#1012 "Ten Years"

August 6th, 2012, 3:50 pm

Average Rating: 5.00

Rate It:

Author's Comments:

Reply NtKGar, August 6th, 2012, 4:06 pm

The first Neko the Kitty strip went online on August seventh, 2002.

Kind of odd to think I've been doing *anything* for ten years. That's a third of my life. That's long enough for a human being to come to sentience, learn to speak and read, and start being cynical. I've created a substantial body of work in that time. The archive would be a good few inches in shelf space if it was all printed out. This only really started sinking in for me when I was putting together the Neko-through-the-years montage for Whitespace, so that at least keeps this short.

There are ten years worth of Neko the Kitty comics. I'm pretty sure that counts as an achievement. I don't know what it means yet, but I'm pretty sure it means something.

Reply Advertisement, June 24th, 2019, 4:38 am

Reply NtKPaige, August 6th, 2012, 4:30 pm

You've come a long way Happy 10th Birthday Neko!

Reply NtKGar, August 7th, 2012, 5:16 pm

So I've been thinking about what the whole "ten year anniversary" thing means. It's of mild interest to others, but it's a big deal for me. This is the nature of personal achievement. People are slightly impressed if you get a degree or run a marathon or eat a calzone bigger than your head or whatever it is that makes you feel like you've done something worthwhile, but it's never going to mean as much to other people as it does to you, and nor should it. Friends will congratulate you, or maybe not believe you, or ask what possessed you to eat the whole thing. You've done something they wouldn't or couldn't do themselves. Good for you! That's slightly interesting and a little bit impressive! For someone who doesn't know you, maybe it'll be enough for them to remember you as the guy (or gal) who ate the big pizza pocket. The effort involved doesn't concern them.

This is not to belittle personal achievement, only to reinforce that they are personal. It's highly likely that someone you've never met having pursued a particular interest for a long time doesn't mean much to you.

Here's what it means to me.

When Neko the Kitty started in 2002, those first six strips in the archive were drawn in a somewhat misguided attempt to impress a girl. I can't even remember her last name now, but I'll never forget her face. It was the first face I ever saw reading my comics. It smiled a particular smile, filled with flattery and amusement, and filling more with the latter until the smile exploded and turned into a laugh.

I've always had a tendency to fall in love with smiles. Something I had made had helped shape a wonderful one.

Now, I never got together with that girl. We were friends for a while and kind of gradually lost track of each other as friends sometimes do. Either way she wasn't into me, but she liked those first six comics enough to ask me to make more. So I did. I kept drawing comics and carrying them around in a big green binder, and sometimes my friends would ask to look at them. People were slightly impressed! Laughs and smiles and I should make more. I felt like I was doing something right.

I suppose that's why I couldn't stay away from cartooning. I also suppose in a way it's also why I stopped in the first place. The history of Neko is oft-retold. I was finishing up college while going through some bad personal shit in 2005, and the comic updated increasingly intermittently from 2005 to 2007. I originally started putting Neko online because I got sick of carrying around a big green binder full of original comics. It was more efficient, but I stopped seeing the smiles. Those were years where I didn't smile much myself, and forgot for a while how important it was.

The 2008 reboot was, again, thanks to a girl. My now-ex. We were together for a couple of years. I showed her my old comics near the start of the relationship. She liked those first four hundred-odd comics enough to ask me to make more. I did, and realised how much I had missed it. It still felt like doing something right.

With the new comments box under every comic, I was also, figuratively speaking, able to see the smiles again.

There are now more comics in the 2008-present run than there are in the original 2002-2007 run. There have been filler days since 2008, a couple of late updates, but never a missed day. That became a matter of pride, and I'm proud to have stuck with it.

We're back to personal achievement here. Sticking with a craft, committing to a project long-term, doing something better than you've done it before. Good hard work that builds character and makes your moustache grow thick and luxurious. There's a kind of honour in sticking to the grind. Hard work and personal improvement are indeed their own reward.

But it was the smiles and the laughs that got me into it. I was never making art for art's sake. What I've really been trying to make for the last ten years has been moments of happiness. Closest I can come is making a tool for others.

Sometimes it's easy to forget that. Sometimes you forget that the site usage statistics reflect real people who keep coming back because something about the adventures of Neko and his friends helps them to feel happy for a while. It's easy to forget that the people who comment aren't the only ones reading and coming back. There are people who have been reading for years.

