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As time goes by...

What geeky/comic/culture things were you doing 20/15/10/5 years ago?

20 years ago, I used to spend all my spare time (and scarce money) playing videogames at the arcade, and thought computers were just calculators able to handle alpha-numeric data, cryptic, strange machines that vaguely resembled typewriters that required a whole college degree to use. I'm not fond of maths, and weren't even by then, so I thought I wouldn't have access to a computer in my life.

15 years ago, I read on a computer magazine and that Logitech had released a hand scanner for Mac that "would let users to capture pictures up to 256 shades of grey right into their computer's screens". The price of the device was 2500 dollars or the stuff. I thought that little, weirdly shaped device was ubercool, but as far away from my reach as a trip to Jupiter.

10 years ago, I was vaguely aware of the 'information superhighways' that the US government wanted to popularize. I remember I read a funny article on a general information magazine saying all Americans would spend the future roaming among the thousands of "newsgroups" on Usenet with names as funny as alt.barney.die.die.die. Back by then, I didn't have the slightest idea on how to use the Internet, how to connect, or even how to read a newsgroup on Usenet. And felt really envious of Americans and their luck, too.

5 years ago, I tried my first serious attempt to do a web-based comic. I was aware that there had been a few dozens of web-based comics on the Internet, and some of them even updated regularly. Still, the Internet was a geeky realm, so getting more than 4 or 5 hits per day was impossible, since there were no ways to advertise your comic on the Internet.

Nowadays, I've learned there's no way to forecast the future. :)

RE: As time goes by...

Ha. Yeah. In 1993, I was taking tours of colleges, and the tour guides very excitedly told about this neat new system that would let us send our papers to our professors through our computers, rather than handing them in on paper. In 1994, I was a freshman in college, and the editor of the literary magazine tried to tell me about this cool new thing called "The World Wide Web" that he wanted to put the magazine on. And I just couldn't even grasp what it was he was trying to describe. In 1995, I had a job designing web pages for various departments at my school. In 1996, Snapple had their URL prominently displayed on every bottle of juice, and an ad campaign that didn't include web presence was quickly becoming a thing of the past. In three years, the internet went from unknown to ubiquitous. & Fairy Tales Experiments

RE: As time goes by...

Erik Melander's picture

I remember thinking back in 95 that mp3 would never hit big as a file format. Way too big files to download over a modem.

RE: As time goes by...

Man, the old days were good fun, surfing through bullitin boards, illegally downloading commander keen episodes. they were fun and on a 9600 baud modem aswell.

hell, my first pc, a 486 was quickly upgraded to a DX. this was to help my mom at uni. we upgraded to a low spec pentium and connected to the net on a 14.4k modem. We quickly upgraded to a 33.6 and eventually a 56k and hell, we thought that 48k was the beez kneez. I spent my first summer out of high school reading reallife for days on end and well, that was the end of me...

RE: As time goes by...

Uncle Ghastly's picture

20 years ago I was cruising with my 300 baud modem, sneering with contempt at those poor saps stuck on 110 and working in a computer retail store.

15 years ago I was a systems engineer and was cruising at a blistering 2400 baud.

In 95 I was helping to test out this whacky new system that would soon let people surf the internet through a highspeed connection over their television cable line.

Now I'm an ADSL user who draws a webcomic about tentacle monsters and the women who love them.

Whew! Where does the time go?

20 years ago I had been a member of the amateur press association Rowrbrazzle for only a year. The apa has been continuously publishing for over 20 years now, and I am still a member (it is still done entirely in print, using photocopy and the postal service).

15 years ago I had been collecting comics for about three years. The store I used to go to had opened up in my neighborhood and was in walking distance. They have moved to the other side of town but I never dropped the habit.

10 years ago I had been connected to this "Internet" thing for about a year, I guess. At that time shell accounts were the only thing available to me. Since then, my service provider got bought out, then THEY were bought out, then the third fish in line decided to cancel all non-business service. I moved to a new provider that didn't have a problem accepting money.

5 years ago I had just recently discovered webcomics, but didn't like Scott McCloud's book that suggested they might replace print. I've warmed up to the idea alot since then.

Give or take a couple years for all of these.

It's good to know ole' good

m_estrugo's picture

It's good to know ole' good Rowrbrazzle is still circulating. As far as I can tell, it must be one of the few classic APAs still in circulation.

20 years ago, it was all

20 years ago, it was all about Transformers, the toys, the cartoon, and yes, the only comic book I read was the Transformers comic.

15 years ago, big into RPGs, and, at the insistance of my best friend, just starting to get into comics books, primarily Marvel. Spent hours drawing super heroes the two of us invented.

10 years ago, actually working at Marvel, as an editorial intern.

5 years ago, only just recently back into comics, after having completely lost interest following the Marvel internship. Discovering alternative comics publishers played a big role. Not yet aware of webcomics specifically, but increasingly aware of online publishing in general, as my wife and I were beginning to publish our literary magazine online. & Fairy Tales Experiments

It's all comics for me

The William G's picture

20 years ago: Making comics with silly dreams of working for Marvel. Maybe it's my life in Asia, but I don't have dreams/ hopes anymore.

15: Not really making comics because I realized that I could never provide what the market wanted. I was both lacking the skills, and lacking the desire to play up to the mob by changing what I wanted to do.So I sat uncomfortably: Too mainstream to be indy, too indy to be mainstream. It was a different era.

10: Ditto. Similar output, similar level of desire to fit in. But I started picking up the pens again because I was hanging with the manga crowd. I aped the look, but I eventually realized that it was stupid of me to do that. It's not me.

5: Drawing for a local anthology series, a few mini-comics, and my university paper. Still couldnt/ didnt want to provide the material "the market" (such as it was in that area) wanted, but I stopped caring about that shit and started making comics for me. Heard people like me were putting comics on this inerwebs thing so I thought maybe I'd give it a shot.

