being able to extend the panel color directly into the character-editing section, to give a better preview of what the strip would look like.

Color Control

Color Control


More feedback

“I wish comic-o-matic was an iPhone app.”

Great idea!  I’d like to get the web version polished up some more first, though I’ll see what the future brings!

New Feature: Character display

Okay, so this wasn’t something anyone else actually requested, but I thought it might make the interface nicer, so I figured out how to add the character outlines behind the selections for the six expressions:

expressions with character outlines

Screen capture

I haven’t tweaked the CSS to make sure everything lines up exactly right in all browsers, so if it looks strange on your computer, let me know so I can ask you to test it when I have the CSS in place.

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