Help Desk Turns 18

Submitted by Christopher Wright on

18 years ago today Help Desk appeared for the first time on a web site devoted to news about an operating system some of you may not even remember these days. Each complete comic had to be under 12-15k in size in order for it to load in a reasonable amount of time on a 28.8 modem—15k was pushing it. The first comic was 12.8k in size, and my artistic ability was even worse than it is today. I know that's hard to believe, so here's proof:

That was the very first comic I ever published. It's... not even particularly funny, to be honest.

When I started this I didn't really think it'd keep going for 18 years. I know there will be people who will point out that in terms of raw output, whether or not I “deserve” to claim 18 years of comics is debatable—certainly there are comics who have been around for less time but who have vastly greater archives (just browse over to the Schlock Mercenary archives for the best example of that). Help Desk has had plenty of production lapses which make it eligible for any number of asterisks you like next to the phrase “18 years,” from 1997 (only two comics published) to the pretty regular “weeks and months without updates” my long-term readers have become resigned to. Even so, if you take the total number of comics I've published and you spread them out over 18 years, you get about two and a half comics a week, which is better than the one comic week schedule I started with. And if you add on top of that the occasional Kernel Panic, the even more occasional Old School Webcomic, the amazingly infrequent PCtown (surprise guys!) and—since 2010—my forays into fiction... I'm pretty pleased with my output. Even on its own, even taking into account the irregular updates, 18 years requires a certain amount of endurance, especially when you've got a comic that's not just self-published, it's also mostly self-financed.

So yeah, Help Desk is an adult now. That's a pretty interesting feeling. And like many people who find that they've suddenly come of age, Help Desk finds itself at a crossroads—it doesn't really know what it wants to do with its life. Most of the options it sees are kind of depressing, and it can't really afford college. Hey, maybe it should start a band.

I was 24 when I started the comic, and I'm 42 now. I'm not really sure how to process that.


Comments are active for 30 days after publication. If you wish to comment after 30 days please use the Forums.

Teamers represent!  And if

Teamers represent!  And if Doctor Who can claim 50 years given that there was only one episode between 1987 and 2005, I think you're good :) .

Congratulations!  Here's to

Congratulations!  Here's to many more years of frustration, anxiety and overload just so your dear readers can laugh.

I hope it is better for you than that, but I know I like what you put out here for us.  Thanks for your comics and fiction!

Considering the (vast) number

Considering the (vast) number of comics that have existed, both in print and on-line, no one can expect you to have a consistent output for 18 years straight. Even Berkley Brethed took time off.

What is more important is that you stuck with it, that you improved (unlike so many web-comics that came after you, ripping off your style or never being funny in the first place) and continue to bring fresh ideas (PC Town for example) and I salute you.


Here's to 18 more.

Wait, there were comics

Wait, there were comics ripping off my style? That's awesome!

I want to see these comics!!!

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

No, you don't, to see them

No, you don't, to see them would give the pathetic "creators" validity, and nobody wants that

I guess. I've never been

I guess. I've never been blatantly ripped off before, though. As far as I know. It's kind of flattering.

Writer, former musician, occasional cartoonist, and noted authority on his own opinions.

The Help Desk equivalent of

The Help Desk equivalent of "Adolescent Radioactive Black-Belt Hamsters"?  I think I'd want to see it, too.