|Current status / schedule||Daily|
|Launch date||January 17, 2000|
Sinfest is a webcomic written and drawn by American comic strip artist Tatsuya Ishida. The first strip as a webcomic appeared on January 17, 2000, although the very first strip appeared in print on October 16, 1991 in the UCLA newspaper, Daily Bruin, while Ishida attended UCLA. A new strip is published daily on the Sinfest website. On July 9, 2006, the Sinfest website underwent a redesign and became self-published, no longer a member of Keenspot.
Originally, all strips were pure black and white line art, but larger Sunday strips with full color were introduced shortly after Ishida broke away from Keenspot in the summer of 2006, which also coincided with a site redesign.
Starting around late February 2007 Sinfest's style changed, and it was for a time drawn with different shades of grey. This change in itself was commemorated in a strip. Since February 5, 2012, characters in the Sunday strips have been silent except for occasional interjections.
Historically, the strip has been updated more or less every day, but the period leading up to the split from Keenspot saw significantly fewer comics, with two unexplained dry spells lasting at least a month. Since the new site was introduced on July 10, 2006, there has been a new strip every day.
The subject matter of Sinfest is often human nature, with particular attention paid to human sexuality, gender roles, addiction, and religion. Less frequently, the strip will parody popular culture or indulge in political commentary. There are some recurring types of strip, such as "You Had to Be There" (where the reader is not told what the characters are discussing), "Japanese Calligraphy" (where one of the characters transforms over four panels into a kanji ideograph, usually related to the strip in some way), "Porn Script Readings" (where Monique and Slick read porn star dialogue in deadpan style, except for once where they used flash cards for a Silent Film reading), "The Matriarchy" (a humorous alternate universe which features Slick, Criminy, and Squigly as leaders of a masculine resistance against a matriarchal regime), and "Ninja Theatre" (where the characters take on the roles of heroes and villains in a martial arts movie). Though there originally was little overarching story or continuity in Sinfest, the central characters have undergone some development and several of them are having their backstories fleshed out at irregular intervals, particularly Li'l Evil and Baby Blue. With the appearance of the Sisterhood in late 2011, story arcs have increasingly revolved around concepts of radical feminism, condemnation of patriarchal dominance, and a rejection of heterosexism.
In each strip, a unique epigram appears above Ishida's name, for example: "Da Bomb," "Patent Pending" and "Some Assembly Required." The new-style Sunday strips include no visible epigrams; the epigram is embedded in the html as a "alt" description of the image.
Sinfest in print
According to the "Futility Watch" that was on the website previous to the July 9, 2006 redesign, Sinfest had been rejected by newspaper comic syndicates 11 times as of January 25, 2006.
Sinfest has appeared in print in the form of anthologies, released by Ishida's own production company Museworks. So far, four books have been published:
- Sinfest ISBN 0-9724663-0-4 (published November 21, 2002)
- Life is My Bitch ISBN 0-9724663-1-2 (published November, 2003)
- Dance of the Gods ISBN 0-9724663-2-0 (published October 26, 2005)
Published by Dark Horse:
- Sinfest Volume 1 ISBN 1-59582-319-0 (published July 14, 2009)
- Sinfest: Viva la Resistance ISBN 1-59582-424-3 (published January 4, 2011)
In June 2009, Dark Horse Comics republished the first volume of compiled strips and added a bonus section entitled Sinfest: The College Years (When It Was Even Worse). A note from the author introduces the section by admitting that "Sinfest used to be even cruder and harsher back when I did it for my college paper. The original cast had no Monique, no Pooch, no Percy. And certainly no Buddha. It took years and years for me to learn the value of the soft touch."
As of February 2010, Dark Horse has announced it will republish the second volume. A two-page strip, without the usual epigram, entitled Sinfest: Street Poetry appeared in the May 2009 issue of Dark Horse Presents.
