(Ballantine Books/ Delrey)
BY CHRIS ZIMMERMAN
Having been a casual gamer for the majority of my life, I
imagine that those in the know would find it odd that Penny Arcade had previously passed by me unnoticed. First created
by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, Penny
Arcade quickly established itself as one of the most popular online comics.
With its unique brand of satire aimed at the gaming culture, the webcomic
became an internet sensation, attracting the attention of gamers and non-gamers
First debuting in 1998 on the website loonygames.com, Penny Arcade’s popularity gradually
increased, prompting Krahulik and Holkins to create their own website where Penny Arcade still resides today. With
an ever growing readership of over 3 million people a day, Penny Arcade has certainly carved out a niche for itself.
Those heading into the 11½ Anniversary Edition hoping for a
“collection” will be sorely disappointed. This more of a documented history of
the webcomic’s origins, from Krahulik and Holkin’s first meeting in a spring
semester journalism class, to its eventual publication, and concluding with
comments from its fans.
Contained within is a detailed retrospective featuring
discussions with the creators on their ideas and influences, transcripts,
convention photos, as well as commentary on select strips. Also included is a
gallery of art and sketches from a multitude of artists. Also of note is a
timeline detailing key moments in Penny
Arcade’s history. This is broken up into small blurbs that appear at the
bottom of every other page.
For those who are not familiar with the series, this book is
an excellent primer. It’s clear that a great deal of effort went into making
this book something that the fans could truly appreciate. Regardless of whether
you were familiar with them before or you are just discovering Penny Arcade for
the first time, after digging through the trivia, origins, and interviews it’s
impossible not to respect Krahulik and Holkins for everything they have