'Sluggy Freelance' Celebrates 10 Years on the Web

Sluggy Freelance from August 25, 1997 i i

The first Sluggy Freelance Web comic from August 25, 1997 introduced readers to former Web designer, Torg, and his friend Riff the inventor. Pete Abrams hide caption

itoggle caption Pete Abrams
Sluggy Freelance from August 25, 1997

The first Sluggy Freelance Web comic from August 25, 1997 introduced readers to former Web designer, Torg, and his friend Riff the inventor.

Pete Abrams

When the world was first introduced to the Web comic Sluggy Freelance, a character named Riff had summoned the devil online. Riff discovered that the only way to get Satan out of his computer was playing an endless loop of Alanis Morrisette's music.

These kinds of zany situations are typical for Sluggy Freelance characters, who have found themselves crossing into other dimensions and fighting aliens, among other adventures. Creator and illustrator Pete Abrams celebrates a decade of his Internet comic this weekend.

The strip started as a gag-a-day comic, but Abrams says he soon found himself creating longer, more involved story lines. The strip's length grew — today it can reach up to 20 panels — along with its audience, which numbers around 100,000 readers.

Characters took on lives of their own. Riff's friend, Torg, a former Web designer, started as an easygoing everyman, but soon became one of the strip's heroes. Characters like Zoe and Gwynn each have their own peculiarities, and two talking animals named Bunbun and Kiki are featured prominently in story lines.

Abrams says that his illustrations are more polished than when he started. "When I first started Sluggy it was really a very quick sketchy style," Abrams says. "I had the right number of fingers, but maybe the arms were two different lengths."

Though the strip's devoted fans, called "Sluggites," devour Abrams' books, T-shirts and plush toys, Abrams says he'll never put the strip into newspaper syndication because he doesn't want to forfeit editorial control.

Abrams tells Liane Hansen how his Web comic has evolved over the years.

Books Featured In This Story

Little Evils

by Pete Abrams

Paperback, 330 pages | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Little Evils
Author
Pete Abrams

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Sluggy Freelance

When Holidays Attack!

by Peter Abrams

Paperback | purchase

Purchase Featured Book

Title
Sluggy Freelance
Subtitle
When Holidays Attack!
Author
Peter Abrams

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.