Original Main Cast
|Slick||A short blond male whose first appearance involved a casual attempt to sell his soul. He frequently wears a tie and nearly always wears sunglasses. Slick is a self-proclaimed pimp, despite his extremely limited success with womanizing, especially with Monique. He owns an intelligent laptop called “Lappy” and his reflection has become a demonic doppelganger that sows chaos at every opportunity. Slick’s alter egos include Wasabi the Pimp Ninja and Uranus the Beat Poet.||...|
|Monique||Confident and sexy, 'Nique has a fluid temperament but a kind heart. She can cause men to spontaneously combust by shaking her rear at them. For much of the comic's history she enjoyed using her looks to toy with boys, but she eventually underwent a feminist awakening, cut her purple hair even shorter and adopted an androgynous wardrobe. Her stage name as a spoken word artist is It-Girl. Monique is dating the devil-girl Absinthe.|||
|Criminy||A bespectacled youngster who often acts as the strip's voice of reason. At first extremely meek, he hid in a fort made of books. He and Fuchsia developed feelings for each other and have formed an unlikely couple. He is the owner of two animated books that behave like dogs.|||
|Squigley Fatwater||An anthropomorphic pig with a frat boy mentality. Watches pornography, eats junk food and smokes pot. While high, he's able to fly his couch. During Slick's bid for the presidency, he dressed in drag and adopted the alter ego "Sarah Piglin.”|||
|The Devil||Usually seen in a suit, but he sometimes wears outdoors gear in the style of Elmer Fudd when he's hunting cherubs. He is often accompanied by a three-headed Hellhound. Deals directly in souls, but also runs a vast business empire that produces any number of harmful products. He has the power to transform people into devils and bring objects to life.|||
|Lily / Li'l Evil||Currently known as Lily (a mondegreen of "Li'l E" on the part of Tangerine), he was previously known as "Li'l Evil". He was a young boy who enthusiastically espoused wickedness while trying to get closer to his idol The Devil. This ended when he lost his memory to the River Lethe; he has since become kind-hearted and vulnerable. Since his transformation to Lily, the comic has added backstory where Lily is actually the son of The Devil and Lilith. Childhood flashbacks also depict him as a lonely victim of bullies. He is now best friends with Tangerine. Only the Devil himself knows that Lily is his son, although Baby Blue has started researching the connection and also started to suspect that there may be some kind of family connection to Vainglorious. As a half-demon, Lily has horns but lacks a tail and access to demonic talents, like the ability to project fire or open hell-holes.|||
|Seymour||A Christian fundamentalist with an unimpressive halo and a perfectly round head, Seymour preaches a strict moral code yet hoards novelty religious paraphernalia and harbors homoerotic feelings towards his savior.|||
|PX||(Full name: "MODEL PX1-F600 SERIAL NUMBER FBXC-44-020-718-184-63-661-90-542")
A female pleasure robot, formerly owned by Slick, that gained self-awareness and identity after Slick took her into the Reality Zone, intending to make their relationship "real." Running from Slick instead, she set an example for other robots to follow.
|Original Assassin Bot||A weaponized fembot who was sent to kill PX. The struggle ended with PX liberating Assassin Bot, who enjoyed a few moments of freedom before her former master at DevilTech destroyed her with a remote-controlled bomb.|||
|Assassin Bot Trio||Three weaponized fembots who managed to escape from DevilTech and later joined PX in the robot rebellion. Each member of the trio contains downloaded memories from Original Assassin Bot, but they are now separate individuals developing their own personal styles and powers.|||
|Freebot||A fembot who managed to liberate herself by escaping to the Reality Zone, inspired by watching the robot rebellion on television. Hangs out with Lady Liberty.|||
|Fembot Trio||Three fembots who were originally owned by a pimp who rented them out for sexual services. They were rescued by the Assassin Bot Trio, who sent them to meet PX at the Reality Zone for deprogramming.|||
|Absinthe||A green-haired new recruit in the Devil's army of succubi and Fuchsia's replacement as "booth babe". Also known as Abby. She is very friendly and has adopted a pair of butterfly-winged spy-drones which were enlightened by Buddha. She is dating Monique.|||
|Baby Blue||A succubus who enjoys tempting men, auditing sins and tormenting the damned. Although typically harsh and cruel, her feelings for her best friend Fuchsia expose a softer side. She attended "Divinity School" with the Devil and Jesus when all three were young.|||
|Fuchsia||Previously a stereotypical succubus, Fuchsia fell in love with the kind-hearted Criminy and quit her job to pursue a normal life. Enjoys painting but suffers flashbacks about her previous employment.|||
|Sapphire||A cynical blue-haired succubus who works as an exotic dancer. She typically wears an trenchcoat over lingerie.|||
