One of the most prolific creators of pixel art web comics is Sean Howard. His online comics, A Modest Destiny and the more recent The Starship Destiny, look very much like 16 bit game graphics, screen shots from a GameBoy game. However, all the artwork is original and the look and feel are only meant to capture the feel of those time gone by graphics.
A Modest Destiny began in 2003 and for almost three years Sean has shown everyone just how far pixel based art can go. Pouring through the archives I found myself being impressed over and over at the creative ways Sean was able to visually expand beyond the graphical limitations he has set for himself. It’s far beyond any other pixel or sprite based comics I’ve come across.
According to a recent post made to the front page of his site, Sean is announcing his departure from web comic creation. The message declares that a recent addition to his family is the reason, but some personal grievances are aired out at the end of the message which leaves one wondering if there is really more to it. Sean has been a controversial figure on the web for some time. His blog posts often take strong political stances and even includes a comic he made using photographs of himself burning an American flag.
He’s no stranger to controversy in web comics either. Back in 2003 he caused a stir among readers of Penny Arcade when he threatened a lawsuit to have the PA site shut down unless action against forum members who were using his characters as avatars weren’t dealt with. Obviously, his legal threats did not pan out, but Sean’s goodbye letter included some harsh words for the PA folks and references to the upcoming book on the history of web comics by T. Campbell in which Mr. Campbell covers the whole sordid affair.
Despite his penchant for stirring up overblown drama, Sean Howard’s comics are very entertaining and it’ll be everyone’s loss to see his comics go. The full archives of Sean’s comics and his blog archives are available for download off his site for the next week or so, which is something we rarely see. He declares he is leaving the internet altogether, but does hint at possible future print versions of his work.
Here are Sean’s parting words, which seem to rail at the web itself: “And so, my dear patchwork monster of rage and low self esteem – my petty, pretty internet – I bid thee adieu; you have bested me at last. You must feel so very proud.”
Drama to the last.
( * Thanks to reader Spencer for letting us know about this ).