INTERVIEW: ACTIVATEcomix at 7 Years with Fraser, Dougan, Dvorak, Kendall, Ortiz

For a webcomics platform to reach the ripe age of seven years in the daily-changing world of the internet is a remarkable accomplishment, and for it to keep producing  original, fresh, and engaging work even more of a triumph that accounts for its survival. Founded by Emmy award-winning artist and comics creator Dean Haspiel in 2006, ACTIVATEcomix, formerly known as ACT-I-VATE, is a comics collective devised to showcase original work and provide a platform for direct interaction between creators and readers. Many of its featured creators, and the works that have appeared on ACTIVATE, are award-winning, illustrating the benefits of creator-owned collective platforms, and the collective also generated a print volume, THE ACT-I-VATE PRIMER, in 2009. Upon reaching its sixth anniversary, ACTIVATE released a sixth “new wave” of material and member Simon Fraser took on the job of directing its future course.  Several current ACTIVATE members joined me for an interview to ring in its seventh anniversary, including Simon Fraser, long-time member Jim Dougan, and sixth-wave newbies Neil Dvorak, Gideon Kendall, and Cristian Ortiz. Fresh from a celebratory DARE2DRAW event featuring ACTIVATE’s seventh birthday, here’s what these ACTIVATErs have to say about their experiences working with a collective webcomics platform, what they see as the site’s biggest accomplishments, and what the future holds for this one-time experiment, now exemplar, in web publication of creator-owned comics.

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