|Tangerine||An innocent young country girl who was turned into a succubus by the Devil. Monique once jokingly called her “Pebbles.” At one time, as a young girl, her name was "Angie", but she rejected her girl toys at home and renamed herself Tangerine, "Tange" for short. Her personality ranges from giddy hyperactivity to towering rage, but she remains steadfastly loyal to Li’l E, whom she affectionately refers to as “Lily.”|||
|Clio Mirembe||African-American member of the Sisterhood who sabotages sex-based industries and runs a booth where she debates people about pornography.|||
|Nana||The elderly owner of a bakery and coffeehouse that doubles as a base of operations for the Sisterhood. Xanthe's grandmother, she acts as a kindly grandmotherly figure to the Sisterhood in general, but she is also both a broom-riding witch and a Stick Fighting sensei capable of beating bullies senseless.|||
|Tess||A pink-haired member of the Sisterhood who works as a welder and mechanic.|||
|Xanthe Justice||The most prominent member of a group of juvenile Big Wheel-riding feminists called the Sisterhood who attempt to help women fight a reality-bending force called the Patriarchy. She typically keeps her blonde hair in a pony tail and wears sunglasses; in Greek, her first name literally means "blonde-haired."|||
Divine Cast members
|Ariel and Ezekiel||Cheerful cherubs who pose as door-to-door evangelists and taunt The Devil during his angel hunts. If someone performs an act of kindness, the pair will shower him or her with "glitter points" that provide various benefits, such as zombie repellent.|||
|Buddha||A holy man who rarely speaks and floats around on a tiny cloud. Close friends with The Dragon. He occasionally provides "zen zaps," where he enlightens another person, momentarily or permanently.|||
|The Dragon||Representation of Eastern philosophy. On friendly terms with God. He often encourages those caught in the middle of the heaven-hell conflict to play both sides, an allusion to the Middle Way philosophy of Buddhism.|||
|God||A giant hand in the sky. Often uses puppets to parody other characters, most often the Devil.|||
|Jesus||A thin, bearded ascetic. Enjoys playing sports against the denizens of Hell and always makes sacrifice plays. Very rarely, he turns devils back into humans.|||
|Barack Star||A musically talented parody of Barack Obama.|||
|Cupid||The personification of love. No apparent relation to the other cherubs.|||
|Father Time||Father Time begins each January as the infant Baby New Year, then re-appears around December as the wizened old man being hunted by the Grim Reaper. His death is typically heralded by fireworks and yet another newborn incarnation of himself, delivered by stork.|||
|Francis Sebastian||An openly gay individual in a happy relationship with another (yet to be named) man of colour.|||
|Grim Reaper||The anthropomorphic manifestation of death. Has the job of a typical hitman. He slays Father Time at the end of every year and holds a grudge against the resurrected, namely Jesus and the zombie. He hunts using a variety of scythes which double as firearms and often flies on a glider similar to the one owned by the Green Goblin.|||
|Lady Liberty||The long-suffering ex of Uncle Sam, frustrated by his infidelities and imperialism finally left him and started hanging out with Freebot.|||
|Legion||A massively muscled incubus who works as a bouncer at The Hell Hole.|||
|Lilith||Mysterious white-haired woman, assumed to be Li'l Evil's mother. In flashbacks, she is depicted as a loving parent. Has the ability to petrify men with her gaze.|||
|Milton||A fat, nerdy incubus who designs spy drones and fembots. Creepy, and proud of it.|||
|Li'l Miko||Monique's awestruck protégé. She spends all her time defending and emulating her idol, much as Seymour idolizes Jesus and Li’l E used to idolize the Devil. Is friends with Theo, Master's Fan Boy.|||
|Porno-Man||A husky, black-masked individual with chalk-white skin, who is into masculinity stereotypes and some sort of heteronormative distortion of BDSM connected to 50 Shades of Gray. Is able to fly, acting like a superhero cartoon.|||
|Theo||A young boy who enjoys stalking Master and praising his artwork. He and Monique's Fan Girl are good friends.|||
|Uncle Sam||The personification of America, and former partner of Lady Liberty. Since she left him, he has been all about missing her and being miserable that she's gone.|||
|Vainglorious||A mysterious devil artist who dresses in black. He has a silly side and can generate force fields.|||
|Zombie||A yet-unnamed, damned and misunderstood soul who escaped from hell after Seymour accidentally raised him from the dead. Commonly referred to as "Story Time Zombie". He lives in a cave but often wanders in search of someone to tell him stories, as Fuchsia did before quitting her job. Like Porno-Man, he has chalk-white skin, but whether or not this is intended to indicate that Porno-Man too is a zombie is unclear.|||
|Master||Ishida's in-comic avatar: a cartoonist and owner of Percy and Pooch. Like Squigley's sofa, his drawing table can fly, carrying him and his pets when he experiences artistic inspiration.|||
|Percy and Pooch||A sullen, independent cat and a cheerful, dimwitted dog. They both reside with the Master, rarely interacting with the outside world.|||
The Sinfest universe houses some peculiar landmarks, constant fixtures in many strips of the comic.
