In the mid-1990s, I created a series of some of the earliest interactive web applications. With Blackmail you could send sardonic, vaguely threatening greeting cards to friends. This was years before spam, open mail relays, and code injection were serious concerns on the internet.

You lookin for something? A special something? Maybe you lookin to send somebody a message? Just tell me, what you need done. But, if anyone asks, I don’t know you, got it? I can get you in touch with a man who knows a man who knows how to do things. Certain things. I know just the kinda thing you’d be interested in.

Creating Blackmail involved combing archives for hundreds of old woodcuts and etching of terrible tortures, martyrdoms, medical procedures, and plague reports. I also collaged scores of old public-domain drawings into even more gruesome images. I had no idea if anyone else would appreciate my black humor, but to my surprise, they did.

These fun web applications were remarkably successful and endured online into the new millennium.

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