|Launch date||September 24, 1993|
|End date||June 9, 2006|
|Syndicate(s)||United Media (1995–2003)|
Doctor Fun was a webcomic by David Farley, which ran from September 24, 1993 to June 9, 2006. It may have been the first popular episodic World Wide Web comic strip. Doctor Fun was part of United Media's website from 1995 until 2003, and it eventually concluded in 2006. The webcomic is often compared to The Far Side, being a series of one-panel gags.
Doctor Fun may have been the first popular episodic World Wide Web comic. It was preceded by Witches and Stitches which was distributed via CompuServe in 1985, and Where the Buffalo Roam which was distributed via Usenet in 1991. Dr. Fun's appearance on the World Wide Web was noted by the NCSA, creator of the Mosaic web browser, as "a major breakthrough for the Web" in 1993. Farley started uploading Doctor Fun while working as a computer technician for the library system at the University of Chicago. At the time, Farley would do the pages of his webcomic "in batches", though it took about an evening to finish each color cartoon.
In 1995, Doctor Fun became part of United Media's website. By 2003, Farley's contract with United Media had "fallen through." In 2005, 128 pages of Doctor Fun were published by Plan Nine Publishing in the form of a full-color comic book. Farley stated this year 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, he announced that his series was concluded.
Most often compared to The Far Side, Doctor Fun was a series of bizarre one-panel gags. Topics ranged from the mundane to the obscure. Farley reported that, based on the email he received, most readers were of a similar age to him and worked with computers, but that there were also a "disproportionate number" of nurses. Doctor Fun made various references to science and pop culture and was described by The Houston Chronicle to have a "universal appeal" compared to coeval webcomic NetBoy.
- 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."
- 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'.
- What's New: September, 1993, Mosaic Communications Corporation.
- Silverman, Dwight. (1994). Internet's playing their 'toons". Houston Chronicle.
- Astor, David. "Web site cartoonist is signed by United". Editor & Publisher. July 8, 1995. Pg. 33.
- Dyrness, Christina. "The wide, WILD world of IBIBLIO". The News & Observer. March 13, 2003. Pg. F1.
- Farley, Dave (June 2005). "The Story of Doctor Fun". Ibiblio. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
- Farley, Dave. "Doctor Fun 1993-2006". Ibiblio. Retrieved December 16, 2017.