So it began sometime in 2001. After Emmett sent Jim links to a few popular webcomics he got the general idea, and then pointed out one obvious problem. Niether of them could draw. Emmett said it was no problem. The two of them would collaborate writing scripts for the comics and he'd hire an artist to do the artwork. He would also pay for the site design and hosting. A few things were decided up-front. The website would not be cluttered with ads. Comics would be released on a regular schedule - no excuses. The comic would fit comfortably on the typical monitor sizes of the day. At the time 800x600 was still pretty common, so they settled on making the comic 600x400 to allow some space for other site content. The comics would be credited to the team - kind of like how Beatles songs were credited to "Lennon–McCartney". The first few comics drew a distinction between the scripting and the artwork: "Blinktags by Emmett Plant and James Irwin, Art by Steven Preston". On the fifth release this was changed to "Blinktags by Emmet Plant, James Irwin, and Steven Preston". It was decided that initially one new comic would be released every week on Wednesday, and the first one appeared Wednesday July 4, 2001. It was soon decided that the team could produce two comics a week, so beginning Sunday July 22, 2001 releases were on Sundays and Wednesdays.
By August 2001 Steven chose to pursue other career opportunities and Billy Patton was hired for artwork, with the credit now reading "Blinktags by Emmett Plant, James Irwin, and Billy Patton". His first release was on Sunday September 9, 2001. The next release was scheduled for September 12, 2001.
It didn't feel right to release the originally scheduled comic the day after the September 11 attacks, so the team scrambled to get a new comic ready that was more sensitive to the circumstances. A script was written and Steven Preston came through with appropriate artwork. Due to time constraints it was released in pencil form and was never inked.
The polite term for it is "artistic differences". Whatever the reason, by October 2001 Emmett and Jim were spending more time arguing than collaborating. Shortly after the release of their twenty-fifth comic "Blue Swede" on Wednesday October 3, 2001 - thirteen weeks after they first launched - blinktags.com was shut down, presumably for good.
In 2003 Jim had too much time on his hands and decided he'd like to see Blinktags come back to the web. He contacted Emmett who was able to provide an arcive of the original website code. It turned out that someone was squatting on the domain blinktags.com, so blinktagscomic.com was registered instead. They considered that part of the friction between them may have been the pressure to deliver comics on schedule, even though they weren't getting any financial reward for the effort. They decided to ressurect the comic under some new conditions. Now that shared hosting was readily available and cheap Jim would bear the hosting cost and take care of all of the site programming and administration. Comic releases would be on a "when we feel like it" schedule. Stephanie Fox agreed to do the artwork for the reunion series, and the first installment went live Friday August 22, 2003. When we feel like it turned out to be Stephanie inking her second and last comic for the series released Monday February 16, 2004.
In August of 2004 Jim released a comic he drew with a mouse in a style that was an hommage to "The Family Circle drawn by Billy". This was followed by a comic created by photoshopping new dialog and a substitute panel into one of the original Steven Preston drawings. This was to be a segue into the "Blinktags Theater 3000" series which had occasional releases through August 2005.
In February 2010 Jim acknowledged that screens have gotten bigger by releasing the comic "Size Matters" with the new size and aspect ratio of 800x450. This comic continued the "Blinktags Theater 3000" theme, and continued to use the characters as drawn by Stephanie Fox. By this time the domain squatter had allowed blinktags.com to expire, so Jim re-acquired the domain. Now Blinktags! could be reached at blinktags.com, and blinktagscomic.com redirected to the same site.
In 2016 Jim came up with the idea of a new comic featuring a stick figure named "Lenny Stickmann". The stick figure had the advantage of being within his artistic abilities, so it was not necessary to hire an artist. At first he thought of building a new website with a new domain similar to Blinktags. Then the idea occurred to him that there was no reason why Blinktags! could not host both the Paul and John comics and the new Lenny Stickmann comics. The blinktags domain had enough time to be re-established, so blinktagscomic.com was quietly dropped.
Starting Thursday January 7, 2016 Comics began appearing on Blinktags! with the credit "The Adventures of Lenny Stickmann by James Irwin". Each release is a single panel, generally released as one panel per day starting Monday or Tuesday. Subsequent panels are released during the week making up a single series for the week - basically equivalent to a comic strip as traditionally released daily in a newspaper. A series is typically three to five panels, although some have stretched to six and at least one weekly series consisted of ony one panel. Some panels stand alone like a New Yorker or Family Circus cartoon, but most are intended to be read as part of a series. As with the original Blinktags featuring Paul and John, Jim is comitted to delivering one complete Lenny series every week, even if nobody's reading them.
Lenny Stickmann is not intended to mark an end to the Paul and John comic, it's just another comic to expand the Blinktags! franchise. There are many more stories to tell in the Paul and John universe, but it will require a talented artist to visualize them. Until such an artist joins the team (or more of their stories can be told using Photoshop trickery) Paul and John are on another indefinite hiatus.
This may be how it happened, it may be how I remember it, I may have made it all up, or it may be some combination of all of these.