< RayKremer >
Wednesday - March 4, 2009
The internet is one example of a great equalizer. Anybody can generate content and gain widespread recognition for it, and sometimes that recognition reaches all the way to the top. Webcomic artists can collect such an audience that major book publishers take notice. Two popular Gargoyles fan artists, Karine Charlebois and Stephanie Lostimolo, were brought on board for the comic books that continued the television series. But this effect is not limited to creative works, it can also come into play with websites that are little more than reference material. Take Chris Beveridge, whose extensive review site at animeondvd.com got him noticed by the English language anime distributors, and before long they were sending him review copies and quoting him in their promotional materials. Last year, he was able to sell his website and merge with mania.com. Or David Henderson, long-time member of the small science fiction club Psi Phi at Bradley University (my alma mater). As a subsection of the club's website he kept up a database of Star Trek novels, and one day Pocket Books asked him to help them manage the master list that they print in the back of each book. Or Ben Yee, whose demonstration of Transformers knowledge on the internet led to writers on the show using him as an official consultant, and he's been involved with various tangential Transformers properties ever since, such as the official fan club and the annual Botcon convention.
No doubt these things came as pleasant and unexpected surprises to each of those people. I can attest to that, when I stopped lurking and joined the MegaTokyo forum in the fall of '02 to promote my new MT reference website, I never imagined that one day I would not only be a forum moderator, but that I would be helping Fred directly with proofreading and content generation for the Volume 5 MegaTokyo book.
There are a few sections of megatokyo.com that have been empty so long they're little more than a joke, including but not limited to the character section that Fred erased in defiance when people complained he wasn't keeping it up to date. For the longest time these pages had a "don't wanna" message of sorts. Finally with the website redesign and my agreement to help Fred put in some content, that changed to a "coming eventually" placeholder. Okay, so it's taken a while.
The Community page has actually had stuff on it for some time now, but you may not have noticed. It's essentially a "best of" from the master list on my own site. Plus just recently I've added links to some of Fred's social network accounts that you may not have known about. The FAQ page now has actual questions and answers, based on a cross section of my site's MT FAQ, a FAQ from a now-defunct MT fansite, a FAQ that Dom started pulling together a while back, and the FAQs in our Story Discussions forum's sticky threads.
One of the parts of doing the books that Fred always professed to hating is setting up the "story so far" for new readers in the foreward, which of course only got harder and harder as time went by. It turns out he just needed a little help organizing, I tossed out a couple sentences describing each chapter and he was able to expand on them nicely for the back section of Volume 5. I've copied those paragraphs into the Story page (which once upon a time had only this image for content), and added further summaries for the subsequent chapters. I've also done a far more detailed version if you prefer.
The Characters page? Let me get back to you on that. Once again I gave Fred enough of a start to get that section of Volume 5 going, but we were still trying to nail down the design for the web version when all this Jack stuff hit and Fred's ability to have five consecutive minutes to focus on anything shot down the tubes. But if you just need some extra help keeping names and faces straight, I've already got you covered. And if you need something more in depth than that to keep track of everyone, there's this made by some other folks.
There's one more thing that's not actually all that new, but I'd like to toss out some credit where it is due. You probably have noticed by now that the new MT website has a comic search engine. The transcript used to enable that at launch was the brainchild of Tom Harris, once known in the forum as Telliamed. He originally had it set up on a small site with a fairly simple but effective search script. At some point I noticed he wasn't coming around the forum anymore and had stopped updating the transcript, so I picked it up and kept it going, but I doubt I would have ever started it of my own accord if Telliamed had not laid the groundwork. I am still maintaining it separately along with my own search page that I started working on prior to learning that the webmonk33z team was crafting their own far more versatile version. The transcript, however you run a search in it, has come in very handy over the years, not only for my own needs but for all those times Fred has asked me to look up something for him in the old comics!