And the comic was already the least of their endeavors.
In 2004, they'd held the first-ever Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle and drew about 3300 people.
On the blackboard, Krahulik drew a smiling, unassuming man, and labeled him "Normal Person." Then he drew a plus sign next to the man's face.
The audience was already tittering with excited recognition.
One September evening in 2005, I sat in a packed MIT lecture hall and watched as Mike Krahulik drew the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory on a blackboard.
The Theory was one of the things for which Krahulik and his partner, humorist Jerry Holkins, first became famous, back in 2004 — just around the same time that their Web comic, Penny Arcade, was blossoming into a community and a convention and a movement.
Tycho and Gabe, as their readers knew them, weren't game developers or game journalists or the kind of people who held press conferences. And even as Penny Arcade grew in popularity and influence, they held on to that humble identity as just two guys telling jokes. Krahulik and Holkins's opinions were plastered all over gaming blogs and news feeds.
They could make or break industry sales by drawing a picture of a video-game character in their comic.
The comic's forums quickly grew into one of the most popular spaces for gamers online.