|Amazon.com and Garry Trudeau Unveil Finale to The People's Doonesbury @ Amazon.com|
Interactive Comic Strip Captures the Imagination--and What's on the Minds--of Americans on the Internet
SEATTLE, Wa (May 18, 1998)--Bringing to a close a unique collaborative effort between a renowned artist and his public, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau today unveiled the final panel of the People's Doonesbury @ Amazon.com, the first-ever interactive Doonesbury comic strip created in real time on the Internet.
Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) launched the comic strip on May 4 by posting 10 of the 11 panels, drawn exclusively by Trudeau for Amazon.com, on its Web site (www.amazon.com). Over the last two weeks, Internet users have helped develop the strip, panel by panel, by competing to give voice to many of Doonesbury's best-loved characters. Trudeau himself has chosen the daily winners, giving him the first real opportunity in nearly 30 years of creating the strip to tap directly into the pulse of his readers.
"The People's Doonesbury @ Amazon.com proves that you don't have to be a professional cartoonist to be funny," said David Risher, Amazon.com Senior Vice President of Product Development. "So many of the entries were incredibly clever, rich in satire, and absolutely hilarious. Garry Trudeau had better watch out--he's got a lot of competition from Amazon.com's customers!"
According to Risher, one of the most fascinating aspects of the contest was how the thousands of daily contest entries reflected what was on the minds of the American public. In the Doonesbury tradition, the dialogue submissions throughout the contest closely paralleled hot topics and current issues in the news, ranging from Seinfeld, Nike, Microsoft, and Viagra to nuclear testing, human rights, cybersex, Kenneth Starr, and Monica Lewinsky.
In today's grand finale, Trudeau delivered the last word from the White House. The panel depicts Bill Clinton frustrated by his Internet searching restrictions. The dialogue reads, "Um...anyone know how to disable this filter?" "Sorry, sir--First Lady's orders." The finished strip can be viewed in its entirety at www.amazon.com/doonesbury.
Daily winners included both veteran Doonesbury fans and Doonesbury newbies. Those less familiar with the comic strip were tutored in Doonesbury lore by a comprehensive online primer that provided character profiles and past story lines. Most of the winners had entered the contest on more than one day, and some even submitted multiple ideas each day. Daily winners were located in New York, California, Maryland, Ohio, Illinois, and New Jersey.
The completed strip, along with the names of the daily winners, will be featured on a full page in USA Today on May 19 to celebrate the efforts of Trudeau and his nine talented coauthors. Daily winners will also receive a personally signed lithograph of the comic strip they helped create and an ultimate Doonesbury book collection from Amazon.com. In addition, the strip will remain posted on the Amazon.com Web site.
Christopher Miller from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the People's Doonesbury @ Amazon.com's Grand Prize winner. Randomly drawn from all the contest entries, Miller has won a trip for two to Seattle for a free 10-minute "buy all you can" online shopping spree from the desk of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos.
To thank and acknowledge Trudeau for his participation in the contest, Amazon.com will make a donation in his name to the nation's oldest and largest children's literacy organization, Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF). Additionally, all profits from the sale of Doonesbury books at Amazon.com between May 4 and May 18, 1998, will be donated to RIF, as will Trudeau's creator royalties from the sales of those books.
About Garry Trudeau
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Garry Trudeau first debuted Doonesbury in 1968. Currently, Doonesbury appears in 1,400 daily and Sunday newspapers in the U.S. and abroad. Trudeau's work has also been collected in more than 60 hardcover, trade paperback, and mass paperback editions, which have cumulatively sold more than 7 million copies worldwide. His newest book, The Bundled Doonesbury: A Pre-Millennial Anthology (which includes a CD-ROM featuring more than 9,000 strips), will be published by Andrews McMeel this fall.
About Reading Is Fundamental
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) motivates children to read for pleasure and learning. RIF enables educators, parents, and community volunteers to bring some of America's neediest children stimulating reading activities and challenges, with free new books to choose and keep. More than 240,000 RIF volunteers supply 3.5 million children with 11 million books annually at more than 17,000 locations in all 50 states. Since its founding in 1966, RIF has put more than 184 million books into the hands and homes of America's families.
Amazon.com, Inc., Earth's Biggest Bookstore, is the largest online retailer of books. Amazon.com offers a catalog of more than 3 million book, music, and other titles, plus easy-to-use search and browse features, e-mail services, personalized shopping services, secure Web-based credit card payment, and direct shipping to customers. Amazon.com has virtually unlimited online shelf space and offers customers a vast selection through an efficient search-and-retrieval interface, as well as streamlined ordering through 1-ClickSM technology. Amazon.com pioneered the concept of syndicated selling on the Internet and has more than 40,000 members in its Associates Program including AOL.com, Yahoo!, Netscape, Excite, the AltaVista Search Service, the @Home Network, the Prodigy Shopping Network, and iVillage.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, Amazon.com's limited operating history, the unpredictability of its future revenues, and risks associated with capacity constraints, management of growth, and new business opportunities. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1997 and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 1998, both filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Amazon.com, Earth's Biggest Bookstore, and 1-Click are service marks of Amazon.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks of their respective owners.
EDITOR'S NOTE: For story illustration, graphics of the entire, completed People's Doonesbury @ Amazon.com, as well as the contest logo, may be downloaded immediately from http://www.amazon.com/doonesbury-presskit.