That's a strange thing to think about. That people you've never met know they can rely on you to make them smile. In the 2005-2007 period when the strip was updating erratically, I kept getting e-mails from readers who wondered when I was going to update again. Most of these people didn't know me, but they knew Neko and the gang, and they missed them. I don't know if there are any first-generation Nekolytes still reading, but if you're there, thank you.

And I say first-generation, because in ten years Neko the Kitty has been around long enough to have reached more than one generation of readers!

A bunch of younger commentors have made themselves known lately, and it occurs to me that these people weren't old enough to read when NtK first started. The original audience was mostly late-teens early-twenties, and those people are in their late twenties and early thirties now! The schoolgoers are a whole new generation of readers coming in!

That's a unique privilege, and an honour.

Also, once in a while an old reader gets nostalgic. I love it when someone goes 'Holy crap Neko the Kitty! I used to read that when I was in school!', and then they go through the archive that's built up since they stopped reading, catching up with the comic like it's an old friend.

It's odd to think of that kind of nostalgia happening on account of something I made. It's kind of uncanny that there's a whole other generation of readers coming in. There's never been a big audience, but there's always been an audience, and its been around long enough for a small nerd-dom to appear. People have gotten tattoos, there's 'Classic Neko' vs. 'New Neko' debate, long-standing fans successfully discourage rudeness in the site comments, and the new site layout was assembled by a volunteer from the audience!

Ten years, and from the very start I've always been fortunate in my fans. For some reason, internet assholes have never really been a big problem here. It's not as if Neko teaches love and respect or anything, but the site culture has always been nice enough not to require heavy moderation. I don't know why niceness seems to be a trait of the average Neko reader, but it's always been the case and I've always been glad of it.

Would I stop if nobody was reading? Perhaps. Sometimes I get bummed out that the audience isn't growing more quickly and drop extremely unsubtle hints about how people should share Neko the Kitty on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Stumbleupon, or other popular social media sites. Personal recommendation from a friend is still the strongest form of advertising, and word of mouth isn't going to spread itself you know.

Where was I? Ah yes, personal achievement. While the audience has grown and dwindled and grown again over the years, while its members may have changed, the audience as an audience has always been there. The parts of it that make themselves known have always been really nice enthusiastic people, and helpful where applicable. There have always been people happy to see a new Neko the Kitty comic.

That's what ten years of Neko the Kitty means to me. It's a small thing, really. A personal achievement. Not even an achievement, really, just a milestone of continual effort.
The effort to bring more smiles and laughter into the world than would otherwise occur. The effort has, for ten years, met with a small degree of success. I take great pride in that measure, and thank you warmly for it.

It still feels like doing something right.

User's Comments:

Reply Havockitten (Guest), August 6th, 2012, 6:24 pm

Cuteness overload @.@ This is officially my favorite strip of the entire comic. Now if only there was an animation of them doing all this together. I think I'd just keel over and die from the adorableness. x.x

Reply Havockitten (Guest), August 6th, 2012, 6:25 pm

almost forgot Oh yeah, forgot to mention the fact that it's my and my fiance's anniversary as well. Only 7 years, but we're gettin' there! So yeah, best anniversary surprise evar <3

Reply LoveMastah, August 6th, 2012, 8:13 pm

Happy 10th birthday, Neko! Thank you, Gar for supplying us readers with an amazing comic strip, at least it's something to look forward to when I have a bad day.

Reply isbird100 (Guest), August 6th, 2012, 10:45 pm

Adorable. Random comment, 741 is by far my favorite strip.

Reply RaeofSunshine, August 7th, 2012, 3:21 am

Awe I want this flashed :p flashy cat dance for all to enjoy!!! <3 ^_^
Thanks for taking the time to hang with us Gar and Paige! Don't go away anytime soon!

Reply Corey Kramer (Guest), August 7th, 2012, 7:32 am

Milestones! Congratulations on your longevity! I was lucky enough to draw a guest strip for ya a year or two back and I've been reading the strip since! Here's to many more years of Adventcha!

Reply Zageroth, August 7th, 2012, 11:37 am

Hoo-Rah!! Hard to believe it all started with a Video game the cat couldn't play!!

