Punxsy couple’s Web comic growing after half-million hits

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A year ago at this time, Thom and Kambrea Pratt had no idea whether their Web comic, “Shadowbinders,” would be successful.

The couple, who used to color and design characters such as Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck for Gemstone’s Disney comics, believe the Internet is the future of comics, so they decided to post “Shadowbinders” on the Web Aug. 27, 2010.

The comic really took off this past January, which they believe is because, in part, they use social networking sites such as Facebook and the marketing site Projectwonderful to spread the word.

Since its origin, the site — shadowbinders.com — has registered more than a half-million hits, and the weekend of Sept. 10 and 11, the comic was featured at the first-ever Digicon virtual comic book convention, where the Pratts spoke to fans via Web cam and answered questions in real time.

They were recently invited to present the comic at the AnimeUSA Convention in Arlington, Va.

Kambrea, who is a certified art teacher, said she prefers using the Web over print because, “The Web comic community is very helpful.”

The Pratts first started creating comics during a time when starting one’s own would take thousands of dollars. But thanks to the Internet, the start-up cost is a fraction of what it used to be, and anyone can start a Web comic.

The couple has always worked as a team, with Thom — a graphic designer who uses the pen name Kneon Transitt — doing the artwork and Kambrea writing the dialogue, all of which is done on their Thinkpad PC — no paper is involved.

In the future, they plan to release a print version of the comic and change the format so it fits better on mobile devices.

They have enjoyed making the comic and the responses they have received from fans.

They look forward to its future, but Thom says, “You can’t control where it goes.”

The current schedule for “Shadowbinders,” is Monday and Thursday, but they sometimes post a bonus page Friday.