The first episode of Penny Arcade’s Strip Search is up. This first episode introduces our players but doesn’t really give much insight into the types of challenges they will face in the weeks to come. The production quality is certainly top notch and very much in line with other reality programming that you can find on any cable channel.
There’s an evil genius to all of this. Penny Arcade has been dabbling with the reality format since the launch of PATV. As a webcartoonist, I found the look behind the screen absolutely fascinating. Seeing how Mike and Jerry work, listening to Robert talk about building the PA empire, the new hire episodes, it’s all bloody brilliant. PATV gives such an intimate look into their lives that even though I’ve never met them in real life, I feel like I have a personal connection with them.
PATV is genius. People connect with video so much more intimately than with blog posts. I rarely read what Mike or Jerry write on the site, but anytime a new video pops up, I’m instantly clicking. And because they are really the only web cartoonists doing a reality show, in some ways, they are the face of webcomics. And now with Strip Search, that is more true than ever.
Strip Search is pretty much Penny Arcade planting their flag in the dirt to declare that they are the standard by which all others are to be judged. It’s kinda fucking true. They are the biggest damn fish in the sea. No other webcomic has created a trade show like PAX or launched a charity like Child’s Play. Within the industry and outside the industry, Penny Arcade IS webcomics.
Though I’m kind of intrigued to see what ridiculous shit the contestants will have to go through (also slightly worried for them), I’m actually more interested in what happens after. The winner gets $12,000 and join the PA empire for a year giving them access to all their resources including Rober Khoo. That’s probably worth more than the money. He certainly knows how to grow a business. Will the winner truly go on to be a super star webcartoonist? Will they be able to sustain their gains when their year under the PA umbrella is over?
I suspect a lot of us webcartoonists will be keeping an eye on Strip Search.