What was TABBY up to a year before the first street art pieces were created? Kept a secret until now, but in 2012 I created webcomics in my free time under the name Comika.
Like with street art, these were started mostly to amuse myself and play around, but eventually became somewhat successful. Back then there was a website called "Smackjeeves" where you could host your webcomics and create your own little free website. The comics with the most visitors were featured on the front page (like youtube used to) and eventually Comika became the highest ranking page of all the thousands of comics.
Above: Old screenshot of Comika website
Smackjeeves.com was recently deleted from the internet on January 1 2021, through coincidence I happened to find out a few days before and saved the archive of comics. It seemed only fair to give this collection a final resting place here on the new site and save them from being deleted forever.
This article only features a couple, so be sure to check out the full collection here.
I was of course a complete amateur. At first trying out different, more classical comic styles, but eventually focused on a simpler design, often featuring a character named Charlie. Charlie might be characterized as a grown up who never grew up, more of a child in behavior than anything else.
Comika only had a brief existence, over 4 months 70 comics were created. Towards the end it was getting an average of 2-10k daily visitors, with the highest point being 500k in one day. But sadly the series ended suddenly and I never explained to my readers why I seemingly dropped off the face of the earth.
Here is the answer: I was feeling down, a 6 year relationship had come to an end and I no longer enjoyed what I was studying in university and knew I had to find something new. At first the plan was to delay new Comika uploads for a little while, but soon this delay became weeks, months and then years. I felt terrible for my readers. I had left in the middle of a story named Bathshrooms, a multi strip series about Charlie eating random psychedelic mushrooms he finds growing in his bathroom, a story that never got an end and now Charlie is still tripping on mushrooms 8 years later.
I felt the need to move forward and work on myself. I started a new college, found a new partner but also kept doing creative projects on the side. What ended up happening can be seen here on the site. It wasnt planned, but TABBY street art and stencils kept getting bigger and eventually took over everything I was doing. Comika ended in 2012, and the first TABBY pieces came to light in 2013. While comics didnt end up being my life, it was an important stepping stone in the creation of TABBY.
Not every comic was a home run, far from it, but some I still enjoy today. You might be able to tell where the twisted, dark humor of some of the TABBY pieces originated from. At the least they were a great exercise for story telling, connecting with the reader and drawing. It also shows you that you never know where youre going to end up in life. You might be doing one thing one day, and then something completely different the next. The important thing is to just always do something. Maybe this, or the next thing, ends up working out.
I hope you enjoy flipping through the old comics. Maybe there is one among them you really enjoy, they are a fun part of my past. Feel free to let me know if you have a favorite.
The final, unfinished, story of "Bathshrooms" will be added in the next days. There are 9 comic segments in total and one a day will be added to the Comika album below. So be sure to check it daily if you want to catch up on that as well.