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The ArtistA Brief History of Abducting The Aliens

Abducting The Aliens is a web comic that I started back in 2005 just to see if I could do a web comic. I had recently discovered web comics and was (and still am) a big fan of comics like Something Positive, Mac Hall, Applegeeks and Nothing Nice To Say. Although now Mac Hall has been supplanted by Three Panel Soul, which updates infrequently, and Applegeeks updates infrequently now too. NN2S is no longer updating, the only one left still updating on a regular basis is Something Positive, which Randy Milholland actually makes a living off of. That is to say it's his job. All the others...The creators I think moved on to other things in their life. That's what happened to AtA. Life got in the way and since I never had a plan when I started it was easy to let AtA just die.

I had fun with AtA though, and I wanted to make it better. Thus the new website. Life is still an obstacle so getting the new story line off the ground has been slow going, but I have one this time! A plot, and themes and everything! But that's not what I want to talk about right now. Right now I'm here to talk about the History of what is now "Classic" Abducting the Aliens.

Like I said I was newly introduced to web comics and I wanted to make one. See, my childhood dream was to be a cartoonist. Web comics provided a way for me to realize that dream. I could do whatever I wanted to with web comics, I wasn't restricted by the 3 panel format of syndicated newspaper strips or have to work within the publishing model set up by the comic book industry. It was a truly free medium.

But what did I want to do?

Back when I was in college I had a punk band called The Unexplained. I wrote a song called Abducting The Aliens, and while the song was only so-so, the title stuck with me. Since I've always had an interest in the paranormal and UFOs it seemed natural to take that title and run with it. So I started drawing.

I had friends who wanted to get into the comic, so since I needed a female character I let my friend Mayumi talk me into creating a Goth Girl who would hook up with the Alien Character, but Beyond the name and formerly being a Goth Yumi and Mayumi really isn't a basis for the character.

After a while the gag a day jokes started to feel stale to me and I knew that I was going to have to shift to at least some semblance of a plot and so I brought the Men In Black back to try to bring in a plot. A plot which ultimately never got realized...A sad story that happens all to often in web comics.

The problem was since I was already live on the web and rolling, and since I had a day job it was pretty much impossible for me to shift the direction of the comic, I quickly fell behind. Plus with having to work with an already established continuity and not wanting to succumb to Cerebus Syndrome, working on AtA started to feel like a chore, so that was when I let it die.

I think it was easy to to do that because if you have a plot that means you have a story to tell. I didn't. I had a couple of funny ideas that I was trying to tie together with a loose plot. That works for some people, but it doesn't work for me. I've never been a huge fan of comedies that have a plot just for the sake of stringing jokes together. So since that was what I was trying to do I pretty quickly lost interest.

But the characters wouldn't go away. Well, the stock characters did, but the core characters. And after a couple of years thinking about it I think I have a story worth telling...thus these old comics being relegated to the "Classic" ghetto on the Abducting the Aliens website. Hopefully I'll be able to get to work telling the new story soon, but for now enjoy the old comics.

- Mark Wise, 2/9/10

Abducting The Aliens