The webcomics blog about webcomics

Thursday Already?

On the heels of last week’s post about deadlines, I got a little distracted with relocating down the highway (which I’m unfortunately suspecting revokes my membership in the so-called Webcomics Mecca of the Northampton area…). In getting settled, I spent a little time driving around my new city trying to sort out the electricity. My new city is a municipality, which is kind of interesting (now that I’m over being baffled by how to make the electricity in the new place work). Still, it took a trip downtown to file some paperwork to get it all sorted out, and I got lost on the way back to the highway. But it got me thinking about how we’re introduced to things and concepts; I’ve been stewing on a few questions about webcomics that I haven’t been able to answer in any kind of concrete way, and then I thought a little audience participation might be in order.

See, I don’t know that many folks personally who read webcomics (and the ones I do know who do read webcomics pretty much read the same ones that I do). My shorthand for finding new webcomics, lately at least, has been either Google or from recommendations. Hence, I ran across this webcomic, which didn’t have much to do with the topic (though in Googling “webcomic” and “electricity” it was one of the first ones that came up and it made me laugh out loud, so…).

I’ve already name-checked the webcomics that functioned as my proverbial gateway drugs, and some of the comments on earlier columns mentioned good recommendations, but I’m curious about where people started when they started reading webcomics. Are you still reading those same webcomics? I’ve heard from a few folks that they’ve given up on certain webcomics they once rather liked, which I think is interesting and a little unfortunate (but, again, a fair amount like off-line comics reading…).

So…where did y’all start?

I started in 1999 with Penny Arcade. Still my absolute favorite webcomic.

There are a few comics that I’m subscribed to that I don’t really enjoy that much anymore (I don’t want to name them), but I don’t want to stop out of respect for the comic as a whole. However, comics that stop updating or switch to ridiculous “whenever” update schedules are fair game to strike off the list.

i started a while ago and cant remember exactly when or where it was. i think i started with penny arcade around 1999 too. back in the old days when PA wasnt as big i got a few good links from it to other comics like pvp. from there the list exploded. currently i read a few dozen comics pretty regularly depending on their update schedules. i’ve seen s a few come and go over time. i’ve only really stopped reading one comic because of a complete change in writing style. i like my comics they give me a laugh, and i dont think i’ll ever stop looking for more

I started with Sluggy Freelance back when it was a simple gag based strip with a newspaper like format. I was a devoted fan and read the strip daily. I stopped reading it sometime in 2005 when the storytelling became too spread out and difficult to follow, not to mention less interesting. I’ve checked back in a few times since but have never gotten back into it.

Someone told me to check out “User Friendly” in late 1999 or early 2000. At some point after that, they had a cross-over with “Waiting for Bob”, which was a member of Fleen (original) and thereby introduced me to all those.

I still look at User Friendly every once and a while, and Waiting for Bob hasn’t updated with an actual strip since… uh, Feb. 28, 2001.

I started when I got linked to 8-Bit Theater from somewhere. That eventually led to I think Crtl-Alt-Del and it kinda snowballed from there.

Echo on the Penny Arcade. I’ve kept a Comics folder in my links/bookmark toolbar folder since around 1999 and the only one I can really remember being there for the entire run is Penny Arcade.

I used to be into Megatokyo but got really sick of the horrible update ‘schedule’ and just gave up on it.

I also remember Little Gamers coming around, that was sometime after Penny Arcade. A quick look at their archives and I seem to remember some strips from around mid-2001. I believe Real Life was another from that time.

The rest of my list of daily “must-read” comics have all been there for under two years, and I’ve rotated through several webcomics since I started. The list above are the ‘rocks’.

I started back in 1998 with the one that seems to go way under the radar when people talk about the early history of webcomics: Pokey the Penguin. Then I went on a hiatus for a few years. (Well, why not? If webcomic creators can do it, so can readers.) Sometime in 2005, I accidentally surfed (remember when people “surfed” the “World Wide Web”?) to RPG World. Besides regularly updating, it was then part of the now defunct Bag of Chips quasi-collective. From there I found Goats, and then the already mentioned snowball effect kicked in.’s Filler, then Sluggy Freelance.

Sluggy Freelance was first, and I got caught up as the first vampire story wrapped up. A friend introduced me to that one. I found many, many more on my own, and by the time I started working my way through the GPF archives I realized I could do this sort of thing.

I don’t remember the very first webcomic I read, but I know Sluggy, MegaTokyo, and Polymer City Chronicles were among the first I read when I started reading around 2001. Of the three, I’ve only stopped following PCC.

Others that came later included Bad Boys of Computer Science, Strange Candy, Tsunami Channel, CRFH, and 8-Bit Theater. I still follow them (except BBoCS, which died).

About 5 years ago, I can remember spending days going through the archives of Goats. From there I went to, discovered a list of comics that I liked and since then have watched it evolve as I found better material.

Also, I’ve wondered how different people manage their stable of webcomics. I’ve found that having a fixed number (26 that I check daily, 15-20 that I swing by about once a week) has not only helped to keep me from spending all day reading comics, but also forced me to take a hard look at what I’m reading every once in a while and decide whether I still enjoy it or if I’m just visiting out of habit.

In late 2000, my college friend told us all about a webcomic she would be posting soon, Eat the Roses. And she gave us all the pleasure of being minor characters. She was on Keenspace, and from there I discovered many more.

My first webcomic was Men In Hats. I remember being amazed that there was a comic out there with such acerbic, off-color humor. Sadly, it ended several years ago. Later I ran into Questionable Content — it’s the characters that hooked me. Once I felt like I really knew Dora and Faye and Marten, I couldn’t stop reading.

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