A long time ago (on an internet far far away), I created one of the earliest webcomics, Argon Zark!, a cyberpunk humor/adventure story about a computer geek who has invented a way to be physically transported into and through the World Wide Web.
For a long time I thought it was the very first online comic — simply because I couldn’t find any others for comparison or inspiration — but as search and internet history improved over time, I found there were a couple of others that preceded it by a few months.
Argon Zark!, however, was certainly the first long-form (comic book or graphic novel style) webcomic, the first drawn in a format specifically for the computer screen, the first drawn entirely on the computer and the first to incorporate elements of animation and interactivity.
I pursued the project for a number of years, but I was finally worn down by my inability to make the comic pay for the enormous amount of time it demanded. Selling a few T-shirts here and there didn’t cut it, and the fun wasn’t enough to sustain me through the huge number of hours required to maintain progress.
Weary and somewhat defeated, I felt I had to put the comic aside for lack of funding. It’s been dormant now for more than ten years (sigh).
Since then, however, things have changed. The size and activity of the web has increased by orders of magnitude since the mid 90s, and not only are there now hundreds (if not thousands) of webcomics, there are new resources for funding such projects — notably “crowdfunding” sites, and in particular, Patreon.
Patreon allows those who wish to support a creator’s work to contribute a small amount each month on an ongoing basis. With sufficient numbers of patrons, this can give a creator the leeway to put dedicated time and effort into their project. It’s explained in more detail on the new Argon Zark! Patreon page.
So, I’ve relaunched the comic, with the intention of trying that avenue, and in the process, I’ve taken the interactive elements of the pages out of Flash (which limited its availability on iPads) and put them into HTML5.
I’ve also gone through all of the pages in the most recent, ongoing story, and made them 50% larger, as well as adding to and revising many of the “special features” incorporated into the comics pages.
Some of you who are long time Lines and Colors readers may remember the strip, and even if you’ve read the story thus far, you may find it enjoyable to go back and reread the newly enhanced version.
(You can also still read the original first Argon Zark! story, though it is still at its original size to fit the small resolution of mid-90s computer screens.)