Not even a week ago, OnlineComics.net owner Josh Roberts launched ComicSpace.com, a MySpace-like website for comic book fans and creators. As of this writing, the site already has 3,500 members, and it is growing at an amazing pace. We were able to ask Josh Roberts a few quick questions about the creation of the site and the simply amazing first week of ComicSpace.
MIKE: First thing’s first: Prior to the launch, how long had you been planning / working on this site?
JOSH: About a month ago I felt like I really just needed a break from OnlineComics.net, which I’ve been recoding from the ground up since earlier this summer. I had registered the ComicSpace.com domain name over a year ago but never got around to doing anything with it. (I have a mild addiction to registering domain names that have to do with comics.) A friend had recently dragged me into MySpace so I thought it would be a fun diversion to whip up a comics-oriented version of the site. Four weeks later, here we are.
MIKE: Your site’s only been around for days. You already have thousands of members. As things were getting close to launch time, how did you spread the word about this site?
JOSH: On Tuesday [December 5th], I sent out an email to all the comic creators at OnlineComics.net (about 4,600 total). My intention was to let creators grab the URLs they wanted first and maybe add a few friends and send some PMs so I could make sure everything was working right. Honestly, I thought I might get a few hundred signups because the comic hosting features aren’t even in place yet. I knew I was in trouble when there were hundreds of sign ups and tens-of-thousands of page views served before all the emails had even gone out. I never expected this kind of response. Never in my wildest dreams. I almost didn’t go through with the initial launch because I didn’t think anyone would bother using the site until there were more comics-oriented features in place.
MIKE: Are there any more of you behind the curtain, or was this completely created by you?
JOSH: I’m a one man operation. I tend to use terms like “us” and “we” on my sites because it sounds a bit more professional.
MIKE: You have quite a few well-known people already signed up as members. How do you feel about that? Surprised? Elated? Vindicated? Fill in adjective here.
JOSH: Surprised and elated. I know Warren Ellis signed up and linked to ComicSpace from his Web page. I haven’t had any time to search for other big names. When Stan Lee joins, then I can die happy.
MIKE: If you can divulge, what are your plans for this site? Future departments / sections / features?
JOSH: Well, I plan to make RSS a big part of the site for creators who don’t want to post news / updates / comics to yet another site. Free comic hosting will be available. I’ll add a way for users to specify their connection to the field of comics, i.e. writer, artist, publisher, retailer, etcs., then users will be able to browse or search those sub-groups. There will probably be a “Fans” list along with the “Friends” list. I’m kind of embarrassed that so few features are available, but like I said before, I didn’t think the site would take off like it has.
MIKE: And finally, based on how amazingly fast this thing got off the ground, do you need any employees?
JOSH: Only if they work for free.