Reply TheAlbumAtrium, August 7th, 2012, 10:30 pm

Huzzah! This deserves cake.

() () () () () ()
|__NEKO_ |

Reply Riddle Dictator (Guest), August 8th, 2012, 4:34 am

Ads Sorry to say your ads are most annoying. Normally, I don't mind ads, they help pay for my entertainment. Unfortunately, these ads are COVERING the comic. That just spoils it for me.

Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 4:57 am

Are you viewing in a window or low resolution? The site layout is designed around a 1280 pixel wide screen, seeing as there's a very small percentage of the audience viewing at lower resolutions. The sidebar on the right is set to go behind the comic if the window is narrower than 1280 pixels, but it looks like the ad bar is set to overlay, which I think is the Google Ads default.

For the standard height comics this isn't an issue because the comic just overlays the 'top picks' section of the right bar. Extra-tall comics like this one mean more comic image for the ad to overlay on. It's a matter of real estate.

I'm sure there's a way to ensure that the comic image is always displayed in front of site elements that get mooshed in from the right when viewing the site in a window or at low resolutions. Our intrepid webmaster, PiMaster, will surely be able to save the day!

Reply Nysak (Guest), August 8th, 2012, 6:27 am

woo! Keep up the good work Gar.
I started reading in 2006 or so, not sure if that makes me a first generation reader or not...I was pretty active on the forum for a while there too and I still have contact with a few great people I met on there, so thank you for that as well :)

Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 9:13 am

It's a shame the old forums died, they were great for a long time. They were deleted when the old nekothekitty.net domain host went down, which was like losing an old photo album.

We can create a new Neko the Kitty forum if there's interest in such a thing. Maybe a subreddit?

Reply magic oisin (Guest), August 8th, 2012, 11:19 am

been on the internet 10 years maybe 10 years worth of comics no you took a big break for a couple of years

Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 11:53 am

It's not like time stopped for that, though.

Me and comics were on-again-off-again for a while. The big break was June 2007 to October 2008. That's when I picked up the pen for the third time and realised I love comics. If we're talking continuous updates we're looking at nearly four years since October 28th 2008. There's 425 comics up to that point. At 3 comics a week, a year's worth of comics is 156 strips, so that's 2.72436 years.

Actually it went twice a week for a while in 2008, so at three comics a week the whole archive to date is worth about 5.8 years.

If that applied to reality though, we'd be celebrating christmas in 2007 around about now.

On the plus side that means The Orange Box came out not too long ago and we all get to enjoy Portal! WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 12:04 pm

Wait, my math's off there. By math I mean educated guessing. It'd be about June 2008. Awesome! Wall-E's about to come out!

Extrapolating forward, that means we won't be at ten years worth of comics until around September-October 2016. If someone does the math and gets a precise date then I'll happily celebrate ten years worth of comics when it rolls around.

Actually, doiii: Ten years' worth of comics is 1560 strips, so there's another 651 to go.

I can do that.

Reply nekonian (Guest), August 8th, 2012, 12:19 pm

me an Neko celebrated our first decade together! I'm ten too!

Reply NtKGar, August 8th, 2012, 12:21 pm

Happy Birthday if recently relevant! :)

Reply Vercent, August 8th, 2012, 1:43 pm

Congrats I started reading NtK in October last year. I was drawn here by an advert on the twolumps comic which made my day (the pay attention to me, I'm freaking adorable ad) and to this day i still believe its the best ad for a web comic i've seen. Made my way through the whole archive by the end of December.

So i would like to say thank you for making my evening shift work go that much faster (i sit at a desk and tell people what to do, huge bonus that my monitor is not visible to them)
Thank you for the cutes, the funnies, the Star Trek references and the downright weird. Its a pleasure to read your work. Cheers

Reply Neon-J, August 9th, 2012, 12:33 pm

10 years of Neko. Heh, almost as much as SRB2.

I prefer 2006-2008 style though. It's just.. cuter. xD Kittens!

