Argon Zark! News

Adventures Into Digital Comics

A trailer is available online for the film Adventures Into Digital Comics written and directed by Sébastien Dumesnil.

I was not at the convention during which most of the films interviews took place, but I was one of the early round of long-distance intervews that were conducted in support of the film. Here is my interview about Argon Zark! and digital comics in conjunction with the film.

Adventures Into Digital Comics
Adventures Into Digital Comics

A History of Webcomics

T Campbell's new A History of Webcomics features several mentions of Argon Zark! and new artwork, including a chapter heading I did specifically for the book.

The book reproduces pages 56 and 57 from the webcomic and a new pencil drawing of Argon, Zeta and Cybert. It's an in-depth look at the origins and development of webcomics from the "Stone Age" when Argon Zark! and a few others were scattered about the vast empty plain of prehsistoric cyberspace, to the huge metropolis of current webcomics.
History of Webcomics illo
Chapter heading for A History of Webcomics

The Artistic History of Webcomics

This issue of The Webcomics Examiner has an in-depth article on The Artistic History of Webcomics, that includes extensive discussion of Argon Zark! and its place in the history of the artistic style and development of webcomics.

The issue also features a fun cover image of Argon and Zeta as interpreted by 3-d comics artist Joe Zabel, creator of the Trespassers mysteries.

Webcomics Examiner
The Webcomics Examiner

lines and colors

I've created a new weblog called lines and colors, devoted to drawing, comics, illustration, cartoons, digital art, and more.

lines and colors weblog - drawing, painting, illustration, comics, cartoons, webcomics
lines and colors

Argon Zark! techniques featured extensively in new book,

Steven Withrow's Webcomics: Tools & Techniques for Digital Cartooning is very much a how-to book and includes a full 8-page tutorial for a Zark page as well as my column on "Thoughts about creating and publishing a web comic".

The book conmtains 12 full 8-page tutorials: from myself, Cat Garza, Jenn Manley Lee, Shaenon Garrity, Drew Weing, Ursula Vernon, Amy Kim Ganter, John Allison, Justine Shaw, D. Merlin Goodbrey, Brendan Cahill, and Nick Bertozzi.

Webcomics is published by Barron's. You can order Webcomics from


Changes and additions to Zarkive

In celebration of the 10th anniversary, the entire first Argon Zark! webcomic has been brought out of the Zarkive and made available again. New sketches and page pencils have been added to the Zarkive as part of my thank you to those who have supported the site by purchasing the book or other AZ stuff. The Zarkive now includes AZ character sketches, page "pencils", unpublished AZ art and unpublished (non-Zark) comics from my dim and distant past. I'll keep adding when I can.

The Argon Zark! dead-tree edition
Argon Zark! hard copy

Argon Zark! is celebrating its 11th anniversary!

The first page was posted on June 27, 1995. As of June 27, 2005 the strip has been on the Web continuously for 11 years!

Argon Zark! was the first long-form comic strip created specifically to be published on the Web.

Although preceded on the Internet by Where the Buffalo Roam By Hans Bjordahl, a college newspaper strip that was made available for distribution through Usenet downloads prior to the advent of the Web, and Dr. Fun, a single panel cartoon that was originally created for small newspapers and later migrated to the Net, Argon Zark! was the first continuing comics story created exclusively to be published on the World Wide Web, and represents the beginning of webcomics as we know them today.

I would be interested in hearing from any of you who remember those first few months and are still following the strip today. Please write me at: .

Argon Zark! page 1
AZ page 1
Argon Zark! page 19
AZ page 19

Some Zark History

Read some of what people have had to say about Argon Zark! over the past 10 years.

Here is an article published by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1997, when the strip was about two years old.

See listings of additional Argon Zark! features in newspapers, magazines, radio, TV and the web press.

For more background on the strip, see the About Argon Zark! page.

You can see snapshots of the strip in various stages of its evolution on the Internet Archive.

Argon Zark! page 34
AZ page 34
Argon Zark! page 48
AZ page 48

New book features Argon Zark!

How to Draw and Sell Digital Cartoons by Leo Hartas (Barron's   $21.95)

This is an excellent look at the multi-faceted concerns of those interested in digital cartoons and comics, from inspiration to drawing, page layout, computer techniques, character design, coloring and publishing, both on the web and in print.

It's wide-ranging enough to touch on almost all aspects of the creation of digital comics, but focused enough to deal with specific techniques.

A fascinating and highly useful book that's also chock-full of beautiful digital art by many of the leading digital cartoonists and comics artists.

Argon Zark!, and art from the strip are highlighted on pages 6, 17, 60 and 142.

How to Draw and Sell Digital Cartoons
Digital Cartoons

Another recent book on digital cartooning that features Argon Zark!

Toon Art: The Graphic Art of Digital Cartooning by Steven Withrow, (Watson-Guptill   $29.95).

An overview of the current state of digital cartooning, it showcases many of the top digital cartoonists and comics artists working today, including a two page spread on Argon Zark!, as well as a brief overview of some of my techniques in the "Pixel-based Painting" section and a quote on the future of digital comics.

The book also includes tips and techniques, although its real strength is as a showcase of some of the best digital cartooning and comics art out there. A beautiful book.

Toon Art
Toon Art

I've added a new animated drawing tutorial on How to Draw Cartoon Dinosaurs to my Dinosaur Cartoons site.

How to draw cartoon dinosaurs
How to Draw Cartoon Dinosaurs

New web documentary on organ and tissue donation: The Gift of a Lifetime.

In addition to being an illustrator and Flash animator, I'm a kidney transplant recipient. I was privileged to work on this project. Go to Understanding Donation and click on "The Interactive Body" to see my part of the project, a series of interactive Flash animations on the organs and tissues that can be transplanted.

The Interactive Body
The Interactive Body

Dinosaur Cartoons

My Dinosaur Cartoons book can be ordered online direct (along with the Argon Zark! book), from Amazon, or from your local independent bookstore or local Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Dinosaur Cartoons
Dinosaur Cartoons

The Galactic Geographic! is still avaialble!

This is a stunningly beautiful and mind-expanding foray into speculation about life on other worlds, packaged as a remarkable artifact. Imagine having your friends drop by and notice this interesting book on your table, that turns out to be a coffee-table book from the future! An absolute treat!

The Galactic Geographic series originally ran in Heavy Metal magazine years ago, and is currently running there again. It was created by my favorite off-world artist, Karl Kofoed, who I am also happy to count as a long-time friend. Paper Tiger has done a wonderful job of bringing the work to print with great fidelity to the original art, and that's really saying something!

You can get it direct from the author or from Amazon. Don't miss it!

The Galactic Geographic
The Galactic Geographic

As of April, 2005:

Tools I Use page has been updated.

Books I Use page has been updated.

Tools I Use
Tools I Use page

New model for Online Comics

Working on an online comic at their own expense is a common situation for most web based cartoonists and comic artists. However, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon in the form of Scott McCloud's pioneering micropayment experiment. You can read his excellent and thoughtful comic, The Right Number online for only 25¢.

If this works it may pave the way for real independent content on the Web. Content that costs the user a minimal amount, but provides the creator with enough income to continue creating.

If I had a quarter for every individual who has read an Argon Zark! story online, I could probably do this full time.

The Argon Zark! story isn't currently set up in a way to utilize this method, but there are other ways you can help support the site.