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Webcomic / Dork Tower

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Your dorks, clockwise from the redhead: Kayleigh, Ken, Matt, Gilly, Igor, and Carson.

"Hey, Marcia! Come and see the satanist!"
Bookstore clerk, after Matt asks if they have RPG books

Dork Tower is the name of a comic series by famed game creator, illustrator, and writer John Kovalic. Set in the fictional town of Mud Bay, Wisconsin, it focuses on the gaming adventures and personal lives of the four main characters, a group of geeks whose hobbies and interests include tabletop roleplaying games, video games, miniature games, collectible card games, science fiction and fantasy, comic books, computers, anime and manga — in short, anything and everything dorks (and Geeks, and nerds, and Otaku) would enjoy.

The four main characters are:

  • Matt McLimore, the group's gamemaster. His RPG campaigns are frequently derailed by the players, but he persists in trying to deliver a rich and rewarding experience every time they play. He works as a graphic designer, but also draws his own comic book, "That Grrl," in his spare time.
  • Ken Mills, a miniatures collector, historical wargamer, and medieval recreationist. He is a stickler for accuracy to the point of obsession. He works as a programmer at a technology company,
  • Igor Olman, an extremely enthusiastic fan of everything gaming-related, who obsessively commits himself to all of his hobbies and interests. The most rash and impulsive member of the group, by far.
  • Carson C. Muskrat, a muskrat. He is arguably the most "normal" character of the group, though he does act impulsively when gaming. He supports himself through various demeaning service-sector jobs.

Supporting characters who frequently appear in Dork Tower include:

  • Bill Blyden, the owner and manager of Pegasaurus Games, the gang's regular game store. He struggles daily with both the efforts to keep the store running and the numerous annoyances of ungrateful customers. He is married to his wife Stacy, and his sole employee is Leslie.
  • Gilly Woods, a perpetually perky goth girl. Confounding goth stereotypes, she likes cute and cheerful things, to the disgust of her brother Walden. Matt has a deep crush on her, but she has been hesitant to reciprocate due to his relationship with Kayleigh. She moved to London to attend graduate school, but later returned.
  • Walden Woods is Gilly's older brother and the leader of the Mud Bay goth gamers. He runs their recurring LARP sessions, and suffers the indignity of getting kicked out of everywhere they want to play.
  • Kayleigh Hardcastle is Matt's on-again, off-again girlfriend. They went steady in college, but broke up due to clashes in personalities and interests. Kayleigh is a journalist for a local newspaper.
  • Sujata Murthy is Kayleigh's roommate. After dating Ken, she got into gaming — to his dismay, as she tends to be better at it than he is...
  • Estella "Stell" Alvarez is Gilly's roommate, who joins Matt's gaming group after connecting through an app. She is the most sensible and level-headed at role-playing, but incredible neurotic and insecure in real life. Works as a librarian.
  • Chad is an aggressive, stupid dudebro who exists for Kovalic to dump on right-wingers and Internet trolls.
  • Steve (originally "John") is Kovalic's self-insert.

Dork Tower began as a four-panel comic in print format, published in various gaming-oriented periodicals such as Dragon Magazine and Pyramid. In 2000, it became a four-panel webcomic published approximately three times a week. Later, a monthly comic book was published by Dork Storm Press, and featured a mix of single-page strips, multi-page stories, and ongoing character development story arcs. The comic book had been on hiatus as of issue #36 due to personal affairs, but resumed publication in 2011 in annual mini-series releases. A series of TPB collections reprint the web and print strips. The strip has won several Origin Awards, and the comic has sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.

The various Dork Tower comics contain examples of: