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|Launch date||May 2003|
Wondermark is a webcomic created by David Malki which was syndicated to Flak Magazine and appeared in The Onion's print edition through 2008. It features 19th-century illustrations that have been recontextualized to create humorous juxtapositions. It takes the horizontal four-panel shape of a newspaper strip, although the number of panels varies from one to six or more. It is updated on a strict twice-weekly schedule.
A typical Wondermark episode consists of one or more Victorian-era drawings of people and/or objects, repeated for several panels, with dialogue added to create a joke. In some cases, the images vary from panel to panel, creating a narrative. Occasionally, the joke in the last panel takes the form of a purely visual gag.
The creator, David Malki, has stated that the images are obtained from public domain primary sources such as 19th century-era periodicals. Malki obtains these images from public libraries and from his own collection of rare books.
There is no narrative continuity in Wondermark; each episode is generally unrelated to the previous or next, although on rare occasions a scenario will repeat for a second episode. In some episodes, situations and dialogue indicate that the setting may be the 19th century; in others, the characters allude to recent events or use contemporary technology (such as computers), often adapted to the period setting using steampunk-influenced designs. Although certain images are used multiple times in different episodes, Malki has stated that each episode is meant to be read independent of any continuity.
The Wondermark website
Besides the comics, the Wondermark website includes a number of features and articles.
The Comic Strip Doctor
The Comic Strip Doctor was an occasional column in which Malki analyzed what he called "the worst in newspaper comic strips," and then re-wrote one episode of the strip. Examples included Marmaduke, Beetle Bailey, The Wizard of Id, and Momma. In 2007 the Doctor was "retired" so that Malki could focus on other projects. The archives are still viewable at the Wondermark site.
The Making of Wondermark
The Making of Wondermark is a facetious behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the comic strip. It satirizes the committee-rules process that creates many newspaper comic strips as well as other elements of popular culture (such as movie trailers, which Malki used to edit as his full-time job). It also presents a humorously exaggerated view of the time, effort, and number of personnel necessary to produce the comic strip.
Pets Love Comics Too
Pets Love Comics Too was a feature whereby Wondermark readers would send in photos of their pets reading Wondermark, and the pictures would be posted to the site. The site described the photos as evidence that pets lead a double life while their owners are away.
Me vs. Comic-Con: Who's Better?
In July 2007, Malki brought a video camera to the San Diego Comic-Con and asked his fellow comics creators, "Who's better, me or Comic-Con?" The result was a 16-minute documentary film that explores the question in depth.
The first Wondermark strip collection, entitled The Annotated Wondermark, was first printed in December 2004. It contains Wondermark episodes 1–100 and also includes many pages of ancillary material, such as rejected concept pieces and reader-participation features. The book has since been reprinted twice. The second edition added an introduction by Dave Sim, while the third (and current) edition features remastered artwork and an introduction by Ryan North.
A second strip collection, entitled Wondermark: Beards of Our Forefathers, was released in June 2008 by Dark Horse Comics.
Treachery! is an 8-page comic book made of Wondermark-type artwork arranged in a graphic-novel-style layout. The material in Treachery! is not reproduced on the Wondermark site.
Diamond Comic Distributors listed three volumes of Wondermark in their December 2009 Previews Publications: BEARDS OF OUR FOREFATHERS, CLEVER TRICKS TO STAVE OFF DEATH and DAPPER CAPS & PEDAL-COPTERS.
In September 2012, David Malki! released his latest strip compilation entitled WONDERMARK: EMPEROR OF THE FOOD CHAIN, featuring the joyously mythical creature the piranhamoose.
There is also a trilogy of prose books entitled Dispatches from Wondermark Manor (513 pages in total). They were released over three years between 2007 and 2009. The books collect chapters of short fiction originally published by Malki in his twice-weekly Wondermark email newsletter, from which an overall story arc eventually emerges.  The trilogy is written in an archaic, verbose style, and is a parody of Victorian novels.
Other Wondermark venues
David Malki has also contributed to Whispered Apologies and created guest episodes for comics including Reprographics, Goats, Alien Loves Predator, Unshelved, and Sheldon. Wondermark is part of the Playground Ghosts collective whose other members include Reprographics, Acid Keg, Fluff in Brooklyn, Alien Loves Predator, and Pixel.
Wondermark was also featured in the Blank Label Comics Hurricane Relief Telethon website and book, and exclusive episodes were created for each episode of the now-defunct Zoinks! The Webcomics Newspaper.
Since August 2006, each episode of Wondermark has also appeared on the webcomics site Modern Tales.
In April 2008, Malki created an 8-page Wondermark story entitled Ransom! for Myspace Dark Horse Presents.
Malki also directed and edited a short film entitled Expendable, which was released as an entry to the Now Film Festival in January 2008 under the production title "Wondermark Enterprises". The film was produced by Todd Croak-Falen and is currently a finalist of the festival, which lasts twenty-five weeks.
Wondermark was nominated for Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards in 2006 and 2007 for "Outstanding Short Form Comic" and "Outstanding Comedic Comic," respectively.
- "PREVIEWS #246". XIX (1). Diamond Comic Distributors. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
VOLUME 2: CLEVER TRICKS TO STAVE OFF DEATH ... Dark Horse Comics presents ... hardbound collection of David Malki’s nationally syndicated Wondermark, ... originally published in The Onion
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #112". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #219". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #136". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #188". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #33". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Malki, David. "Wondermark #76". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- PREVIEWS (PDF). 19. Diamond Comic Distributors. December 2009. p. 5.
- "PREVIEWS" (PDF). XVII (3). Diamond Comic Distributors.
Dark Horse Comics ... present ... hardbound collection of David Malki’s Ignatz-nominated comic strip Wondermark. ...
- Malki, David. "Eisner nomination! Twitter contest! Podcast! NEW YORK CITY". Retrieved 2009-06-02.