Friday, July 14, 2017

Exposing the Independent: Manga Dojo

Apologies for the lack of activity, but I have an idea for a new blog post. Remember Inkblazers (formerly No? Well, to those out of the loop, Inkblazers was formerly one of the well known platforms for digital webcomics where users could upload and publish their works independently. There were others like it (some like Smackjeeves that are still around to this day) but Inkblazers was in my opinion, the best platform and the most ambitious. However, financial woes eventually killed the giant and there has not been another prominent successor akin to it since.

I, myself was part of the community. Briefly, actually. I joined during its last few months and uploaded some of my older works. Since then, I've migrated to Mangablues, another indie comic site. However, Mangablues eventually suffered the same fate (I never did report this) and now I've gone and stumbled upon another comic-hosting website.
While there are plentiful of alternatives around for webcomics, none of the current ones actively dedicates itself to manga. By now, I've found manga-style-specific platforms for the indie scene to be quite risqué whereas a more inclusive platform would be more lucrative for increased viewership and community growth. This is how sites like Tapastic (now rebranded as "Tapas") got bigger when the indie manga artists migrated over. 3rd time's the charm, I suppose?

Enter Manga Dojo (MD). The site itself is currently in beta and while I can't seem to find the date of creation, MD has been around since 2015 (according to Google+ account).

For general users, save for commenting or interactivity, no account is required for reading. For creators, there seems to be a structured process for comic submissions and quite a bit of community features advertised (e.g. critique tools, visitor report, and more to come).

I can't pull the numbers out of its total userbase, but the main page seems diverse, albeit as organized as Tumblr or Google+, so it's a bit messy. Navigation nevertheless was easy as comics can be sorted by category, genres, fan-work/crossover, etc. in conjunction with the default search bar.

For people who sign up, there is a social networking aspect where one can follow artists, send comments, and request commissions.

So far, MD looks to be growing a decent foundation for an interactive platform.  Even so, serious creators may have to wait as it's still too early. Monetization has yet to be implemented and will utilize a currency called Ryo. A karma system is also in the works and is apparently akin to the one used on Ebay (sourced from the comment section of Feature Overview by MD admin).

I'm hoping that a community forum is also to be planned, or even a sub-Reddit if needed, for discussion and feedback other than MD's social network pages.

I am genuinely eager as it kinda reminds me of Inkblazers in a bare-bones kind of way. It still has a lot to grow on and although it won't be the platform that I'll publish chapter 1 on, I'll be happy to interact with and be a part of its community.

**Since I haven't used the site extensively, this blog post is subject to revision in the future**