Penny Arcade (comic)

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The Penny Arcade Crew
Penny Arcade is a web comic written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. It is among the most popular webcomics currently online. It debuted on November 18, 1998, making it one of the oldest webcomics still receiving regular updates. New comic strips are currently posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The strip features the two authors' cartoon alter egos, Tycho Brahe and Jonathan Gabriel ("Gabe"), who represent Holkins and Krahulik respectively. The two characters spend much of their time playing and commenting on computer and video games, forming the basis of the humor in the strip. Another theme, albeit less common, is the use of conflicts between the two in real life. [1] ( The strip also sometimes refers to other Internet subcultures, and sometimes features in-jokes that are explained by the news posts accompanying each comic.

Both Krahulik and Holkins make a living from Penny Arcade, placing them in a very small group of web comic artists devoted to their creations full-time. Donations were once accepted, but the site now operates on advertising and merchandise revenue alone. The website sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every day[2] (, making it an extremely popular web site.


Attributes of the comic strip

There is little plot or general continuity in Penny Arcade strips, owing to the writers' dislike for the concept. They have been quoted as describing it as the "dreaded continuity." A character who dies a horrible, violent death in one strip will come back the next perfectly whole. Profanity and violence are common in Penny Arcade, and the strip is not known for its realism. All manner of creatures have been known to drop in, including zombies, a talking DIVX player, and Jesus.

Some of the strips are drawn from the perspective of characters within a game[3] ( or movie[4] (, often bearing some resemblance to Gabe and Tycho, and usually having some sarcastic remark to make about some feature or bug in the game.

Penny Arcade is well-known for Krahulik's signature drawing and "inking" style, which uses bold lines and vivid colors.

Recurring characters

As mentioned, Penny Arcade is not a comic with a great deal of continuity. The strip largely centers around conversations between Tycho and Gabe, but occasionally other minor characters make an appearance.

Jonathan Gabriel 
Mike Krahulik's comic alter ego, hyper and free-spirited; almost always wears a Pac-Man t-shirt. He has a Pac-Man tattoo on his right bicep [5] ( and a love of line dancing [6] (
Tycho Brahe 
Jerry Holkins' comic alter ego (named after the astronomer Tycho Brahe), bitter and sarcastic. Nearly invariably clad in a blue-striped shirt. Tycho enjoys books, RPGs and deflating Gabe's ego. [7] (
Gabe's wife. She has reddish-brown hair and is usually seen wearing a purple t-shirt adorned with a grinning wombat's head. Became a gamer under her husband's influence, though this is rarely mentioned in the strip itself and is instead only referred to in the newsposts written by Krahulik.[8] ([9] ([10] (
Tycho's wife, with red hair and glasses. Unlike Kara, she doesn't really understand her husband's obsession with computer games and consoles. [11] ([12] ([13] (
A drunken talking DIVX player with a hostile, surly attitude. [14] ([15] ([16] ([17] (
Thomas Kemper a.k.a. The cat 
A cat with advanced computer skills, possibly including a MCSE. Thomas is named after the Thomas Kemper brand of soft drinks. [18] (
a manager at Software Etc or possibly Electronics Boutique; he has been referred to as working at both places in different strips. He is also a Vietnam War veteran who is somewhat mentally unstable. Frank often deflects customer complaints or questions with surrealistic stories about patrolling in the jungles of South East Asia. [19] ([20] ([21] (
a somewhat fanatical Mac user (formerly known as Chuck) who underwent a drastic makeover around the same time as the Mac OS X release (Specifically, the June 23, 2000 strip). [22] ([23] ([24] ([25] (
Fruit Fucker 2000 
a small, robotic juicer with an appalling means of extracting juice.[26] ([27] (
Twisp and Catsby 
an anthropomorphic cat and an imp who are featured only in sepia toned, completely isolated strips. Contrary to what one might infer from the names, Catsby is the imp character and Twisp is the cat. Everything about these characters and their strips is even more bizarre than "regular" Penny Arcade continuity, and non sequiturs are standard fare. The duo were created out of Gabe and Tycho's mystification that they were seemingly unable to create something that their readership would dislike, and also as a direct shot at Kevin Smith's quote that the movie Jersey Girl was "not for the critics". (The first appearance of this strange pair was also labelled as "not for critics".) Although Twisp and Catsby effectively demonstrated the absurdity of Smith's quote, the pair ironically became two of the most popular characters. Prints of their panels have since sold for over a thousand dollars. [28] ([29] ([30] (
Randy Pinkwood 
A television news anchor whose broadcasts usually contain references to his alleged sexual prowess. [31] ( [32] ( [33] (
Mr. Tails 
A violent, top hat-wearing monkey. He is usually seen biting various characters. He also once donated blood to Tycho. [34] ([35] (
Cardboard Tube Samurai 
An alter ego of Gabe, who uses a cardboard tube as if he were a samurai wielding a katana. [36] ([37] ([38] ([39] (
Mr. Period 
Your helpful guide to the English language. [40] ([41] ([42] (
Jesus Christ 
The Lord and Saviour of the Christian faith. Also a big fan of FPS and Fighting Games. He enjoys shooting people in online games when they are talking. [43] ([44] ([45] ([46] ([47] (
A friend of Tycho and Gabe. [48] (
Safety Monkey 
A kindhearted, nice friend of Tycho and Gabe who is usually picked on. [49] (
Dr Raven Darktalon Blood 
A character created by Gabe to capitalize on the overmerchandizing of comic books. He is a parody of Todd McFarlane's comic book characters, which Gabe dislikes. [50] ( [51] (
Tycho's 11-year-old niece, as hardcore a gamer as her uncle. Claims to have played the earliest Japanese Final Fantasies on the Famicom, in the original Japanese. Sneaks into E3 2005 in Tycho's baggage. [52] ( [53] (


