GABE and TYCHO
(Michael Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, PENNY ARCADE)
by Bruce Brenneise
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One of the most notable webcomics today, as well as perhaps the first to demonstrate an ability to make them financially viable and independent in the wake of the tech bubble, is /Penny Arcade/ (www.penny-arcade.com), by Michael Krahulik and Jerry Holkins (in the comic, they go by the names of Gabe and Tycho). It is a combination of blog (web log) and comic, allowing a synthesis of game review both visually and verbally (as well as a very effective method of gathering an audience for targeted advertising).
Since starting the webcomic in 1998, Gabe and Tycho have managed to turn a hobby into a business, and then parlay their growing influence with the gaming community and gaming industry into a very nonconventional form of business. They have also created a yearly charity, Child's Play (www.childsplaycharity.org), devoted to giving games to sick children in Children's Hospitals across the country.
The style of the comic itself is similar in format and composition to a traditional newspaper comic, or perhaps more accurately Gary Larson's /Far Side/ strips. Posted online tri-weekly, the comic is generally composed of 1-5 panels using a digital (photoshop) colored efffect. Example
The content usually concerns gameplay, but given Gabe and Tycho's well-known adversion to dreaded /continuity/, the strip often boasts extremely random characters, situations, or the hypothetical homicide of Gabe or Tycho, by the other one.
Many well known webcomics artists today credit Penny Arcade as an inspiration in terms of both its style and its ground-breaking of the internet as a new format for comics.
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