Web Comics have been an amazing concept to me ever since I was in my late teens and really came across my first ones. I wouldn’t really class myself as ‘into’ comics. I enjoy the history of comics. I love hearing about what Marvel and DC characters have done over countless volumes. Me and my Dad managed to get together a pretty reasonable manga collection. But I’ve read surprisingly few. And I’m a pretty casual reader by a lot of standards. With all that said, I still have a massive crush on comics. Webcomics in particular. I have attempted to start web comics a bunch of times and even managed one for all of two months. To me they lowered the barrier to entry that the big comics had, the price. It’s a little haven of the internet where exceedingly hard working and passionate people developing wonderful ideas exist. They’re not all gems. But I’ve often lost sleep upon finding a new great web comic and not being able to stop clicking the next button. I’ve been known to writhe in a little bit of anguish when I get up to date with a great one.
That’s why I thought I’d write a blog showing off some of my favourites. I’m not saying they’re the best on the web (because that means different things to different people and the comparison is kind of weird y’know?). They’re also by no means my only favourites, but they are a few of the ones I check every day, excited for the next nugget of goodness. So! In no particular order here are:
5 Favourites: Web Comics
Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques
Questionable Content is a view in on the lives of a group of friends in a now-like alternate universe where there are also sentient AI’s and anthropomorphic computers. But the whole thing is wonderfully ‘normal’. It’s just a group of people with their own problems and histories trying to work out how to live happy lives. It ranges from innocent fart jokes all the way up to handling serious issues like mental health, sexuality and how an alternate form of intelligence would be treated when integrated with human society.
For me, QC has a special place. When me and my Dad were getting into comics, this was the one he sent me to read and we’d talk about it when we met up. Even more, it’s an example of how hard work can lead to so much improvement. The complexity of the comic, both in terms of art work and story are wildly different to what they were at the beginning of the comic and you can watch both evolve as the pages go by. It updates every day, unless Jeph has real world issues that prevent it, and it’s been a staple of my mornings for a two or three years. If you’re looking for something with a bit of depth, wonderful characters and relatively close to home this may be one for you!
Modest Medusa by Jake Richmond
Modest Medusa follows the life of Modest, a young gorgon who ended up living in the toilet of a man named Jake who’s in the midst of an upheaval in his life. Jake adopts Modest and together they try to lead normal lives until people from the land of Yeld, Modest’s homeland, begin to encroach in the normal world. A lovely mix of the father/daughter dynamic with Jake and Modest and the might and magic of the kingdom of Yeld (and all the complexities it introduced between the two) have made this a regular read of mine for many years.
I originally found Modest Medusa on The Drunk Duck, where I hosted my own web comic at the time. The drunk duck was a site where any web comic could be hosted and updated (the website has since become The Duck Webcomics). The quality on there ranges across the whole spectrum but there are a huge number of gems to be found if you’ve got time to look. Modest Medusa, like Questionable Content, is one of those comics which grows along with the skill of the creator. The story and art have come a long way since the first pages and it’s wonderful to see it come so far and continue to improve. Modest updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you’re looking for an adorable, laid back read which still manages to throw some hefty emotion and excitement at times then Modest might be what you’re after.
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Sidell
Gunnerkrigg Court drops you right in the middle of the story of Antimony, a young girl going to Year 7 at school in the mysterious court. What follows is years worth of alchemy, magic, technology and puberty. This story is wonderful. Mysteries introduced early on are peeled back layer by layer over scores of chapters. The characters and story are lovingly crafted and again you can follow the art changes from the beginning to the end. When I started reading Gunnerkrigg Court I found it incredibly hard to stop reading each and every night until I made it to the end. I’ve read it through twice and the second time was just as enjoyable because of the nuance and the foreshadowing that you can pick up on.
Gunnerkrigg Court is dramatic and mysterious and wonderful as well as being innocent and joyous in places. Am I gushing? I’m gushing right? It’s a really great read so I highly recommend it! It updates Monday, Wednesday and Fridays!
Strong Female Protagonist Written by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Drawn by Molly Ostertag
I found Strong Female Protagonist more recently, when I was doing a search for comics recommended for feminists. It follows the life of a young woman named Alison who has super strength and invulnerability, as she tries to live a normal life after publicly giving up the mantle of being a super hero. It touches on issues with great depth and it doesn’t try to hide the ambiguities involved with those issues behind jokes or with the typical cure-alls found in classic super hero media. In fact it goes head on with those concepts and shows how hard it is to come up with solutions to complex moral problems.
I think that depth is pretty fantastic. The characters are similarly complex and the whole thing is drawn in a consistent and expressive way. Check it out! Strong Female Protagonist updates Tuesdays and Fridays.
Minor Acts of Heroism by Adriana Ferguson and Kristen Van Dam
Minor Acts of Heroism is a more classic feeling super hero comic than Strong Female Protagonist, with the exception of having a much more diverse cast of characters backed up by a knowledge of anthropology that adds something intangibly real to them. It follows 3 young people, each having super hero adult counterparts, who become friends whilst dealing with their own extraordinary circumstances.
One of the creators, Adriana Ferguson, played the character Trelle the Elf in the popular Dungeons and Dragons 4E podcast Critical Hit (to be featured on the upcoming 5 Faves: Podcasts post). It was through this that I discovered this great comic. It’s beautifully drawn and the interactions between the characters are lovely. It’s just this very day come out of hiatus and will be back with updates in March! The perfect time to jump in and get up to speed then!
Special Mention: Princess Love Pon by Shauna J Grant
I said 5 right? I know, I know. But I couldn’t not give Princess Love Pon a mention. I was searching for Black Web Comics and this gem appeared to me. It is unabashedly a magic girl comic through and through. The power of love. The cutesy helper character. It’s all there in adorable pink tinted glory. But with a black girl as the main character! The comic is very young, so if the backlog on the other comics were intimidating this one might be a good choice. It’s lighthearted and low stress. And sometimes you just need that you know? Princess Love Pon is currently on a break as the next chapter comes together but I check back every day just in case.
So there you have it! Five of my favourite web comics and a little bit about why I think they’re so good. Check them out if any of those interest you and feel free to let me know of any web comics you think are great.