Other works

As a creative team, Penny Arcade is sometimes commissioned to create promotional artwork for new video games, with their signature artistic style and humor. They are usually credited simply as "Penny Arcade" rather than by their actual names. Some of these works have been included with the distribution of the game, and others have appeared on pre-launch official websites, such as:


  • Tycho blackmailing Brent (from PvP): [55] (
  • Another PvP: Tycho "fighting" with Scott McCloud (reference: [56] ( [57] (
  • Krug attack Tycho (VG Cats): The incredible Krug (

Penny Arcade events

On November 24, 2003 the authors of Penny Arcade announced their plans for a children's charity, Child's Play, which aimed to organize large scale donations for their local Seattle Children's Hospital. In their first year they donated over $250,000 in cash and toys and expanded their operations in 2004 to partner with additional hospitals in Oakland, San Diego, Houston and Washington DC. During the holiday 2004 season they raised around $310,000 for the hospitals. The creators of the comic appeared on the G4techtv television show Xplay talking about the comic and the charity.

On April 12, 2004 the authors of Penny Arcade announced PAX (, the Penny Arcade Expo. PAX 2004 was a two-day event held in Bellevue, Washington from August 28 to August 29, 2004, which they hoped would turn into an annual event. Several exhibitors, including Microsoft and Ubisoft, showcased videos and playable demos of their upcoming games at PAX 2004. Microsoft allowed attendees to experience a multiplayer level of Halo 2 months before it hit stores in addition to a number of other Xbox games, while Ubisoft showed Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Ghost Recon 2 and two other titles. Included amongst the events of the first PAX were live musical performances by bands including The Minibosses, Q&A panels featuring Penny Arcade editors Mike Krahulik and Jerry Hokins as well as others in the computer and video game industry, and the Omegathon, a contest where twenty contestants played a series of games for a chance at winning an excessively large video game collection worth in excess of $25,000. The contestants competed in a tabletop dice game, Halo (Xbox), Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (GameCube), Dance Dance Revolution, Doom (PC) and the original home version of Pong. Sean Celaya defeated Kevin Potter in the final round to take home the ultimate prize becoming the PAX 2004 Omegathon champion.

PAX 2005 will take place between the dates of August 26 to August 28, 2005 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington, where the first PAX was held. PAX 2005 will occupy the entire center, unlike the previous expo. Sponsors include Ubisoft and NCSoft; musical guests The Minibosses, MC Chris, MC Frontalot and Optimus Rhyme will perform live. Omegathon II is said to be an even more elaborate affair than its predecessor. Krahulik said on February 9, 2005 on ( that, "[At PAX 2005] we will deliver an even bigger prize to the winner of the Omegathon."

See also

External links


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