Modern Tales

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Modern Tales is a webcomics site launched on March 2, 2002 by Joey Manley and approximately 30 professional cartoonists, such as Dorothy Gambrell[1] and James Kochalka.[2] Gene Yang's National Book Award finalist American Born Chinese was originally published as a webcomic on Modern Tales.[3] Modern Tales has also published several editions of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor comics on the web,[4] as well as Shaenon Garrity's webcomic Narbonic.[5]

Several spin-off websites have emerged in its wake, including serializer, girlamatic and Graphic Smash, each featuring a different editorial focus. Publishers Weekly calls the Modern Tales family of sites the best-known pay comics sites.[6] In June 2005, Modern Tales had about 2,000 members each paying $3 a month.;[7] the majority of content on Modern Tales has since become free.[8]

Joey Manley originally served as both the site's editor and publisher. Websnark-author Eric Burns became the editor of Modern Tales' newly announced free content in December 2005. Burns was replaced by Shaenon Garrity in August 2006.[9]

"We're not Disney, obviously, but we have proven that people will pay for Web comics," Joey Manley said in 2003. "I want [more cartoonists] to eventually be able to make their living from Web comics."[10]


On or around April 5, 2013, the Modern Tales site and all hosted sites were changed to a site-closure page. This page has a photograph of a group of people, apparently the Modern Tales staff, with a message: "Thank you to all the readers, creators and miscellaneous others who were a part of this grand experiment. We did great things, and we did stupid things, and we will do both kinds of things again and again!"[11]


  1. ^ O'Brien, Danny (February 26, 2006). "The tooniverse explodes". Sunday Times (London), p. 27.
  2. ^ Frauenfelder, Mark (December 1, 2002). "Living online". Playboy, No. 12, Vol. 49; Pg. 41.
  3. ^ Contino, Jenifer M. (2003-06-03). "Life, Religion, & Making Comics: Gene Yang's American Born Chinese". The Pulse. Archived from the original on 2005-09-24. 
  4. ^ Dodson, Sean (January 8, 2004). "Online : Web Watch". The Guardian (London), p. 20.
  5. ^ Boxer, Sarah (August 17, 2005). "Comics Escape a Paper Box, and Electronic Questions Pop Out". The New York Times, p. 1E.
  6. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (December 19, 2005). "Web Comics: Page Clickers to Page Turners; It's like manga five or six years ago: a cult audience that is increasing steadily". Publishers Weekly, p. 24.
  7. ^ Walker, Leslie (June 16, 2005). "Comics Looking to Spread A Little Laughter on the Web". The Washington Post, p. D1.
  8. ^ Manley, Joey (January 2, 2006). "Modern Tales Free". Talk About Comics. Retrieved on 2008-11-12.
  9. ^ Manley, Joey (August 1, 2006). "Meet the new editor of Modern Tales Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.". Talk About Comics. Retrieved on 2007-07-01.
  10. ^ Ho, Patricia Jiayi (July 8, 2003). "Online comic artists don't have to play panel games". Alameda Times-Star (Alameda, CA)
  11. ^ "Modern Tales 2002-2012"

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