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<   No. 2000   2008-07-18   >

Comic #2000

1 Long Tom: {out of the cooking pot} So ye'll be releasin' us, then?
2 Native: Not so fast. Even though we won't eat you, we can still make toothpicks from your bones.
3 Ponsonby: That would be a job lot of toothpicks. How many do you need?
4 Native: Do you know how stringy human flesh is?
4 Ponsonby: Words cannot describe how emphatic this "no" is...

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2000 strips.

Holy cow.

Two thousand strips.

How did that happen?

This got me thinking. How many other webcomics have reached 2000 strips? "Oh," I thought, "surely there must be heaps of them. Every man and his dog makes a webcomic these days."

Well, that's the point. These days they do. But to reach 2000 strips, you need to have been publishing a comic every day since 2002 (well, almost; this will actually be true in just a few days). There weren't nearly as many webcomics around in 2002. What's more, very few webcomics publish every single day. Five days a week is more common, and at that rate, you'd need to have started by late 2000 at the latest. Probably even more common seems to be three strips a week, which pushes your starting date back to 1995.

In 1995, the World Wide Web was two years old. There were like... two webcomics in existence at that time*. Nobody in the world but the authors knew about them**. The word "webcomic" hadn't even been invented***.

[* I exaggerate. There were probably actually three.]
[** Exaggeration. Presumably someone was reading them.]
[*** Actually this one might be true.]

So I did a search for webcomics with over 2000 strips. Here's what I found:

That's it. 21 comics. It's possible there are a few more - I'd be surprised if one or two haven't managed to escape my search. Let's say 25.

At first I was stunned by how short this list is. Then I was stunned again by what comics were on this list. These are all big names in webcomics. I mean big names*. I am not actually a huge webcomic reader myself, certainly not in the league of someone like Eric Burns, a.k.a. Websnark. There's only a couple of dozen webcomics I read. But despite not reading many of these comics, I have heard of them. Every single one. What's more, not only have I heard of them all, but I consider them all to be significant and important contributions to the field of webcomics. Not one of them is an obscure, low-readership, niche comic.

[* Edit: I've added a few slightly more obscure ones since this comic first went to air, thanks to the input of readers. So now a few of them are not ones I was previously familiar with. But still, almost all of them are what I consider to be big, significant names.]

There are some very widely known comics here. PvP. Sluggy Freelance. User Friendly. Real Life. Schlock Mercenary. Almost anyone who has ever looked at a comic on the Internet knows one or more of these. And then there's Narbonic. Melonpool. Ozy and Millie. I feel like adding "for crying out loud" - do you get that I'm trying to emphasise how amazingly influential and significant these strips are? Sinfest! Kevin and Kell! General Protection Fault!

Every single comic on this list is important in the world of webcomics!

So the question I find myself asking is: What the Hell am I doing joining an elite and illustrious group like this?

I was just bored one day and thought, "Hey, this newfangled idea of putting comics on the web looks cool. I might try it." Five and a half years later, here I am typing this.

I never had any pretensions that I was doing anything particularly worthwhile or significant. I'm not doing this to sell advertising space or T-shirts. I'm not doing it because I have a message to get out there. I'm not doing it because I crave an audience. In fact, on that point, I would not at all be surprised if I had a lower readership then any of the comics mentioned above, and by a very large margin.

I make comics because I enjoy making them. (If I didn't, I would have given up ages ago!) I try to make them enjoyable for you. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't - I don't let it bother me much.

What am I trying to say?

Bill Holbrook. Steve Troop. Howard Tayler. Greg Dean. Shaenon K. Garrity, for crying out loud. Illiad. Pete Abrams! Scott. Friggin'. Kurtz!

These are some of the legends of webcomics. Me? Not so much. I'm only anywhere near a field like this by virtue of sheer quantity of output.

But now that I've forced my way up here, I'm just going to bask in the glow for a bit. Come back tomorrow, when work starts on the next thousand strips.

2019-09-28 Rerun commentary: Interestingly, I passed 4000 IWC strips not too long ago, and didn't really bother to mark the occasion beyond using it as an excuse to make a joke about big round numbers of years being un-statistically common in fiction.

I checked TV Tropes page for Webcomics Long Runners to see how many other webcomics have reached 4000 strips, but the page has changed from counting strips to simply listing comics by age since they premiered.

I'll just do some calculations and point out that IWC had been going for getting close to 17 years now. If I'd updated daily without fail I'd have reached well over 6000 strips by now. A comic updating weekdays for 17 years would have made 4400 strips.

I actually feel like I have a bit of catching up to do for those years I spent doing weekly essays instead...

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