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October 1st, 2020:
20 Years When I am King

Newsletter 02 | October 2020 | &

This day 20 years ago, I uploaded the first few episodes of "When I am King" to the world wide web.

It was a different time: Bill Clinton was president in the U.S., Google existed for only about 2 years. Facebook didn't exist yet, neither did Youtube. Total Internet users counted a tenth in numbers compared to now.

As I continued to upload new episodes in a weekly rhythm, visitor numbers grew to about 500 readers a day. And it went on like this, even after the story ended in summer 2001. International press articles, lots and lots of cheerful e-mails, nomination for an Ignatz Award: The interest seemed to be big back then, at least from the perspective of a 23-year-old comics artist rookie, suddenly convinced that a career in comics was a sure thing from now on.

I've spent the following years trying to establish a way to make a living out of webcomics and comics in general… it didn't work out. Instead, my graphic design business became more and more successful, and I found less and less time to make comics.

In 2009, l felt the urge to make a book and decided to do one out of "When I am King". Unfortunately, this took me 8 years instead of the 1 or 2 years I assumed it would take. Business matters and other rather unusual stuff happening in my life kept me from getting on faster. My own perfectionism slowed the process down as well as l enhanced the artwork again and again and added completely new scenes. The book has finally been published in 2018 by Jaja Verlag in Berlin and is now in its second edition.

Nowadays, l tackle new projects while struggling to keep up with the technological evolution of the last 20 years: newsletters, responsive websites, social media, e-books.

That's how the old web version of "When I am King" is now also readable on your smartphone: I have reprogrammed it a few months ago, changed the code but kept it as original as possible. 

For true history buffs I've also put the originally coded version from 2001 online. This one shouldn't be read on smartphones and tablets, though, only on laptop and desktop computers.

Moreover, since about a few weeks there is also an e-book version out there: available on comixology. It's based on the book version from 2018.

Every once in a while I meet someone who still remembers and admires the webcomic version and tells me, for example, how historically important it was for the webcomics genre, and that it has been referred to a lot in papers and study work about digital comics.

Although it's somehow odd to still mainly get praise for something done so long ago, while struggling to get traction for new work (plus struggling to get new work done), I'm still thankful for this. For me, giving and sharing something has always been an important part of making art. And seeing that something has been received well and as intended is in any case rewarding.

So, please feel free to revisit this 20 year old webcomic, or not. ;-)

And have a nice day!

Demian 5, October 1, 2020

When I am King
Webcomic, 2000/2001
book, hardcover, 2018
book, softcover, 2019
e-book, 2020
Level 32

Tellstrasse 3, Zürich

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