Open Thread: Webcomics You Might Enjoy
Over the holiday weekend, I went to ConVergence 2016 in Bloomington, a yearly science fiction convention. One of the panels I was on was “Web Comics”, during which we discussed many webcomics that panelists and audience members have enjoyed. As promised, here’s a list combining the handout by Kathryn Sullivan http://kathrynsullivan.com/ with those mentioned by other people that I remembered to write down. Descriptions I am copying from Ms. Sullivan will be marked by (KS).
Some of these strips may have Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content, and not every webcomic will appeal to every reader. Nor is this anywhere near an exhaustive list of good webcomics. If you don’t see your favorite, by all means comment and tell me about it.
Achewood http://www.achewood.com/index.php?date=10012001 by Chris Onstad is surrealist humor focusing on a small group of anthropomorphic animals, stuffed toys and robots living in the house of the never-seen Chris, in the community of Achewood. The most celebrated storyline in the series is “The Great Outdoor Fight” which is to an extent exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes has NSFW content.
Anna Galactic http://www.baldwinpage.com/annagalactic/2015/01/28/43/ by Christopher Baldwin. Anna and her friends investigate why their ship seems to be settling a planet rather than just refueling. Updates Monday, Wednesday, Friday. (KS)
Batgirl Inc. http://batgirlincorporated.tumblr.com/tagged/read%20batgirl%20inc by Max Eber & Yulyn Chen is a fan comic which teams up the various characters who have been Batgirl in the DC Comics as their own group.
Blindsprings http://www.blindsprings.com/comic/blindsprings-page-one by Kadi Fedoruk is about spirits and the politics of those attempting to control magic. Updated Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Breaking Cat News http://www.breakingcatnews.com/comic/everything-is-broken/ by Georgia Dunn is a news show where all the reporters are cats, with their own special take on what seems newsworthy.
Cucumber Quest http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-1/ by Gigi D.G. is a cute fantasy adventure comic starring bunny children. (Note that I have not read all the way through–check carefully for surprises before letting your kids on.)
Demon http://www.shigabooks.com/index.php?page=001 by Jason Shiga begins with Jimmy Yee attempting to commit suicide and failing repeatedly. Eventually he discovers that he didn’t fail–every time he dies, his spirit simply possesses the closest available living person. Somehow the Feds know about his ability even before he does, and now Jimmy is on the run with an escalating body count. NSFW.
Digger http://diggercomic.com/blog/2007/02/01/wombat1-gnorf/ by Ursula Vernon is for an older audience than her Dragonbreath series. The completed version won the Hugo Award and is the tale of a wandering wombat and the beings she encounters. The collected issues are available in paper. A wombat wandering a magical world. (KS)
Dinosaur Comics http://www.qwantz.com/index.php?comic=1 by Ryan North has the exact same images for (almost) every strip as a Tyrannosaurus Rex discusses philosophical questions with other dinosaurs while running amok. Often funny, sometimes makes you think.
The Firelight Isle https://www.paulduffield.co.uk/firelightisle/1 by Paul Duffield is a fantasy coming-of-age story about two childhood friends about to undergo the trials of adulthood on an island controlled by a mysterious religion. Done in “ribbons” that require scrolling down to see all of.
Forming http://jessemoynihan.com/?p=11 by Jesse Moynihan (one of the Adventure Time people) involves ancient astronaut “gods” and their effects on the civilizations of Earth. Some NSFW material.
A Girl and Her Fed http://agirlandherfed.com/1.1.html by K.B. Spangler is about a young woman who’s haunted by the ghost of Benjamin Franklin and the federal agent who has been assigned to watch her and has his own annoying invisible companion.
Girl Genius http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021104#.V3sALvkrLcs by Phil and Kaja Foglio is an alternate Earth story where mad scientists called “Sparks” have run amuck and made history unrecognizable. Agatha Clay discovers that she is actually Agatha Heterodyne, a powerful Spark and the heir to a near-mythical dynasty. Largely comedic, but with an epic story. Has won several Hugos and has multiple print collections.
Girls Next Door http://pika-la-cynique.deviantart.com/art/GirlsNextDoor-Introductions-73082145 by Pika la Cynique has Christine Daae (of Phantom of the Opera and Sarah of Labyrinth as college roommates, dealing with their stalkers and trying to get through finals. Irregular updates as it needs to be translated from French.
Gunnerkrigg Court http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1 by Tom Siddell concerns Antimony Carver, whose mother has recently died. Her rather distant father ships her off to the school of the title, which is decidedly weird, especially if you add in the magical forest across the bridge. Almost everyone has secrets, many of them dangerous. Note that the art improves drastically over the course of the series.
Hark! A Vagrant http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=1 by Kate Beaton is a humorous strip, mostly doing historical & literature jokes. Updates have become sporadic as Ms. Beaton has gotten paying gigs.
Homestuck http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6 by Andrew Hussie is a recently concluded epic fantasy that operates like a cross between a webcomic and a Flash game, using the writing style of an old-style computer adventure game. John Egbert and three of his friends are going to be playing a new virtual reality game, Sburb. Naturally, the game hides secrets that affect real worlds and has many plot twists that are massive spoilers.
