The Daily Read: 3/17

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For Tarol Hunt, it all started when he was eight years old and his mother organized weekly Dungeons & Dragons tournaments at their house. In order to participate, Hunt first had to know the source material  and read both the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide. “So when other kids were being forced to take piano lessons,” Hunt explains. “I was being forced to read RPG text books.” The “lessons” paid off, fostering a livelong love of fantasy and gaming for Hunt.

An affinity for fantasy also connected with another childhood hobby – drawing. But Hunt found the publishing machine pre-webcomics too tedious and expensive; even mailing his portfolios proved costly. However, webcomics offered Hunt no publisher – other than himself. Therein, Hunt's successful fantasy webcomic Goblins was born.

“If it [webcomics] can grab the attention of enough people, it can result in a career of some kind,” Hunt explains. “To me, this seems like a much more natural process of trying to become a comic author.”

Of course, Hunt isn’t alone in its sentiment. Both fantasy and gaming webcomics dominate the medium. At least eight of the Top 10 of Top Webcomics include gaming and semi-traditional fantasy – and one of them is Goblins. While Hunt warns aspiring webcomic creators against creating reactionary works along popular webcomic trends, he also cautions creators not to discount their work just because of the genre may be saturated with competition.

“I think the best thing to do is just create what you're passionate about,” Hunt says. “If it's from deep enough within you, it'll end up being original enough to survive and others will recognize that you’re just doing your own thing and that in of itself is something rare in webcomics.”

Hunt’s personal connection with the medium is evident on the website, where he illustrates his character observing a statue of E. Gary Gygax along with a touching remembrance of the Dungeons and Dragons co-creator.

“Gary Gygax is the man who started it all and even if you're not a gamer, your life has in some way been affected by him. Without Dungeons and Dragons, today's fantasy genre would be very different. Many of today's TV shows, movies, video games, board games and other forms of entertainment would not exist without D&D to springboard it all,” Hunt says.

“Don't get me wrong, great fantasy entertainment like The Lord Of The Rings and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was around before D&D, but it was that game that helped to create the in-depth fantasy worlds that we watch, read and play in today.”

As for the future, Hunt looks to the past, noting the current arc has been about two years in the making. Still, he remains tight-lipped about just what lies on the horizon, even after alluding to a climactic end.

“As for what exactly is going to happen, well... they'll have to read and find out.” Hunt says cryptically.

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