There are many tools on the internet that you can take advantage of if you wanted to publish a web comic. If you did not want to use the publishing sites Drunk Duck and Tapastic, and instead wanted a more versatile site that you can customize and make your own, both the WordPress plugin Comic Easel and the theme Panel can give you everything you need. But which one is better? Which one is more versatile?
Themes Vs. Plugins:
The biggest difference between the two are the types of tools that they are. As a WordPress theme, Panel can be installed to your WordPress and you can immediately start publishing comics. This is a strength for beginners in web publishing as it lets you get running immediately. Comic Easel, however, is a WordPress plugin, and as such you will need a separate theme installed and ready before you can take advantage of it’s web comic navigation features. This is not a bad thing and in fact makes it by nature a more versatile option.
Though aesthetically speaking the Panel theme is very pleasant, it is limiting. Yes, you can edit it and add your own flare to it, but it’s basic structure will not change without editing it’s CSS and PHP files. If coding is not your strong suite this means that your site will, at it’s core, resemble every other web comic that uses it. There are hundreds of thousands of web comics on the internet, all of which struggle to be seen and be more memorable than the others. Looking like every other page is not the thing you want to do. Comic Easel will help you break the mold.
Comic Easel Customization:
It may take more time, but Comic Easel (as a plugin) allows you to select (or build) any theme you desire. You are not limited to the same fonts and basic layout Panel provides. As such, you can make your site stand out among the crowd and look exactly like you need it to be. Once installed, Comic Easel adds a web comic navigation, and uploading system that has more customization (down to the navigation buttons) and is intuitive. Beyond this, Comic Easel is not a core program like a theme, which makes deciding to use something else or changing your theme easy.
Comic Easel also allows you to run multiple comic series (or chapters) at once and keep the comic navigation. This is not something that you can do with Panel. If you have more than one series, or wanted to break your story into chapters, Comic Easel is the only option.
Both are great options for your website, and both have added much ease to the web comic community. Comic Easel, however is the better option in the long run. Panel might get you on the internet faster, but at some point you are going to want to upgrade or change your website. Make it easier for yourself in the future by going with Comic Easel.