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Hourly Comics

Posted: September 4, 2013

Hourly comics!

A Brief History of Time-Sensitive Comics

Late in December 2005, an artist and storyteller named Janet created a new project for herself: From January 1 to Febrary 1, every waking hour of every day, she would draw a concise cartoon depicting something that happened in that hour. It's called the Hourly Comic, and it was truly a spectacle. We see the quotidian mundanities, the patterns that arise in the lives of her plain little figures, and feel at once a touching intimacy and a twisted voyeurism.

With a warm reception, she continued the project, and invited others to participate as well. But 32 days is burdensome! Thus February 1 was dubbed HOURLY COMIC DAY, a day when scores and scores of people (of varying artistic talents) open up and share their personal lives. It's a terrifying thing to do, but it leads to some beautiful moments. Some of my favorites include a diary from an Estonian lighthouse-keeper, and when significant-others Ryan Pequin and Emily Partridge offered different takes on their day spent together.

I started trying the Hourly Comic Month-and-a-Day gambit from 2008, when I was a naïve but ambitious high school senior. Some years I succeeded. Other years, I didn't. And I was nowhere near as productive as my future girlfriend Penny, whose hourly comic output volume rivalled Andrew Hussie's daily comic output. Penny comicked six months a year, which is bonkers. That's what made me shyly private-message her on the Hourly Comic forum one night. Now we live together, which is ALSO bonkers!!

Fumetti Urari??

At some point I discovered that the Corsican language differentiates between velar, palatal, and alveolar plosives (which is so cool and weird, most languages merge palatal with one of the other two, but I digress). As a result, you get some really awesome, really unusual spellings—the word for "January" is ghjennaghju, and "February" is ferraghju. I don't know what drove me to incorporate Corsican month-names into my hourly comic website, but I did. And then I added a brief welcome in Corsican. And then I changed the navigation to Corsican. Sometimes these things just happen.

Okay, so, where are the comics then?

Life online has changed a lot since 2005 online. As it gets easier and more common for people's web histories to become weaponized against them, a lot of Hourly Comics archives have gone away. Janet's are long gone. Penny's are long gone. I've decided to do likewise.