Jane Wells: The ultimate understated internet celebrity who wants to earn a lifetime achievement award

by Jason Dearen, Washington Post

If the name of a TV show, online comic or podcast to you is actually Jane Wells, you’re not alone. You see, “Kimberly Akimbo” is just one of the names Jane started using back in 1990, when she and her brother Fred received a “Funniest Youtuber” profile on Google for children. The startup had correctly inferred the young Wells siblings weren’t in any way related to Jane’s 18-year-old brother Frank, a New York City teacher, but the answer only confirmed a peculiar fact.

And that weird fact is the origin of “Kimberly Akimbo,” as well as the inspiration for Jane’s upcoming creator of the year award at the Cartoon Network/New York Comic Con Best of New York nominations ceremony.

The TV show In An Anagram of “Wonderful”

“Kimberly Akimbo” may be the Youtuber moniker of some YouTube creators, but Jane’s series, a series of 10 single-panel video shorts released each year in four decades, was also an early form of online video. Jane was initially self-funded, launching with nine $100 sketches uploaded to amiga.com, an Apple app store precursor, using a Macintosh. Now, “Kimberly Akimbo” is owned by Emmy Award-winning animator Guillermo del Toro, a developer who collaborated with Jane on the environmental mythos featured in “The Strain.”

The Morph creature Morph is an anagram for “Wonderful” — a succinct title that was proposed by other Youtubers, but was chosen as the one that made the most sense to Jane, who quickly discovered the many titles that two anagrams would come up with. It’s a list, mind you, that suggests the use of the epithet “Awesome” to denote the happenings of self-reliant punsters. While “Amiga Show” isn’t a “Wonderful” name, it’s still a fitting entry on the list.

The etymology of the name “Wonderful” is even more elusive, though Jane admitted during a recent interview that she couldn’t find a common enough name to describe Youtubers. Sometimes Jane and her husband put an accent on the present tense with “www,” as on the intro to last year’s “Wonderful Live,” while other times the verb “wheres” carries no particular meaning in their point of view. Somehow.

So what’s an anagram for “Wonderful” anyway? The answer is … the A4 counter, a type of microcomic on Jane’s website.

Not much guidance there, but I can imagine Youtubers using asterisks for “@” and other punctuation in order to tell a longer story or slow things down as their clip was presented. That’s certainly true of the very sketchably named “The Wolvy Of Bekka Castle” which began as a crossover between “Star Wars” and “The Princess Bride,” for instance. And Jane’s “Shlomit Theory of Currencies” is one of the few options that could be called “greatly illuminating,” though not surprisingly it came about entirely as a joke.

We came up with four other possible possibilities that weren’t imagined by Jane:



Bantu Frogs

I like to think we made one of those too.

Jane Wells: Hello, I’m Jane Wells and my screen name is “Janey Yu.” Thank you so much for watching, and please be patient with my puns and the occasional broken link. “American Justice,” last week’s episode of “Kimberly Akimbo,” was written and directed by Samuel Joe — and you can read what it was about on [PDF]. Finally, there’s a Smoor Clore’s Cigarette Tax I want to avoid, so we’ll go with your advice …

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