Reply 1stgenner (Guest), August 10th, 2012, 4:55 pm

Since way back Wanted to let you know that I was reading before the break and was very happy when I sumbled upon Neko again and found it was updating!
I had quite a number of my fave strips stored for days that I was feeling down and low because they always made me smile :)

Reply NtKGar, August 10th, 2012, 5:59 pm

Thanks 1stGenner, glad I was right about return readers like you existing! :D

Reply KittyLitter, September 2nd, 2012, 7:10 pm

I just discovered this comic today and I love it. It's been great to read through it and see the artwork progress. Thanks for sharing this wonderful gem of a story with us. :3

Reply KitsuneRouge (Guest), November 3rd, 2012, 11:54 am

Smiles I was on a really heavy webcomics kick about a year ago, i was reading about 10 comics including Questionable Content, Marry me, Twokinds, NPC comic, sam and fuzzy, shortpacked, dumbing of age, and most importantly, Neko the Kitty. I stopped in about January beacuse i was spending so much time on comics it was taking time out of my day that i couldnt afford to waste. I picked back up today because I had a dream, and oddly enough, Keno was in it. I remember why i started reading webcomics in the first place. It was for the smiles and you're right, you are doing the right thing.

Reply NtKGar, November 3rd, 2012, 2:11 pm

That picked my day right up :)

Thanks KitsuneRouge!

Reply Aryaluv, December 4th, 2012, 1:22 am

:O ten years! oh my that's a long time! but It's good to see a comic this amusing stick around for so long! so here's to hoping for another 10 great year with Neko, Keno and the rest of the cast!

Thank you Gar :3

Reply magic_beefy, December 7th, 2012, 11:53 am

First Gen That comment about first gen readers made me think about the time I first found this comic and I realized that I'm one of those first gen readers since i started in my '02-'03 year in high school (comic started in 2002 so), though i did lose track of the comic shortly after getting out of school the same year i am glad to see that is still up and running, had to read through the whole archive to catch back up though (doesn't help that I'm not doing it in one sitting like most people do)
Oh I also found the comic though TWC all those years ago

Reply Jamesandwich, January 24th, 2013, 11:44 am

Wow I only started reading this comic roughly a week ago and I have already reached the ten year anniversary comic! This has been so fun to read and I can't wait to read more! ^u^

Reply Kalicokitten (Guest), February 28th, 2013, 4:58 am

NEKO my old friend I just found out that Neko is still around and i literally squealed! I started reading Neko with my now exhubby back in 2006, when times got rough for us I lost track of Neko and his life...glad i refound him.

Reply TheCatMolloy, February 28th, 2013, 7:08 am

@Kalicokitten: Here's to better days ahead, welcome back!

Reply Firecat1311, March 12th, 2013, 9:22 am

2006 Mega Paws (tm)

Reply Connors, May 16th, 2013, 6:15 pm

I just recently started reading too and it's taken me a looooong time to get here but it was FUN.

..incidentally I kind of prefer the way you used to actually draw paws. :P

Reply KYOU (Guest), June 28th, 2013, 2:38 pm

ADVENCHA Found this comic three days ago by accident and I'm happy I did! This is an awesome comic and for whatever random reason I can relate to Neko and Keno. 2006 Neko I like better. :3

Reply banana man (Guest), August 3rd, 2013, 6:26 pm

original Am I the only one who misses the original style of illustration.

Reply Taiyo Prower (Guest), September 27th, 2013, 8:12 am

Ahh man, Neko the Kitty sure has come a long way from "AAAH FUCK! NO THUMBS!"
I'm a long-time fan of this now-eleven-years-old comic, and I'd just like to say thank you, Gar, for all the smiles and laughs over the years. :)

Reply HikaruYami (Guest), April 16th, 2014, 8:30 pm

This is a universe where the main characters have all seen Magic And Gar doesn't believe that Neko and Keno can do a dance routine.

Reply trixethecat (Guest), December 9th, 2016, 8:29 pm

It means you've been doing this for 10 years that's what it means

Reply Night the fox (Guest), December 9th, 2016, 8:30 pm

Wait if there talking in the car... who's driving?

Reply NtKGar, December 11th, 2016, 5:15 am

@Night the fox: They're in the back seat

Actually reading back on the comments for this one four years later was really nice. We've rebooted again and the big paws are back. We're currently at strip #40 in the new book, but we're reintroducing everything without unhappening anything, and a lot of the old readers are still around. I was off in my estimate of when we'd reach strip 1560 strips, we're at 1280-odd now.

Post A Comment