I’ve grown up with webcomics. Since about freshman year of high school I’ve dutifully checked different webcomics daily. The best part was when you found a new webcomic and could read through the archives, one after another, until you caught up; MegaTokyo took a while to get caught up and 8-Bit Theater was a fun story. (Thank goodness RSS feeds came along or I don’t think I’d be able to keep up with all the different comics I read now.) All that being said, my head is filled with webcomic references that either work as sources of pop culture or would allow me to explain something in a humorous way, if only I could find the comic I was referring to. With most webcomics being strictly images and me not remembering that webcomic1302.png was the one I wanted, a site’s archives were key and if you were lucky, you could search their titles to find what you wanted. Most times, however, you aren’t lucky. You might remember a character, a line of dialog, or just the story a webcomic was trying to tell and in a few years time, that comic will be impossible to find. Fortunately, that’s where the Oh No Robot comics search engine comes in.
Oh No Robot allows you to search over 119,608 comics in 1,831 series. You can search for keywords from dialog or metadata that’s been transcribed. You can view the list of results or hit the ‘Let the Robot Decide!’ which works much like the “I’m feeling lucky!” button from Google and go to the first returned result.
You can also perform an advanced search which allows you to pick a specific comic to search, and optionally choose fields to include in the search like the dialog, character’s names, sound effects, or meta information.
The results will come back to you in a list where you can see the transcription of the comic and other data appended to it. This can help you much more easily find that comic you’re looking for.
Oh No Robot isn’t just about being a search engine though. You can help with the transcription process by adding metadata to the comics you already read. You can find comics that need transcribing here: http://ohnorobot.com/helpout.pl Crowd-sourcing works best by everybody pitching in to do a little instead of one person having to do a lot.
You can also use Oh No Robot to find other comics to check out with their random comics overlay that allows you to move to browse their collection of comics.
If you’re a webcomic artist, the Oh No Robot search engine helps your readers search your comics and can help potential new fans find your comic. They list a lot of benefits for webcomic artists to adopt the service.
Check out Oh No Robot: Comic Search! to be able to find those comics you’re looking for, find new comics, or get involved in transcribing the comics you’re currently reading.