Now that we’re well into 2010 (is it really almost the end of January?), I thought I’d take a look back on some of the cool happenings that, in many ways, made 2009 JEFbot’s biggest year since its debut in late 2007.

The first and most important reason is, of course, you readers. Although I love writing and drawing this strip, if its readership hadn’t expanded beyond the handful of friends and family members it started with, I don’t think I would’ve made it this far. You folks, coming back to check out this site week after week, spreading the strip through word-of-mouth, linking it to your own websites, tweeting about it, emailing it around, and making the comment section more alive than webcomics with audiences twice that of JEFbot’s, have  truly made this webcomic as successful as it is. With your help and enthusiasm, JEFbot’s pageviews have gone from thousands, to hundreds of thousands, to literally millions of pageviews in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively. So a huge thank you to all of you awesome readers!

And just for fun I thought I’d list the top 10 commenters of 2009, who’ll be familiar to any of you who have read or posted a comment over the past year or so. A big thanks to these 10 and everybody who has ever left a comment on a JEFbot strip or blog post. I’m asked all the time by other webcomic creators how I have such a big, active community of commenters and while I do reply with a couple of theories on the matter, I mostly think it’s due to some sort of magic. Here’s your top 10 commenters of 2009, in order of quantity of posts:

  • Spanky McBubbles Spanky McBubbles
  • Michael Cornacchia Michael Cornacchia
  • JefbotFan#300 JefbotFan#300
  • Stan Yan Stan Yan
  • DaughterJudy DaughterJudy
  • funnyshaffer funnyshaffer
  • Maryz Maryz
  • reynard61 reynard61
  • Sonitan Sonitan
  • Foxmouse Foxmouse

It was fun to see this list for me. If you guys dig it, let me know and maybe I’ll put out another one mid-2010. Or maybe quarterly?

Looking back on 2009, I’m also proud of the progress of my art and writing. While I still have so much to learn, when I look back at jefbot and the Cornfather’s character designs in 2007 compared to 2009, I can see I’ve come a long way, even if it didn’t feel like it at the time. And while I’m extremely happy with many of the strips in 2007 and 2008, I think pushing myself with longer story arcs in 2009 certainly helped my storytelling abilities. Some of my favorite strips and storylines in 2009 include:

JEFBOT.111_Bushidō
JEFBOT.131_Bot Be Buggin’
• The Introduction of Abraxas (JEFBOT.134_Abraxas)
• First appearance (kind of) of cel and The Last Arcade Storyline (JEFBOT.137_Seeing Red)
• The Beach storyline (cel and bot on a date!) (JEFBOT.157_Social Distortion)
• Musashi’s abduction (JEFBOT.190_Epilogue: Good Night, Mu)
• Mini Popbot storyline (JEFBOT.194_Popbot Knows Best)
• The biggest Christmas Bat strip ever! (JEFBOT.201_The Christmas Bat III_part 1 of 2)

I’m sure I’m missing a few but these are my favs off the top of my head for what I feel are the strips that pushed me and the strip forward last year.

One of the things I love about having a webcomic is that it’s truly International; for the most part, anyone can get this strip anywhere in the world. I correspond with many readers in the remotest of places on the globe which sometimes just boggles my mind. Unfortunately, many of those places aren’t represented here, the Top 10 Countries/Territories that read JEFbot:
1.) United States 2.) Canada 3.) UK 4.) Germany 5.) Australia 6.) Netherlands 7.) Sweden 8.) France 9.) Denmark 10.) Poland

While I’m happy to see part of my heritage represented here with Germany, I was extremely disappointed to find that Japan is only #22 on this list! Being half-Japanese, I’m going to have to get that number up in 2010. Translating the comic might help. Any of you readers know Japanese well enough to help me convert these strips to Japanese from English?

Anyway, wrapping this up before I have to split this post in two, thank you, thank you, thank you, to all you readers. If you’re reading this right now that means you’re one of the people that have made this webcomic so much fun for me to do. 2009′s going to be a hard year to beat, but at the rate JEFbot is growing, I think we have an amazing shot!