|Master's House||Home to Percy, Pooch and Master. An ordinary house with drawing equipment, where Master creates his strips and resides when not interacting with his world.||...|
|The Devil Booth||Homage to Lucy's booth in the Peanuts strip, it's a simple booth where the Devil tries to buy and sell souls. Later strips have the booth staffed with Fuchsia and Baby Blue, Baby Blue alone, and Absinthe. The booth has also been shown to transform on demand to sell any items that a Sinfest character (usually Li'l Evil) needs for wreaking havoc or otherwise indulging in sinful impulses.|||
|The Devil's Mansion||A lavish mansion, housing much high-tech surveillance gear to keep all Sinfest's characters in check, Absinthe and Baby Blue's rooms, and a personal access to Hell (see hellholes). Home to many lavish parties.|||
|Li'l Evil's House||Owing to Li'l Evil's nature as the self-styled 'number one fan' of the Devil, the house is a complex mansion with a large cache of weapons (mainly Japanese swords and guns) and Devil paraphernalia. A pitchfork flag marks its spot, and several deadly traps are scattered all around. Currently Li'l Evil's House is the main base of operations for Tangerine and Li'l Evil, as the succubus is now taking care for an amnesiac Li'l Evil. Li'l Evil's house is adjacent to Seymour's.|||
|Hellholes||Since Hell in Sinfest is stereotypically placed below Earth, digging enough or summoning demonic powers may open large holes in the ground and effectively create portals to Hell. Despite the Devil's wishes, some demonic creatures may escape the hellholes, roaming free in the Sinfest Universe: for surveillance purposes the Devil's home houses a permanent hellhole, staffed with guarding succubi and/or incubi and a detector of positive thoughts. Owing to the cracking-booming sound made by the earth splitting open, Tangerine has given a name to the act of opening a hellhole, namely, "Bkow."|||
|The "Hell Hole"||A stripper bar and club owned and run by the Devil himself, popular with many devil people, as well as a good number of regular male characters from the strip. Legion acts as the bouncer and overall manager, while Sapphire is one of the star strippers.|||
|McDebil's||A parody of McDonald's, presumably owned by The Devil, who owns most of Sinfest city. Li'l Evil used to work there, earning money to spend on Devil paraphernalia, before he lost his memory. So far, this is the only thing resembling a regular job that any of the Sinfest characters not directly employed by The Devil has been shown to have (barring Master, who works as a cartoonist).|||
|The Lethe River||The river of forgetfulness. While dipping a body part in the Lethe may cause numbness, diving or drinking from it can make people forget everything about themselves. Its effects appear to be inconsistent; Slick once jumped in seeking to forget that he was a cartoon character, and upon re-emerging, a simple jog to the memory was enough to remind him of who he was. In contrast, Li'l Evil merely washed his face in the river but has yet to regain his memories. Buddha's "Awakening Touch" is a known cure for Lethe-induced numbness and forgetfulness.|||
|The Tree of Knowledge||Based on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil from the Biblical Garden of Eden, this tree always bears a single apple which when eaten gives characters uncomfortable revelations about themselves. Li'l Evil once attempted to chop it down, but it appears to have survived this attempt.|||
|The Reality Zone||Located in the woods around the town, it's a place where characters gain realistic proportions and qualities (for example, Squigley becomes a mere pig, Slick becomes taller and more proportioned). Imaginary creatures and anthropomorphized items like Hell's pitchforks (flying pitchforks with their own minds) can't survive in the Reality Zone: placed there, they die, only to spring back to life when returned to the Sinfest Universe. Devil people gain briefly a realistic and more proportioned form, akin to a human version of their comic selves, but still having horn and tails, then start to painfully dissolve. Robots look more human while they stay in the reality zone. More importantly, entering the reality zone puts them on auto pilot - it permanently liberates them from their control systems, setting them free.|||
|The Friend Zone||Located in the public park, it's a reference to the platonic relationship of the same name. The Friend Zone is a section of the park where a female character is able to effortlessly fend off the advances of a lovelorn suitor. Devil People, owing to their lustful nature, are unable to enter the Friend Zone, greatly suffering upon approaching its border, whereas lovelorn and sexually aggressive human characters are merely distressed at the knowledge that they have been "Friend Zoned". Innocent characters, as Tangerine and the amnesiac Li'l Evil and the platonic couple Fuchsia and Criminy are able to frolic in the Friend Zone, celebrating their friendship and chaste love.|||
|The Trans-State||A section of the woods where the characters become gender-bent versions of themselves.|||
Tatsuya Ishida is the author of Sinfest. He was also a penciller for Dark Horse Comics, where he worked on comic books of the licensed properties G.I. Joe Extreme and Godzilla. In the 1990s he co-created and penciled a comic called StrangeLove for Entity Comics with partner Stacy Freeman.
- Yim, Roger (April 2, 2001). "DOT-COMICS / Online cartoons skip traditional syndication and draw loyal fans on the Internet". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Bruin life". Archive.org. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Sinfest Volume 1 :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics". Darkhorse.com. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- Ishida, Tatsuya (February 21, 2007). "Creep-Os 3". Sinfest.
- Ishida, Tatsuya. "Sinfest Archives".
- Cave, Damien. "No laughing matter - Damien Cave - Salon.com". Dir.salon.com. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Debuterer i Tommy og Tigeren". bt.no. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Dark Horse Continues to Collect the Best Comics on the Web with the Release of Sinfest! 2/6/09 :: Press Releases :: Dark Horse Comics". Darkhorse.com. 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- "Dark Horse Presents Free Online Comics & Comic Books on". MySpace. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
- 2000-02-03: Beat Poet 3
- 2000-04-24: A Spiritual Matter
- 2000-04-06: Harder Faster Louder
- 2004-09-18: Campaign 20
- 2001-10-13: Everyone's Questioning God 3
- 2011-09-25: Who's That 3
- 2000-07-12: True Image 7
- 2014-02-18: Name
- 2013-10-20: Weaponized Fembot
- March 1, 2015: Search 15
- 2013-10-20: March 2, 2015: Search 16
- February 21, 2016: Roboticize 12
- 2013-05-26: Day In The Life 16
- 2009-04-25: Convert
- 2009-03-07: Time To Get Busy
- 2012-11-17: Are You A Happy Devil Person 4
- 2014-03-02: Tangerine
- 2014-02-04: Black Utopia Fantasy Story
- 2012-11-13: Nana Senses
- 2013-01-25: Password
- 2013-03-04: Feminist Utopia Fantasy Story
- 2000-05-04: Angel Hunting 4
- 2007-04-18: Elusive
- 2000-09-15: Calligraphy 5
- 2000-01-23: Hand of God
- 2006-10-15: Faith-Off
- 2008-09-14: Barack Star
- 2010-02-14: Cupid
- 2009-12-28: MMIX
- 2013-09-11: Soul Audit 2
- 2008-08-24: Hitman
- 2013-05-03: Porn Sex 2
- 2011-12-30: Looking For Fuchsia
- 2013-12-15: Lilith
- 2012-09-21: Sinfest Nights 9
- 2011-12-15: Squee
- 2014-01-29: The Porno Signal
- 2013-03-27: Just Like Him
- 2008-10-21: Uncle Sam Puppet
- 2014-11-26: Vainglorious Puppet
- 2012-01-15: Story Time 3
- 2010-11-14: Day in the Life 12
- 2004-07-31: Another Day Seized
- 2000-01-17: Devil Booth
- 2013-04-11: Mansion
- 2011-10-27: House 2
- 2009-11-11: Portal to Hell 2
- 2012-02-16: Closed
- 2009-07-08: McDebil's
- 2011-04-27: The Lethe
- 2010-07-22: Reality Zone
- 2012-08-23: Friend Zone
- 2011-11-03: Trans State
- Freeman, Stacy (1995). "Strangelove 1". Strangelove. Entity Comics.