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Smithson Thus Far... ·


First of all, I make an adorable boxer. Also of note: Mell is leaning on a strip that hasn't run yet. Way to go with the spoilers, Shaenon of the past!

So did I do the right thing by joining Modern Tales? I still don't know. A lot of people have told me that I could've gotten a much bigger readership by keeping Narbonic free for the length of its run, and they're probably right. On the other hand, all my comics are free now, and Skin Horse and these very Narbonic reruns have about the readership Narbonic had while it was behind the subscription wall. Maybe a little more. I suspect my comics are always going to appeal to a select audience, no matter how they're presented.

And Modern Tales has been good to me in other ways, mainly by giving me the chance to meet a lot of people I love very much, Joey Manley among them. He's nothing but trouble, but I do love him.

I took Narbonic off Modern Tales in its final months, but that is another story and shall be told another time. I'm now the content editor for MT, and while I've been in charge the subscription model has been phased out; it's now effectively a free site supported (more or less) by advertising, which will have to do until we hit upon something better. Meanwhile, I've still got free hosting for my archives. Which was all I signed up for in the first place, so go figure.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Let me tell you a tale.

As you know, in 2005 almost all of the arcs beyond "Interview with the Mad Scientist" were locked behind the paywall. However, it was very easy for me and dozens of other people to guess the URLs of the strip images for most every locked day beyond that point. They obeyed this format: ""

And so I snuck under the wall - and what I saw were wondrous sights and fabulous things. I saw everything that happened to those characters until I came to a stop right here. For the Tuesday of that week was when the image URL changed from
to something else altogether that I could not guess, namely

And, as you notice, it stops right in the middle of a very action-packed moment indeed. What a cruel barb of fate! I was deprived of narrative resolution, and with no hope of ever seeing the conclusion until I had purchased it (which, back then, was something I couldn't do). Over those subsequent days I felt an unusual sense of frustration and loss, which in turn fermented my gradual, growing affection for the comic and its characters into a strong sense of longing. And so, several months later when I received my first credit card, my first purchase was a ten dollar subscription to MT, made with an addled, giddy heart.

So there it is: if there was any one explanation for my inexplicable teenaged infatuation with this comic, then it is because it was behind a partially broken paywall. True story!
Leon Arnott (l) says:
(Note to self: delete above comment tomorrow to prevent my future employers from ever seeing it.)
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: *giggles at Leon, to the bemusement of his future employers*
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile