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Author(s)Tatsuya Ishida
Current status / scheduleDaily
Launch dateJanuary 17, 2000
Genre(s)Humor, Satire
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Author(s)Tatsuya Ishida
Current status / scheduleDaily
Launch dateJanuary 17, 2000
Genre(s)Humor, Satire

Sinfest is a webcomic[1] written and drawn by American comic strip artist Tatsuya Ishida. The first strip as a webcomic appeared on January 17, 2000, although the very first strip appeared in print on October 16, 1991 in the UCLA newspaper, Daily Bruin, while Ishida attended UCLA.[2][3] A new strip is published daily on the Sinfest website. On July 9, 2006, the Sinfest website underwent a redesign, and became self-published, no longer a member of Keenspot.


Overview [edit]

Originally, all strips were pure black and white line art, but larger Sunday strips with full color were introduced shortly after Ishida broke away from Keenspot in the summer of 2006, which also coincided with a site redesign.

Starting around late February 2007 Sinfest's style changed, and it was for a time drawn with different shades of grey. This change in itself was commemorated in a strip.[4] Since February 5, 2012, characters in the Sunday strips have been silent except for occasional interjections.

Historically, the strip has been updated more or less every day, but the period leading up to the split from Keenspot saw significantly fewer comics, with two unexplained dry-spells lasting at least a month. Since the new site was introduced on July 10, 2006, there has been a new strip every day.[5]

The subject matter of Sinfest is often human nature,[6] with particular attention paid to human sexuality, gender roles, addiction and religion. Less frequently, the strip will parody popular culture or indulge in political commentary. There are some recurring types of strip, such as "You Had to Be There" (where the reader is not told what the characters are discussing), "Japanese Calligraphy" (where one of the characters transforms over four panels into a kanji ideograph, usually related to the strip in some way), "Porn Script Readings" (where Monique and Slick read porn star dialogue in deadpan style, except for once where they used flash cards for a Silent Film reading), "The Matriarchy" (an alternate universe which features Slick, Criminy, and Squigly as leaders of a masculine resistance against a matriarchal regime), and "Ninja Theatre" (where the characters take on the roles of heroes and villains in a martial arts movie). Though there originally was little overarching story or continuity in Sinfest, the central characters have undergone some development and several of them are having their backstories fleshed out at irregular intervals, particularly Li'l Evil and Baby Blue. As of 2013, story arcs have increasingly revolved around concepts of radical feminism and condemnation of patriarchal dominance.

In each strip, a unique epigram appears above Ishida's name, for example: "Da Bomb," "Patent Pending" and "Some Assembly Required." The new-style Sunday strips include no visible epigrams; the epigram is embedded in the html as a "alt" description of the image.

Sinfest in print [edit]

According to the "Futility Watch" that was on the website previous to the July 9, 2006 redesign, Sinfest had been rejected by newspaper comic syndicates 11 times as of January 25, 2006.

Sinfest has appeared in print in the form of anthologies, released by Ishida's own production company Museworks. So far, four books have been published:

In Norway, Sinfest has appeared in the comic magazine Nemi.[7] Unlike the web version it was colored before printing (in addition to being translated) and the epigram was cropped.

In June 2009, Dark Horse Comics republished the first volume of compiled strips and added a bonus section entitled Sinfest: The College Years (When It Was Even Worse). A note from the author introduces the section by admitting that "Sinfest used to be even cruder and harsher back when I did it for my college paper. The original cast had no Monique, no Pooch, no Percy. And certainly no Buddha. It took years and years for me to learn the value of the soft touch."[3]

As of February 2010, Dark Horse has announced it will republish the second volume.[3][8] A two-page strip, without the usual epigram, entitled Sinfest: Street Poetry appeared in the May 2009 issue of Dark Horse Presents.[9]

Characters [edit]

AbsintheA green-haired new recruit in the Devil's army of succubi and Fuchsia's replacement as "booth babe". She is very friendly and has adopted a pair of butterfly-winged spy-drones which were enlightened by Buddha.
Anti-Porn ActivistUnnamed African-American member of the Sisterhood who sabotages sex-based industries and runs a booth where she debates people about pornography.
Ariel and EzekielCheerful cherubs who pose as door-to-door evangelists and taunt The Devil during his angel hunts. If someone performs an act of kindness, the pair will shower him or her with "glitter points" that provide various benefits, such as zombie repellent.
Baby BlueA succubus who enjoys tempting men, auditing sins and tormenting the damned. She has an unrequited crush on her best friend Fuchsia and attended "Divinity School" with the Devil and Jesus when all three were young.
Barack StarA musically talented parody of Barack Obama.
BuddhaA holy man who rarely speaks and floats around on a tiny cloud. Close friends with The Dragon. He is occasionally provides "zen zaps," where he enlightens another person, momentarily or permanently.
CriminyA bespectacled youngster who often acts as the strip's voice of reason. At first extremely meek, he hid in a fort made of books. He and Fuchsia developed feelings for each other and have formed an unlikely couple. He is the owner of two animated books that behave like dogs.
CupidThe personification of love. No apparent relation to the other cherubs.
The DevilUsually seen in a suit, but he sometimes wears outdoors gear in the style of Elmer Fudd when he's hunting cherubs. He is often accompanied by a three-headed Hellhound. Deals directly in souls, but also runs a vast business empire that produces any number of harmful products. He has the power to transform people into devils and bring objects to life.
The DragonRepresentation of Eastern philosophy. On friendly terms with God. He often encourages those caught in the middle of the heaven-hell conflict to play both sides, an allusion to the Middle Way philosophy of Buddhism.
Father TimeFather Time begins each January as the infant Baby New Year, then re-appears around December as the wizened old man being hunted by the Grim Reaper. His death is typically heralded by fireworks and yet another newborn incarnation of himself, delivered by stork.
FembotAn unnamed robot that was purchased by Slick and who later escaped after a trip to the Reality Zone.
FuchsiaPreviously a stereotypical succubus, Fuchsia fell in love with the kind-hearted Criminy and quit her job to pursue a normal life. Enjoys painting but suffers flashbacks about her previous employment.
Gay GuyFabulous.
GodA giant hand in the sky. Often uses puppets to parody other characters, most often the Devil.
Grim ReaperThe anthropomorphic manifestation of death. He slays Father Time at the end of every year and holds a grudge against the resurrected, namely Jesus and the zombie. He hunts using a variety of scythes which double as firearms and often flies on a glider similar to the one owned by the Green Goblin.
JesusA thin, bearded ascetic. Enjoys playing sports against the denizens of Hell and always makes sacrifice plays. Very rarely, he turns devils back into humans.
Lady LibertyThe long-suffering wife of Uncle Sam, frustrated by his infidelities and imperialism.
LegionA massively muscled incubus who works as a bouncer.
Li'l EvilA young boy who enthusiastically espoused wickedness until he lost his memory to the River Lethe; he has since become kind-hearted and vulnerable. Childhood flashbacks depict him as a lonely victim of bullies. He is best friends with the orange-haired devil girl. Only the Devil himself knows that Li'l E is his son. As a half-demon, he has horns but lacks a tail and access to demonic talents, like the ability to project fire or open hell-holes.
Li'l Evil's MotherUnnamed white-haired woman. In flashbacks, she is depicted as a loving parent. Has the ability to petrify men with her gaze.
MasterIshida's in-comic avatar: a cartoonist and owner of Percy and Pooch. Like Squigley's sofa, his drawing table can fly, carrying him and his pets when he experiences artistic inspiration.
MiltonA fat, nerdy incubus who designs spy drones and fembots.
MoniqueConfident and sexy, 'Nique has a fluid temperament but a kind heart. She can cause men to spontaneously combust by shaking her rear at them. For much of the comic's history she enjoyed using her looks to toy with boys, but she eventually experienced a feminist awakening, cut her purple hair even shorter and adopted an androgynous wardrobe. Her stage name as a spoken word artist is It-Girl.
Monique’s Fan GirlMonique's awestruck protégé. She spends all her time defending and emulating her idol, much as Seymour idolizes Jesus and Li’l E used to idolize the Devil.
NanaThe elderly owner of a bakery and coffeehouse that doubles as a base of operations for the Sisterhood. She acts as a kindly grandmother, but is also a Stick Fighting sensei capable of beating bullies senseless.
Orange Devil GirlAn innocent young country girl who was turned into a succubus by the Devil. She has yet to be named, but Monique once jokingly called her “Pebbles.” Her personality ranges from giddy hyperactivity to towering rage, but she remains steadfastly loyal to Li’l E, whom she affectionately refers to as “Lily.”
Percy and PoochA sullen, independent cat and a cheerful, dimwitted dog. They both reside with the Master, rarely interacting with the outside world.
SapphireA cynical blue-haired succubus who works as an exotic dancer. She typically wears an trenchcoat over lingerie.
SeymourA Christian fundamentalist with an unimpressive halo and a perfectly round head, Seymour preaches a strict moral code yet hoards novelty religious paraphernalia and harbors homoerotic feelings towards his savior.
SlickA short blond male whose first appearance involved a casual attempt to sell his soul. He frequently wears a tie and nearly always wears sunglasses. Slick is a self-proclaimed pimp, despite his extremely limited success with womanizing, especially with Monique. He owns an intelligent laptop called “Lappy” and his reflection has become a demonic doppelganger that sows chaos at every opportunity. Slick’s alter egos include Wasabi the Pimp Ninja and Uranus the Beat Poet.
SquigleyAn anthropomorphic pig with a frat boy mentality. Watches pornography, eats junk food and smokes pot. While high, he's able to fly his couch. During Slick's bid for the presidency, he dressed in drag and adopted the alter ego "Sarah Piglin.”
TessA pink-haired member of the Sisterhood who works as a welder and mechanic.
TheoA young boy who enjoys stalking Master and praising his artwork. He and Monique's Fan Girl are good friends.
Uncle SamThe personification of jingoism and husband of Lady Liberty.
Xanthe JusticeThe most prominent member of a group of Big Wheel-riding feminists called the Sisterhood who attempt to help women fight a sinister reality-bending force called the Patriarchy. She typically keeps her blonde hair in a pony tail and wears sunglasses.
ZombieA yet-unnamed, damned and misunderstood soul who escaped from hell after Seymour accidentally raised him from the dead. He lives in a cave but often wanders in search of someone to tell him stories, as Fuchsia did before quitting her job.