Some people smoke, some drink, some take crack. Comics are my bad habit that I just cant shake.

As for geeky hobbies and stuff... I cant remember that well. I had a Doctor Who phase, a Star Trek phase, and anime phase, and a gaming phase like everyone else. But damned if I could place them on a timeline.


The William G - Romantic Drama, Post-Apocalyptic Monsters, and More Comic Experimentation

20 years ago

Aleph's picture

20 years ago I was falling into my drawings in order to shut out the chaos of a world I could barely grasp.

15 years ago I was celebrating my first year knowing my coolest ever friend, who would later become the love of my life and the person who saved it.

10 years ago I attended an automobile accident, but did not have the foresight to bring a car to the affair, and thus ended up in quite an embarassing position. That would be, umm, one knee inside out, one knee on the side, bookbag wrapped around my neck, head through windshield. Good thing above mentioned guy was there to take care of me.

5 years ago I enslaved my blue zombie cohort who would later become the person who handled the drudgework of my comic, filling in the layers which make my shading method look the way it does. I did not then have a comic, nor did I know I would do one until one year later, till then she was simply an all-purpose slave ^^;

20 Years Ago, I was trying

rabbitpie's picture

20 Years Ago, I was trying to figure out how to position my bottle so that I maximize the amount of milkflow.

15 Years Ago, I was too busy trying to be overachieving to be a dork.

12 Years Ago, I drew these little comics involving chickens in notebooks and never thought that more than 2 people would see the comics I make.

10 Years Ago, I was too poor to have a computer, and so I read things like math books.

5 Years Ago, I discovered the joy that was broadband. Oh, how I miss the days of reading 3 years worth of Sluggy (the first webcomic I discovered) in 2 days on a dial-up connection...

Read Seventh Draft!

IN THE YEAR 2000!!!!

Tim  Demeter's picture

20 years ago-highest form of technology I cared about: triple changing transformers

15 years ago-got into comics via the gateway drugs that were the 90's X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons and Batman the Animated Series, computers were around in some capacity, but NES was the only one I had any interest in.

5 years ago- Halfway through college, so I was too drunk to remember it now, but I managed to squeeze in a growing career in small press comics before before turning to the interweb side after graduating.

Tim Demeter
Reckless Life

Tim Demeter
does a bunch of neato stuff.
Bustout Odds

20 years ago

scarfman's picture

20 years ago on April 19 I celebrated having drawn a cartoon a day on notepaper for ten years. Once, I'd drawn one of them with MacPaint on my roommate's Mac.

15 years ago my daily cartoons were on hiatus because without a large enough social circle, i.e. readership, I wasn't motivated to draw them.

10 years ago I was reading and writing fanfiction on Usenet with a shell account. My wife had a PPP account with our ISP but we couldn't figure out how to make it work.

5 years ago it had been a year since I'd decided the dialup age was over and begun drawing daily cartoons for my previously all-text fanfiction website, and I switched from serializing short stories back to the daily gags I'd always done before.

Paul Gadzikowski,
Arthur, King of Time and Space New cartoons daily


Katie Sekelsky's picture

20 years ago... the only technology I was aware of was my wind-up baby-swing. And uh, whatever the latest advancements in diapers were at the time.

15 years ago... playing Number Munchers and Oregon trail on my elementary school's computers (all 2 of them).

10 years ago... playing better versions of Number Munchers and Oregon Trail in my elementary school's Mac lab. Got a brand new Dell at home with a 2GB harddrive. Mastered MS Paint. Probably started bugging my parents to get the Internet.

5 years ago... Fully immersed in digital culture at this point, unfortunately at that point still in the early-teenage-OMGAIMROCKS! sorta way, and with 28.8k modem. Starting messing around in webdesign at this point too, I think. Along with joining my first forums.

And now... well now I'm just wondering how it's possible that I've been doing webcomics for almost 4 years.


20/15/10/5 Years Ago

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I'm going to turn this thread into a question: What geeky/comic/culture things were you doing 20/15/10/5 years ago?

20 years ago (1986):  Sure I played videogames too.  I had an Apple IIe still which was great for playing arond with basic (and for playing ancient Apple games like Odysey and Zork) but wasn't quite as cool as a Macintosh.  I read a comic book now and then but I was definitely losing interest in it.

15 years ago (1991):  I didn't have a computer or the Internet at school.  No videogames other than sometimes playing Civilization on a friend's computer or creating some graphic design projects on another friend's Mac.  No comics really other than trying to get a comic into the school newspaper (which got rejected!).

10 years ago (1996):  I was pretty wired at this point - had a computer (plus one at work) but still had dial-up at home (work had pretty good access though).  I had finally gotten a comic published at law school so I was kind of back into making comics and reading at least stuff from the alternative weekly newspapers.  Discovered the world of webcomics at the end of 95 - stuff on geocities (I started posting stuff from my lawschool strip on a geocities account), stuff on RACS, stuff from a site called toontown or something (I can't actually remember right now).

Back then the biggest hurdle for comics was file size b/c anything over 50k on dialup was deathly slow.  Really you were aiming more for around 30k.

5 years ago (2001): In 1999 I got a cable modem (fast net at home, woo hoo!) and discovered Sluggy Freelance and eventually a much larger world of webcomics.  1999-2001 were years I made webcomics and generally had a a good time with it.  Big Panda was fun when it worked.  Keenspace at the beginning was a fun, smaller community (I much have had like th 15th account or somethng).

In 2003 the current incarnation of Comixpedia started and well it's pretty easy to see what I've been doing with webcomics since then as it's almost all been about this site :)



Xaviar Xerexes 

I am a Modern Major Generality.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.