20 Years of Help-lessness
March 31, 2016 2:49 PM   Subscribe

I was 20 years ago today techie Christopher B. Wright used his copy of Microsoft Paint for OS/2 to awkwardly draw a comic about "the software biz". Two decades of irregular updating and failed spin-offs later, Help Desk continues, basically unimproved in its art, with today's interesting plot twist.
posted by oneswellfoop (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My God, I remember reading this in the beginning (well, 1997, but close enough). I had no idea it still existed, let alone was ongoing.
posted by Hactar at 3:01 PM on March 31, 2016

The first run of webcomics tended to be ultra-crappy, and the ones that managed to last this long either ended up staying almost exactly the same or by changing radically.

Obviously MeFi's Own clango is the exception.
posted by infinitewindow at 3:10 PM on March 31, 2016

whatever happened to user friendly?
posted by boo_radley at 3:26 PM on March 31, 2016

Um, I believe that 1996 was 10 years ago, not 20.
posted by littlesq at 3:28 PM on March 31, 2016 [25 favorites]

Don't stop believin'...
posted by briank at 3:30 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hmmm, how many years ago was 2006?
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 4:06 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm still writing 2006 on my checks.
posted by miguelcervantes at 4:53 PM on March 31, 2016 [6 favorites]

leisuretown? (Wikipedia)
posted by lazycomputerkids at 4:57 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

"NOTE: Quotes from Wikipedia are subject to artistic interpretation and not necessarily representative of actual quotes from Wikipedia."

This is a good comic. May it not continue for another twenty years.
posted by Chichibio at 5:15 PM on March 31, 2016

What other early comics are still kicking it? Last I checked Sluggy Freelance seemed basically unchanged.
posted by crazy with stars at 5:47 PM on March 31, 2016

posted by aroweofshale at 5:54 PM on March 31, 2016 [3 favorites]

Kevin and Kell celebrated its 20th anniversary last September, it's still updating daily and its creator is now doing TWO syndicated newspaper strips (with mostly non-furry casts).
Nukees will hit 20 next January while PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper) and Sluggy will hit 19 later this year.
Freefall just hit its 18th birthday with no fanfare, PvP reaches that age in about a month and Penny Arcade later this year.
Cat and Girl hits 17 in June, and most of the other '20th Century' webcomics of note have been ended.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:02 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Real Life technically makes the cut of being a 20th century webcomic, although I suspect I'm one of a very few who will "note" it, with a first post date of November 15, 1999. Whether it's still around is... debatable.

I miss KeenSpot (and KeenTunes! I still quote Space Tree on a regular basis). I'd totally forgotten about both User Friendly and Help Desk (I remember reading Help Desk originally on KeenSpot; I was confused by this new domain the site was on when I so *clearly* remembered the comic itself). Now I know what I'm doing this weekend...
posted by notnamed at 8:18 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

What other early comics are still kicking it? Last I checked Sluggy Freelance seemed basically unchanged.

Boston and Shaun hasn't posted since 2009, but hope springs eternal
posted by modernserf at 10:00 PM on March 31, 2016 [2 favorites]

Pokey the penguin is still running I guess!!
posted by hap_hazard at 11:01 PM on March 31, 2016 [1 favorite]

John Allison is still drawing comics from the Tackleford universe under various different names; he started Bobbins in 1998. I guess technically he's worked on separate comics in that universe but it's the same cast of characters and same locales, so maybe counts?
posted by parm at 2:47 AM on April 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

It does get complicated for some long-running webcomic CREATORS... In fact, Allison's "Tackleford universe" now includes the comic book series "Giant Days" (written by him with art by others).

Dave Willis spent umpteen years from 1997 in the 'Walkyverse' under various titles before rebooting everything in 2010 with new versions of his old characters in the badly titled "Dumbing of Age".

Isabel Marks' oddly-titled "Nemir Deiter" ran from 1999 to 2015 only to be retitled "Nicole and Derek" for the next generation of cat-and-bunny-people.

And Christopher Baldwin has done one-or-more different ongoing comics since 1996: the slice-of-life "Bruno", the funny animal "Little Dee" and four different sci-fi stories (three completed).
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:54 AM on April 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Daily space opera strip Schlock Mercenary will turn 16 in June, so not quite as old as some of these but notable because it never misses an update. And it certainly fits the pattern mentioned upthread of the art starting out terrible and steadily improving.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:33 AM on April 1, 2016

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