How to Be a Werewolf http://www.howtobeawerewolf.com/comic/coming-february-3rd/ by Shawn Lenore is yes, about werewolves. It just started last year. Updated Tuesday and Thursday. (KS)
Hyperbole and a Half http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/10/god-of-cake.html by Allie is more of a heavily illustrated blog than anything else, often telling stories from Allie’s childhood.
JL8 http://limbero.org/jl8/1 by Yale Stewart is a fan comic depicting members of the Justice League as roughly eight-year-olds attending elementary school. Very irregular schedule.
Kill Six Billion Demons http://killsixbilliondemons.com/comic/kill-six-billion-demons-chapter-1/ by Demonaic starts with Allison about to have sex with her boyfriend when the room is invaded by “demons” that drag off the boyfriend while Allison has a “key” forced upon her that transports her to the world of Throne which is inhabited by demons, “angels” and other weirdness and must make her way without knowing anything about her new setting. NSFW.
A Lesson Is Learned but the Damage Is Irreversible http://www.alessonislearned.com/index.php?comic=1 by David Hellman and Dale Beran is a Dada-esque strip that takes advantage of “the infinite canvas” to have as much space as it needs to tell the day’s story, which is seldom directly linked to any other story.
Namesake http://namesakecomic.com/comic/the-journey-begins by Megan Lavey-Heaton & Isabelle Melançon follows Emma Crewe, who is a “Namesake”, a person who is expected to follow in the footsteps of a literary character, in her case Dorothy of Oz. She has no interest in being locked in the story, and is prepared to fight fate with the help of new friends she’s made and her little sister who develops the powers of a Writer.
Necropolis http://necropoliscomic.tumblr.com/post/118905492171/prologue by Jake Wyatt is a high fantasy story with some fine illustration work; it’s still relatively new so the full plot isn’t know, but there’s a war between kinds and a young woman who battles the undead.
O Human Star http://ohumanstar.com/comic/chapter-1-title-page/ by Blue Delliquanti begins with a robotics engineer having a dream of dying, only to awaken to it being true. He’s now in a robotic body that resembles his original appearance, and it’s fifteen years in the future when intelligent robots have won civil rights. Alastair is originally told his former lover Brendan arranged his “resurrection”, but Brendan denies this. Also how does Brendan have a teenage daughter that strongly resembles Alastair? I reviewed the first print volume, and a second is in the Kickstarter process.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn http://www.gocomics.com/phoebe-and-her-unicorn/2012/04/22 by Dana Simpson was formerly known as “Heavenly Nostrils.” A delightful story of a young girl who becomes friends with a unicorn. It’s now available in newspapers and past issues were collected into three books, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Unicorn on a Roll, and Unicorn vs. Goblins. Updated daily. (KS)
PS 238 http://ps238.nodwick.com/comic/12072006/ by Aaron Williams is an elementary school for metahumans hidden beneath a regular school. Amazon has both the collected and the individual issues available in paper, so trying to find the collected issues can be difficult. (I’ve found the term ‘paperback’ worked.) This one I recommend starting from the very beginning, as the setup for the school is very interesting. Updated weekly. (KS)
Questionable Content http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1 by J. Jacques is slice of life in a world where weird things happen but usually don’t get life-threatening. This is another one where the art drastically improves over time.
Rice Boy http://www.rice-boy.com/see/index.php?c=001 by Evan Dahm is a surreal fantasy about a young fellow who may or may not be the one who can fulfill a prophecy, but is curious enough to at least investigate what the prophecy is. Completed, and there are two other series set in the same world accessible from the website.
Spacetrawler http://spacetrawler.com/2010/01/01/spacetrawler-4/ by Christopher Baldwin is a comedic SF actioner about a group of Earth humans abducted by aliens who want to free an enslaved species. It’s currently on hiatus, but a sequel is scheduled to start soon. The original is collected in three print volumes, the first of which I reviewed on this blog.
Strong Female Protagonist http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-1/page-0/ by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag follows a young superhero who has come to question if “fighting crime” is the best use of her powers, and discards her costumed identity to explore other paths to help people.
Subnormality http://www.viruscomix.com/page324.html by Winston Rowntree is a “deconstruction” webcomic that looks at tropes and finds new ways to examine them. It’s an “infinite canvas” strip that takes as much space as it needs.
Unshelved http://www.unshelved.com/2002-2-16 by Gene Ambaun & Bill Barnes is a gag-a-day comic about the workers at a city library and their eccentric customers. Often has book recommendations.
Wapsi Square http://wapsisquare.com/comic/09092001/ by Paul Taylor is a “paranormal slice of life” comic originally about an archaeologist named Monica who discovers that she’s not crazy, the whole world is. It starts out as gag-a-day before the plot kicks in, and what a plot it is! The focus has shifted to another character and her adopted daughters as they try to blend into human society.
XKCD http://xkcd.com/1/ by Randall Munroe is full of math and science jokes. After some experiments at the beginning, it settles down to stick figure art, but many of the ideas are nifty, and if you like math and science jokes…
Freakangels and City of Reality came up during the panel, but are no longer reliably available on the internet.