|Launch date||September 24, 1993|
|End date||June 9, 2006|
|Syndicate(s)||United Media (1995–ca. 2003)|
Doctor Fun is a single-panel, gag webcomic by David Farley. It began in September 1993, making it one of the earliest webcomics, and ran until June 2006. Doctor Fun was part of United Media's website from 1995, but had parted ways by 2003. The comic may have been the longest-running webcomic before it concluded, having run for nearly thirteen years with over 2,600 strips. The webcomic has been compared to The Far Side.
Doctor Fun began on September 24, 1993, and has been called "first comic published on the Web". It was not the first comic series published through the Internet – Witches and Stitches was distributed through CompuServe in 1985, and Where the Buffalo Roam which was distributed though Usenet in 1991 – but it published through the World Wide Web, meaning it appeared on it own webpage rather than being sent out just by mailing lists or other earlier Internet technology. Its creator, Dave Farley, started uploading Doctor Fun while working as a computer technician for the library system at the University of Chicago.
In 1995, David Farley was signed by newspaper comic strip syndication service United Media; under the deal, Doctor Fun appeared on United Media's website. By 2003, Farley's contract with United Media had "fallen through." A book collection was published by Plan Nine Publishing in 2004.
In 2003, Farley said to The News & Observer that Doctor Fun was the longest-running webcomic. (This is no longer the case, with longer-running comics such as Kevin and Kell and Sluggy Freelance.) Farley said in 2005 that he hoped to keep doing Doctor Fun for at least ten years in total, or 520 weeks. On June 9, 2006, after posting the final page of his 520th week of strips, he announced that his series was concluded. According to a mirror archive, the comic ran every weekday with some weeks off through the years, for nearly thirteen years. Farley produced over 2,600 Doctor Fun strips during its run.
Each Doctor Fun comic is a single-panel gag. Subjects include science, pop culture, and "outright weirdness". Farley said in 1994 that he drew the comics "in batches" and that it took about an evening to finish each color cartoon. He drew the comics on paper and scanned them.
A columnist for the Houston Chronicle discussed Doctor Fun in 1994 in an article on webcomics, or "net.toons" as they called them. The columnist called Doctor Fun "a Far Side clone", describing it as a "one-panel, full-color net.toon with a decidedly twisted outlook" and saying, "Farley's appeal is universal". A brief article in The Daily Telegraph in 2000 recommended Doctor Fun.
- Silverman, Dwight (1994). "Internet's playing their 'toons/Comics fill cyberspace with giggles". Chron. The Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
- What's New: September, 1993, Mosaic Communications Corporation.
- Garrity, Shaenon (2011-07-15). "The History of Webcomics". The Comics Journal.
- daku (2006-06-13). "Doctor Fun Closes Office". Digital Strips: The Webcomics Podcast. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
- Stratton, Erik. "A Brief History of Webcomics". The Rutgers Review, Vol. 40, Issue 1, Page 15
- Hans Boordahl. "Where the Buffalo Roam -- First Comic on the Internet". Where The Buffalo Roam. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
In 1991, Where the Buffalo Roam become the Internet's first regularly updated comic strip, when it was scanned and posted daily to its own USENET newsgroup, which still can be found in dusty corners of the Internet at alt.comics.buffalo-roam. Since then, WTBR has migrated from USENET to the Web. Alas, we cannot claim the title of 'first Web comic' -- that distinction belongs to 'Dr. Fun'.
- HTML is only one method of electronic distribution. "Readers know how to find "Fun"". Chapel Hill Herald. December 17, 2000. Pg. 9. "We thought that 'Doctor Fun' might have been the first Web cartoon as well, but Farley pointed out that the honor of being first goes to a cartoon called 'Where the Buffalo Roam' by Hans Bjordahl."
- Astor, David. "Web site cartoonist is signed by United". Editor & Publisher. July 8, 1995. Pg. 33. Full text available at https://archive.org/stream/sim_editor-publisher_1995-07-08_128_27/sim_editor-publisher_1995-07-08_128_27_djvu.txt
- Dyrness, Christina. "The wide, WILD world of IBIBLIO". The News & Observer. March 13, 2003. Pg. F1. Full text archived at https://www.ibiblio.org/pjones/ibiblio/dyrness-story.html
- "ISBN 9781929462841 - Doctor Fun". isbnsearch.org. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
- Farley, Dave (June 2005). "The Story of Doctor Fun". Ibiblio. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Farley, Dave. "Doctor Fun 1993-2006". Ibiblio. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- "The Doctor Fun Archive". nerocam.com. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
- "The Doctor Fun Page". 2017-11-02. Archived from the original on 2017-11-02. Retrieved 2021-03-29.
- "Top 10 sites". The Telegraph. October 5, 2000. Retrieved 2021-03-29.