11 Webcomics you should read, and why I love them

I was talking to my friend Mandalin tonight and she provided the inspiration to me to share some of my favorite webcomics with you.

However, since I read about 40 webcomics on regular basis this would be a very long list. So I’ve decided to cut it down to the 11 that I have been reading with the most devotion but in no particular order.

Dresden Codak by Aaron Diaz

-An excellent sci-fi (ish?) webcomic. Aaron Diaz does a very good job of making this comic extremely engaging, both in illustration and content. A former Art, Anthropology, Computer Science and Physics major, he’s very good at knowing a) what he’s talking about science-wise in his comic, b) making you want to know it, and c) making it HILARIOUS when you do know (this strip is a fine example). He updates more sporadically than many other webcomics, but when he does update, it’s well worth it.

Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

-Kate Beaton has a collection of her comics as a book entitled “Never Learn Anything From History”, which really does her work a disservice. Her “claim to fame” as it were, in the semi-obscure world of webcomics, are her extremely clever, usually irreverent, always funny History Comics. She has an exceptional knack for finding bits of history that one would not normally imagine as funny (Gettysburg, for instance) or the bits that are already kind of funny (like Diogenes). Basically, everything she touches is golden and you should absolutely start reading her.

Wondermark by David Malki !

-Wondermark is one of the more unique webcomics I’ve encountered in my time and that is due largely to how it is created. To create a Wondermark strip, David Malki takes illustrations from old books (like, 18th & 19th century) scans them and assembles pieces from multiple ilustrations into scenes with dialogue. The result is both attractive and hilarious, as the dialogue is often absurd and the fact that it is coming from 19th century clad characters makes it all the better (for example). Mr. Malki ! also does a podcast entitled Tweet Me Harder and has written articles on webcomics. He’s a very smart man, and everything with his name on it is well worth inspecting.

A Softer World by Joey Comeau and Emily Horne

-A Softer World was one of the first webcomics I ever started reading. I was living at my parents’ house and we still only had dial-up internet, so it took a good minute for each page to load. But as the pictures slowly appeared on screen, and the text sharpened in focus, it was worth the wait. David Malki ! once described A Softer World as “Prose poetry set to photographs”, a description that I suppose is accurate. However, I tend to not be a fan of poetry, and I’m a huge fan of A Softer World. Emily Horne takes pictures and Joey Comeau writes the text. The text is often dark, or lonely, or awkward. A Softer World approaches the aspects of relationships that aren’t Unicorns and Rainbows, but the parts that are “where do I put my hands?” or “I’m sorry, that was an accident.” And, while this isn’t about sex, this is still one of my favorite strips ever.

Pictures For Sad Children by John Campbell

-I encourage you to go to the beginning of the archive and read the first storyline. It is about Paul who is a ghost. That being said, I fucking love Pictures For Sad Children. John Campbell is, without a doubt, the reason that I draw comics today. PFSC is, as you might expect, incredibly negative. However, it is negative in what is possibly the most adorable way, and speaks to my (what some might call frustratingly) determined pessimism. The art is almost absurdly simplistic (barely more than stick figures), but the amount of emotion and humanity that is conveyed through these characters is truly amazing. I have a very soft spot for this particular comic, though it has very little movement at all and does a terrible job of illustrating what I’ve just praised him for.

xkcd by Randall Munroe

-xkcd is the 3rd webcomic I ever read and I was amazed. The illustration is the simplest out of all of the comics on this list, with the characters being only stick figures. However, what is shocking about this comic is how impressive the anatomy of these stick figures is. You can tell when they’re looking in one direction or another, or even just the upper to lower leg proportions. But the novelty of surprisingly anatomically-realistic stick figures wears off. What doesn’t fade, however, is the brilliance with which Randall Munroe can (and does) approach every subject. Physics, Mathematics, TV, Literature, romanticism, computer science, dick jokes, etc. He does it all, and he does it WELL. xkcd is without a doubt one of the most consistently funny sites on the internet, and it would be a loss to you if you never read it.

Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

– Girls With Slingshots is best described by the Author when she says it’s about “two girls, a bar, and a talking cactus”. GWS is about the adventures of Hazel and Jamie and their friends (the details surrounding the talking cactus are best discovered on your own). These adventures often involve swearing, usually involve drinking, and almost always results in something worth a chuckle. Danielle Corsetto has done a fantastic job of creating characters that you care about, and whose problems you care about, without making it into a soap opera (I’m looking at you, Questionable Content). I identify a great deal with Hazel, and often wish that we could go drinking together, but sadly, that will never happen. I should also take the time to say that in the few interactions with Ms. Corsetto that I have had over the internet (via e-mail and twitter) she has been extremely friendly.

Family Man by Dylan Meconis

-Family Man is the second graphic novel that Dylan Meconis has published online. The first was entitled Bite Me, involves vampires during the French Revolution and is both clever and funny (for example). Family Man is set in the mid-late 18th Century in the part of Europe that will become known as Germany, and is the story of a young scholar named Luther Levy. Luther is the son of a Jewish father and a Christian mother and was raised Christian (Something I can identify with). However, while at university, Luther “loses” his faith (Something I can also identify with) due, in part, to his study of Philosophy (it got a little surreal for me at this point). After this, he feels increasingly alienated from all sides of his being (illustrated here)… And I’m drawing dangerously close to just giving you the notes for the whole thing. But you should read it for yourself.  It’s brilliant. Dylan Meconis does incredible amounts of research for this comic and the illustrations are beautiful. If you don’t mind longer stories, and only getting the next snippet once a week, I STRONGLY recommend that you read this.

Dinosaur Comics by Ryan North

-Dinosaur comics is made up of six panels of varying size, and every comic uses the same panels. Comic 1 has exactly the same artwork as comic 1715 and that’s what’s so fun about it. The 3 main characters are T-Rex, Dromiceiomimus and Utahraptor (God and the Devil also make guest appearances from time to time). Since the artwork never changes, the humor and  entertainment comes from the conversations had between the three dinosaurs and the distinct personalities they have. This does, however, mean that the comic can get a little text heavy, so, if you’re not in the mood for a lot of reading, don’t read it. But come back later and you will almost certainly disturb someone with your loud laughs. There are also very rarely story arcs, so you can just jump in wherever.

Scary Go Round by John Allison

-Scary Go Round is a comic that I was told about shortly after I began reading webcomics. But I didn’t start reading it seriously until about two years ago, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long, because it’s absolutely brilliant. Drawn and set in Britain, Scary Go Round involves adventures featuring mad scientists, leprechauns, demon bears, deadly spies, sandwich shops, zombies, and an abundance of other fanciful creatures. Summed up: Scary Go Round is what the more whimsical among us wish our lives were like. John Allison has a very charming style of illustration and, if you like it, he sells postcards that you can purchase through custom request. He recently ended the Scary Go Round storyline, and began a new one entitled Bad Machinery, which has the same feel and, I think, is just as good. (It should be noted that panel 3 is my favorite description of smoking)

Cat and Girl by Dorothy Gambrell

-Cat and Girl is to modern existential angst what Leave it to Beaver was for idyllic post-war life in America. Or, so I would imagine, I’ve never actually seen Leave it to Beaver. Regardless, Cat and Girl is one of the only comics I’ve ever read that discusses issues of class and gender in such a direct, yet wry way. Dorothy Gambrell does a very good job of taking slices of modern society and framing them in such a way that you’re not sure whether to laugh or start drinking. This has long been an argument of mine on why I don’t give credit to hybrid owners and why I don’t feel guilty for not buying organic.

If y’all like this list, I may come out with another one in the future about new comics that I’ve discovered and started reading. But I don’t know. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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