TWICE, this month, I've had a journalist ask me when "Sheldon" went online, and I had to hedge my answer...'cause I honestly don't know. I had to tell the nice lady from Forbes it was "Fall of 1998...or, um, thereabouts", because I can't find any official answer in web archives.
So let's put the patented WISDOM OF CROWDS to use, and see if thousands of heads are smarter than one!
When did the first Sheldon strip appear online?
WHAT WE DO KNOW:
2.) It actually started out a year earlier -- somewhere in the Fall/Winter of 1998/99 -- while I was studying WWII cartoons at the University of Kent, Canterbury England.
3.) That student webpage, as far as I can remember, was "http://www.ukc.ac.uk/php/djk3", or perhaps "http://www.ukc.ac.uk/djk3". Kent, however, has long-since deleted that student page, and changed their own URL to "kent.ac.uk".
4.) If we can find *any* archived page from that student site, we'll know the start-date, since the "First Strip" link will exist in hand-coded html.
WHAT WE NEED TO FIND OUT:
1.) While archive.org captured the latter two sites in '99, it didn't capture the (obscure) student site of mine in late '98. Is there any web archive that was active in late '98 or early '99?
2.) Might there be a UK-based or university-based archive of student sites from that era?
3.) Is there even one (!) Sheldon reader who's been following the strip the entire time, and would have some personal record of when it first came online?
4.) Is there some other resource that the search-savvy among us might know?
Figuring out the start-date is so important to me, that I'd like to offer this up to the person who finds *the* definitive date: I'm offering ANY Sheldon Original Art in the archives, plus the entire 6-book Sheldon collection, plus a Sheldon t-shirt of your choosing, plus a personalized sketch of your favorite character! It's the least I can do, since you'd be doing me such a huge kindness.