LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY
In 1997, Darren Bleuel was told to shut up complaining about the comics in the Daily Californian and do something about it himself. Twenty one years later, “Nukees,” a comic strip about U.C. Berkeley’s nuclear engineering department, is approaching its three thousandth strip. It’s now older than most undergraduates. Whether you’re a long-time reader or, more likely, have never heard of it before, come hear stories about the long history of the comic strip and the department it parodies. Relive the launch onto an Internet which had just implemented the <table> tag, the badly-timed rise and fall of Keenspot, Dr. Bleuel’s fizzled webcomics publishing empire, and forays into politics, mythology, fourth wall shredding, and so, so many robots. Which stories were true (hint: the length of time it took Dr. Bleuel to graduate)? Which were fantasy (hint: the giant robot ant)? What’s in store for the future (hint: the inevitable heat death of the universe)?
Darren "Gav" Bleuel is the author and creator of Nukees, as well as a founder and former co-CEO of Keenspot. He also works as a postdoctoral physicist* at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.** As unique-looking as any cartoon character, with hair dyed a striking bright blue, he has had cameos (called Gavspottings) in a number of webcomics, including Schlock Mercenary, Sluggy Freelance, Clan of the Cats, Goats, and El Goonish Shive.
* Alternative fact #1: he is actually a staff physicist
** Alternative fact #2: at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Final fact: Dr. Bleuel does not know how to update Wikipedia in a way that someone won’t immediately change it back.