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Author(s)Tatsuya Ishida
Current status/scheduleDaily
Launch dateJanuary 17, 2000 (2000-01-17)
Genre(s)Comedy, satire

Sinfest is a long-running American webcomic by Tatsuya Ishida. Updating daily, Sinfest started as a black comedy strip in January 2000. It has featured a wide range of perspectives over its long history, including on American politics,[1] organized religion,[2] and radical feminism.[3][4]


Sinfest originated as a four-panel daily comedy strip relying on dark humor with frequent pop culture references. Over its first decade it evolved into a more serious work, with a large cast of regular characters commenting on such themes as organized religion,[2] American exceptionalism,[1] and economic insecurity.[5] It abruptly shifted focus to radical feminism in 2011,[6] tackling issues such as slut-shaming, misogyny, and street harassment,[4] later incorporating criticism of sex work and the concept of gender identity.[citation needed]


In an interview with Publishers Weekly,[5] Ishida stated that he knew he wanted to become a comics author ever since he read a Peanuts paperback as a child: "[S]omething about the simplicity and solitary nature of the medium appealed to me."[5] Ishida briefly served as penciller for Dark Horse Comics' G.I. Joe Extreme in the early 1990s. Ishida said that he botched this job, noting that "several [of his] pages were so poorly drawn they had to get another guy to redo them entirely".[5]

Early years (2000-2011)[edit]

In 2000, Ishida taught himself HTML, put together a Geocities web page, and started uploading Sinfest strips seven days per week. Ishida stated that he managed to sustain this strict schedule during the first seven years purely through "coffee and revenge".[5] Ishida is rather private and has little interaction with his readership.[7]

Over the years, Sinfest has gone through many shifts in tone.[8] Ishida views his older works as an indicator of his emotional state during that period, describing his early Sinfest strips as "unhinged, totally off the chain".[5] In 2009, Ishida claimed his strip was "still pretty wild, but there's also more warmth, more tenderness",[5] citing 2005 as a turning point towards more sentimental, character-driven storylines. Sinfest was nominated for three Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards in 2004.[9]

Ishida self-published three print volumes of Sinfest between 2002 and 2005. Two volumes of early Sinfest have been published in print by Dark Horse Comics. The first of these was released in mid-2009 and reprints the entire first year of the webcomic. The second volume, a 2011 collection titled Viva la Resistance, covers the webcomic's run from 2003 to 2004, featuring over 600 pages that were previously uncollected.[7] Sinfest has also appeared in the Norwegian comic magazine Nemi.[10]

During the 2008 United States presidential election, Sinfest incorporated more political themes. This was in part because of the "collective anxiety" regarding the financial crisis of 2007–2008.[5] Ishida stated that he switches between characters and situations in his webcomic "pretty much on a whim",[7] claiming that the longer storylines of his webcomic help to tie it all together. In 2011, Ishida started to produce weekly colored strips, giving readers "something extra fun and engaging"[7] on Sundays.

Later years (2011-present)[edit]

In October 2011, the comic abruptly shifted in tone, focusing heavily on radical feminist themes.[3][4][6] PC Magazine listed Sinfest among the best webcomics of 2015.[11]


  1. ^ a b Rosberg, Caitlin (2016-11-11). "Required Reading: 40 of the Best Webcomics". Paste Magazine. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Sinfest has recently become a more specific and pointed criticism of the most toxic parts of American exceptionalism. […] [Ishida's] sharp use of The Matrix as a visual metaphor for the ways in which people are blinded has proven particularly poignant during this current presidential election cycle.
  2. ^ a b Orndorff, Patrick (2009-08-10). "10 Great Webcomics You Should Not Share With Your Kids". Wired. Archived from the original on 2016-12-22. This comic takes a very irreverent view of organized religion and should not be viewed by the overly devout or by the closed-minded.
  3. ^ a b Ishida, Tatsuya (2018-07-01). "Notes from the Resistance: Take The Long Way Home". Sinfest. I'm launching a new forum for people who like the message of my comic. The new forum will be anti-pornography, anti-prostitution. It will favor the radical feminist perspective over a liberal or conservative one. So if you'd like to participate in a forum environment more in harmony with the comic, I invite you to join.
  4. ^ a b c Polo, Susana (2013-08-14). "40 Webcomics You Need to Read". The Mary Sue. Archived from the original on 2017-07-07. Over the past year or so, however, the strip has gone through a revolution of sorts, tackling numerous feminist concepts like slut-shaming, misogyny, problematic porn, and street harassment, sometimes requiring great personal adjustments from its main characters.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Hudson, Laura (2009-06-09). "The Wages of Sinfest". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on 2009-06-15. The first seven years it was coffee and revenge. That's what kept me going. My attitude was, 'I'll show them. I'll show them all!'
  6. ^ a b Kleefeld, Sean (June 25, 2020). Webcomics. Bloomsbury Comics Studies. pp. 82–3. ISBN 1350028177. A more dramatic shift occurred in Sinfest when creator Tatsuya Ishida switched his focus after a decade from, as one reviewer described, "jiggly pimps-n-hoes humor" (Garrity, 2012) to a more overtly radical feminist message. The change in direction was fairly abrupt and unannounced, surprising many readers.
  7. ^ a b c d Carlson, Johanna Draper (2011-01-24). "Tatsuya Ishida Speaks on Sinfest, Jesus, and Fans". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Less socializing means I can concentrate more on the strip.
  8. ^ Ishida, Tatsuya. "Tatsuya Ishida is creating Comics". Patreon. Archived from the original on 2018-03-10. Hi, I'm the creator of Sinfest, an online comic that's been running since 2000. Over the years it has gone through many changes, to the delight of some and dismay of others. I hope to continue polarizing audiences for many years to come. Your support is greatly appreciated.
  9. ^ "2004 Results". Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards. Archived from the original on 2014-10-27. Outstanding Black and White Art […] Outstanding Character (Visual) […] Outstanding Short Form Comic.
  10. ^ Garvik, Bodil (2005-01-14). "Debuterer i Tommy og Tigeren". Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Nå fremhever hun amerikanske Tony Millionaires Maakies og Sinfest av japanske Tatsuya Ishida, som går i Nemi [She now highlights the American Tony Millionaire's Maakies and Sinfest by Japanese Tatsuya Ishida, which appears in Nemi].
  11. ^ Griffith, Eric (2015-02-14). "The Best Webcomics 2015". PC Magazine. Archived from the original on 2017-10-09. Tatsuya Ishida's perfect line work is a beauty to behold […] as is his bravery to cover the topics of religion, patriarchy, sex, and drugs, all in a humorous fashion.

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