Landmarks [edit]

The Sinfest universe houses some peculiar landmarks, constant fixtures in many strips of the comic.

Author [edit]

Tatsuya Ishida is the author of Sinfest. He was also a penciller for Dark Horse Comics, where he worked on comic books of the licensed properties G.I. Joe Extreme and Godzilla. In the 1990s he co-created and penciled a comic called StrangeLove for Entity Comics with partner Stacy Freeman.[10]

References [edit]

  1. ^ Yim, Roger (April 2, 2001). "DOT-COMICS / Online cartoons skip traditional syndication and draw loyal fans on the Internet". The San Francisco Chronicle. 
  2. ^ "Bruin life". Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sinfest Volume 1 :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics". 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  4. ^ Ishida, Tatsuya (February 21, 2007). "Creep-Os 3". Sinfest. 
  5. ^ Ishida, Tatsuya. "Sinfest Archives". 
  6. ^ Cave, Damien. "No laughing matter - Damien Cave -". Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  7. ^ "Debuterer i Tommy og Tigeren". Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Dark Horse Continues to Collect the Best Comics on the Web with the Release of Sinfest! 2/6/09 :: Press Releases :: Dark Horse Comics". 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  9. ^ "Dark Horse Presents Free Online Comics & Comic Books on". MySpace. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  10. ^ Freeman, Stacy (1995). "Strangelove 1". Strangelove. Entity Comics. 

External links [edit]