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Founded2006; 18 years ago (2006)
FoundersNick Bertozzi
Nikki Cook
Michel Fiffe
Dan Goldman
Tim Hamilton
Dean Haspiel
Josh Neufeld
Leland Purvis
Defunctc. 2016
TypeWebcomics collective
Anne Barnetson
Pedro Camargo
Mike Cavallaro
Kevin Colden
Molly Crabapple
Darryl Cunningham
Mike Dawson
Andrew Dimitt
Rami Efal
Ulises Fariñas
Simon Fraser
Roger Langridge
Jason Little
Paul Maybury
Warren Pleece
Ryan Roman
Britt Sabo
Nathan Schreiber
Paul Peart-Smith
Jennifer Tong
Dean Trippe
Chip Zdarsky

ACT-I-VATE was an American webcomics collective based on an original idea by Dean Haspiel[1] and founded by Haspiel and seven other cartoonists.[2] It started out on the blogging platform Livejournal,[3] and then moved to its own dedicated website.

The ACT-I-VATE collective featured serialized graphic novels from over twenty-five hand-picked professional cartoonists (each of whom generally added a new episode weekly), and was updated daily. ACT-I-VATE members included Haspiel, Nick Bertozzi, Michel Fiffe, Dan Goldman, Tim Hamilton, Josh Neufeld, Leland Purvis, Mike Cavallaro, Kevin Colden, Molly Crabapple, Darryl Cunningham, Mike Dawson, Ulises Fariñas, Simon Fraser, Tom Hart, Roger Langridge, Jason Little, Paul Maybury, Warren Pleece, Palle Schmidt, Paul Peart-Smith, Dean Trippe, and Chip Zdarsky.

ACT-I-VATE's artists were unpaid, and produced their work without editorial oversight. ACT-I-VATE was also free to view. In addition to the high-quality comics, the site was known for its vocal community of readers and the lengthy discussion threads between artist and reader.

In 2009, IDW Publishing released The Act-i-vate Primer, a Harvey Award-nominated anthology featuring 16 original comics stories by members of the collective.



ACT-I-VATE debuted on February 1, 2006, with eight cartoonists, and added four more members on April 5, 2006. The collective gradually added new hand-picked cartoonists at a regular rate to the point the membership reached in excess of 50 creators.

From the web to print[edit]

ACT-I-VATE rose to prominence when many of its artists, including Haspiel, Michel Fiffe, Mike Cavallaro, Dan Goldman, and Nick Bertozzi, began to receive publishing deals.[4] Haspiel and Fiffe's three-issue mini-series, Brawl, a "creature romance double feature" featuring Haspiel's Immortal (starring Billy Dogma) and Fiffe's Panorama, which both originated on ACT-I-VATE, was published by Image Comics in the Fall of 2007. Similarly, Parade (with Fireworks), by Mike Cavallaro, began on ACT-I-VATE, was first excerpted in New York magazine[5] and was later published by Image.[6]

Act-i-vate members Ulises Fariñas, Michel Fiffe, Dean Haspiel, Tim Hamilton, Dan Goldman, Paul Maybury, and Nikki Cook all had work published in Image Comics' Popgun anthology vol. 2, published in July 2008.

The Act-i-vate Primer[edit]

The Act-i-vate Primer, published in October 2009 by IDW,[7] was edited by Dean Haspiel & Scott Dunbier, and featured a foreword by Warren Ellis. The book's 16 original comics were by Roger Langridge, Mike Dawson, Nick Bertozzi, Tim Hamilton, Dean Haspiel, Pedro Camargo, Mike Cavallaro, Molly Crabapple, Jim Dougan, Ulises Fariñas, Michel Fiffe, Maurice Fontenot, Simon Fraser, Jennifer Hayden, Joe Infurnari, John Leavitt, Hyeondo Park, and Leland Purvis.[8]

The Act-i-vate Primer was covered by, among others, The New York Times,[9] Comic Critique,[10] and Comic Book Resources;[11][12] and was named to Heeb's top ten comics for the year.[13] It was nominated for a Harvey Award for Best Anthology.[14]


In 2015 the site had a serious outage. It was restored from backups, but the hosting company was not able to get it working as it had before. The codebase for the site was out of date and filled with bugs, and the original programmers were no longer able to maintain it.

In 2016, the site administrator (at that point cartoonist Simon Fraser, working on a volunteer basis and with little available resources), came to the conclusion that shutting down the site was the only recourse. The archived site remained at its original URL through 2018 and officially went dead on January 28, 2019.

Titles (selected)[edit]


  1. ^ Gustines, George Gene. "Beyond ‘Peanuts’," New York Times (JAN. 30, 2009).
  2. ^ Arrant, Chris. "Act-i-vate Activates - Group Cartoons For All," Newsarama (Feb. 26, 2006). Archived at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Heater, Brian. "Top 100 Undiscovered Websites," PC Magazine (Sept. 15, 2007). Archived at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Elkin, Tobi. "ART: Comic timing," Associated Press (12 March 2007). Archived at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Exclusive Comics Excerpt: ‘Parade (With Fireworks)’,", New York (Oct. 3, 2007).
  6. ^ Warmoth, B. (2007). "Launching 'Fireworks' From the Web" Archived 2008-01-04 at the Wayback Machine. Wizard Magazine. Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  7. ^ "IDW to publish Act-I-Vate Primer,"[permanent dead link] IDW official website. Accessed Dec. 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "ACT-I-VATE CREATORS IN PRINT," ICv2 (August 5, 2009).
  9. ^ Gustines, George Gene. "GRAPHIC BOOKS; Picture Books for Grown-Up Readers," New York Times (November 27, 2009).
  10. ^ McGovern, Adam. Review: The Act-i-vate Primer,"[permanent dead link] Comic Critique (06 Nov 2009).
  11. ^ Nevett, Chad. "Act-i-vate Primer," Comic Book Resources (Nov 05, 2009).
  12. ^ Manning, Shaun "ACT-I-VATE Artists on IDW's 'Primer,' Comic Book Resources (Aug. 17, 2009).
  13. ^ "The ACT-I-VATE Primer Makes Top 10 HEEB Best of 5770!," Archived December 21, 2019, at the Wayback Machine IDW official website (2010). Accessed Dec. 20, 2019.
  14. ^ El Santo. "And Your Winner for the 2009 Harvey Award for Best Online Comics Work…," The Webcomic Overlook (AUG. 30, 2010).
  15. ^ Spurgeon, Tom (June 7, 2011). "CR Sunday Interview: Darryl Cunningham". Comics Reporter. Archived from the original on November 21, 2019. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  16. ^ "Comic-book Self-Publishing Grants: 2007," Xeric Foundation. Archived November 15, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved July 24, 2008.
  17. ^ Arrant, Chris. "The criminally funny record of 'Sex Criminals' artist Chip Zdarsky," Comic Book Resources (Sept. 19, 2013).

External links[edit]