The History of the Ponderous Woman Online
The Ponderous Woman was created around 1990 in my highschool sketch books. With pencil and pen, I created Joey Stewart, Dr. Destino, Gravity Girl, Carrie and the Fat Fomenter. I filled up three notebooks with a couple of dozen stories - they weren't even as slick as the first comics published on this website. They were pen on paper, no colour, and the paper even had lines on it. Hardly anyone ever got to see those orginal adventures in fattening as I hid them and protected them from prying eyes. It wasn't until I was in a relationship with a boyfriend in my last year of highschool (a terrible experience all around) that someone else read them - and mocked them! I ended up destroying those notebooks. The years went on, and though I went through many changes growing up, every now and then the Ponderous Woman would pop back into my mind. I started to wish I could go back and flip through those notebooks again...
In 1998 I discovered the Internet. I happend to find the Dimensions website, and in particular, Melanie Bell's stories. My original connection was text-based so I was missing out on the graphics that Netscape had to offer, but I didn't care! I printed out those stories on a Dot Matrix printer and read them over and over again - it was the first time I realized that I wasn't alone, that there were other people interested in the same thing.
Not feeling like a freak for the first time was very liberating. Sure, there were lots of alternative lifestyle magazines, books and even television shows, but I had never seen anything like this. Over the next year I found that the Web was a true haven for BBWs, FAs, feeders, feedees, padders, and just about everything else I had always felt inclined to, but I thought I was alone. It was a very liberating time!
That's when, with some help from my techie-friends, in 1999 I started the first PW website. The response to the first issue, and subsequent issues was overwhelming, to say the least! I was blown over by the support I received for my meagre artwork and often simple and silly storylines. At times the amount of email was too much to reply to, although I've always read all of it. The way that readers responded to characters that had been in my head for the better part of a decade was truely a wonderful reward for the work that it took to put up the site and keep it updated. Gravity Girl quickly became the most popular character, and was spun-off into her own series of comics. The site received over a thousand hits a day, regularly. Over the years the website has gone through a handful of major transitions - a few major facelifts, as well as three server moves (first XOOM.com, then NBCi.com, and finally, 0catch.com). Whereas free bandwidth was once easy to find, today I pay to maintain the PW site. One thing is for sure... The PW will always be alive and well in one form or another. It has brought me a great deal of joy and hope, sharing this with you. And it has allowed me to make a lot of great friends in the Internet community.
The original PW, Joey Stewart, retired in 2003 with the 31st and final issue of the original series. Quite frankly, I had grown tired of the grind of cranking out new comics on a regular schedule. I'd already done spin-off issues with Gravity Girl in the past, and it occurred to me to do a prequel to the PW series, the True Story of the Fat Fomenter. This was a lot of fun and gave me a chance to experiment some new Photoshop skills. Feeling somewhat rejuvinated, I went further with the Lost Tales of the Truth Teller stories, filling in gaps of original PW continuity and having some more fun drawing my favorite, old characters.
Eventually, in 2004, I felt sufficiently optimistic about online comics again, so I came up with the idea to create a new PW. This time it was Amanda Johnson, aided by her friend, Michelle Miller. The six-part series even included a cameo appearance by Joey Stewart, and was a big hit. I was excited to be doing the comic again too, so what choice was there but to continue? I was still shy of the regular grind of cranking out a seemingly endless line of regular issues, however, so I decided to do short series. Over the following years these stories kept Amanda and her growing (pun intended) cast of friends busy! I also started a tradition of doing a short, light-hearted Holiday comic each Christmas. While I was busy doing all of this, I also dreamed up a new story featuring Joey Stewart, Not As They Seem. This story takes place in existing Classic PW continuity, and was the first pay-to-read comic to appear on the website. Proceeds from selling it go to pay for website bandwidth.
One of the reasons the cast of the NPW increasing so much between 2004 and 2006 was that I considered changing the focus of the comic to a superhero team book. Unfortunately, all things must come to an end, and before I go to that point, by the end of 2007, the End of the New Ponderous Woman wrapped up. It was the single longest comic I've ever done, and it shut the door on further adventures for the New PW.
Well, that's not exactly true... For Amanda, Michelle and their friends, life still goes on, and we'll see it chronicled in Michelle's Diary, a new, ongoing series that I hope you'll all stick around to read for at least a couple of years to come!