When I boot up my PC in the morning, one of the first things I do is go and read a selection of online comics I’ve came to know about during all my years of surfing on the web. Some of them I stopped reading because they got boring or stopped updating, some I still read every day after more than five years. The only thing that beats that kind of loyalty is Kingdom of Loathing, a text-based browser game I’ve been playing almost every day since 2007. Most of the comics are meant to be short, humorous little things, but a few have an actual storyline. They deal with a wide array of topics like video games, movies, daily observations and whatnot. This post is meant to showcase a few of these little treasures so that you too might bask in their magnificence.
Surviving the World. By far my favourite ‘comic’, but a bit of an unusual one. Dante Shepherd (a pseudonym) writes funny, thought-provoking or wacky texts (or graphs) on a chalkboard and takes a picture of it with him posing next to it in an appropriate pose. That’s kind of it. The strength lies in what he writes down, of course, and since the comic updates almost daily, it’s rather impressive how he keeps coming up with new stuff. Shepherd is a professor in chemical engineering, so there’s some science-y and teacher stuff on it from time to time, but usually it makes you chuckle. Or think. He also became a dad a few years back, which provides a huge source of writing material. His oldest kid, nicknamed Cannonball, is probably as famous as Dante himself by now and makes a cameo now and then. His teaching assistant, a dog, shows up every once in a while.
Indexed. A bit similar to Surviving the World as it’s just a picture every time. Jessica Hagy makes Venn-diagrams and other kinds of graphs with just a few words on it to often humorous or sometimes thought-provoking effect. Subjects are as variable as life itself so it never gets boring. She also published “the Art of War Visualized” which has been on my wish list for quite some time.
Girls With Slingshots. The comic has actually ended its run already, but the images are being reuploaded every day with updated colouring. It follows the lives of Hazel and her friends. Danielle Corsetto, the artist, deals with a lot of sexual things, and you can regularly see a dildo or BDSM joke in there as well as a talking cactus. It’s an interesting story overall, so you might want to start at the very beginning and catch up.
Least I Could Do. Another one of my favourites, Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza bring the story of Rayne, an avatar for Ryan’s own thoughts about things. So it’s often advised to stay clear from their comment section as it does get political once in a while. But usually it just brings another story like Girls With Slingshots about the daily lives of a group of people and Rayne’s exploits and often sexually tinted jokes. Issa, Urchin, and especially Julie, all of them are great characters to combat (or help with) Rayne’s wild ideas. Every Sunday there’s a “Beginnings” special about a kid Rayne and his shenanigans, which is continuously the best thing I read in any of my web comics. Once in a while, they also picture their adventures on Comic Cons and the like, often leading to hilarity.
Darths & Droids. By the same creators of DM of the Rings, it’s a comic where the corresponding movies are reworked into a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. They use movie screenshots with superimposed text that only distantly follows the original plot. There’s also some exposition on the players and their daily doings, but the focus is using D&D tropes and wackiness in a Star Wars (or LotR) setting. They’re almost at the end of “Return of the Jedi” by now, so you have a lot of material to read up on since they started with “The Phantom Menace”.
Petty’s Nuzlocke Challenges, LeafGreen (finished) and HeartGold (ongoing, but with very little updates). In case you don’t know, a Nuzlocke challenge is where you play Pokemon with only two rules: you can only catch the first Pokemon in a new area, and when a Pokemon faints, it’s considered dead and must be released or stored and never be used again. This gives for great writing material and I think it works best in comic form, like Petty (and others) has done. Petty has some really great extra story lines of her own woven into the game’s original narrative and both runs have a fair share of heart breaking moments. I’ll admit, I cried a few times when Petty lost someone. The Pokemon have their own voices, friendships and personalities as well, making for an excellent tale. Another one I greatly enjoy is Myths of Unova, which is by another artist running a Nuzlocke in Pokemon White.
Applegeeks. Unfortunately the last update of this was in 2010, but I remember it as the finest comic I read before I found about the others on this list. Also unfortunately, it’s been so long that I don’t remember a whole lot of it. There’s the usual short funny one shots, but it also had a genuine story arc about a guy who built an android. It had drama, it had humor, it had a lot of things, and I wanted so much more of it. I have no idea if the artists have started a new project, googling them yielded no results. This comic will always stay in my memory as exceptionally outstanding with an abrupt end.
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. He’s a doctor. He’s a ninja. I’m a bit on the fence about this once, since there’s a LOT of earlier works I haven’t read and to me at least, it’s a bit difficult to follow the overall story due to sometimes slow pacing. It’s the same issue I had with Looking For Group (by the same guys of Least I Could Do) which is also a fine comic in its own right, but the time between a new comic and an actual important event is rather long, so that by the time something happens, I’ve forgotten about half the cast or events that happened prior. Dr. McNinja suffers less from this, since it’s a smaller cast and updates slightly more, and I think it’s almost at an end. Oh, and there’s a gorilla who’s a registered nurse, a Velociraptor named Yoshi and there’s a clone of Benjamin Franklin running around. So it’s got that going for it too.
Scandinavia and the World. A comic that was recommended to me by the people I studied with in Sweden. It’s a comic where countries are represented by characters with their own characterization. USA is obviously big and boisterous while Finland is a bit of psychopath. The creator usually depicts Scandinavian traditions, history or relations with other countries in a humoristic way, but you definitely learn something from it too, so it’s not something you have to be Scandinavian to enjoy.
Hi, I’m Liz. It’s cute, it’s cuddly, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Liz Climo is a character artist for “The Simpsons” but has brought out a few books with her drawings you can read on this page. You might have heard about her already, she got pretty big.
The Oatmeal. You probably know him. His words are like his drawing style, weird, a bit crude and filthy, but absolutely awesome and funny. Sometimes, you even learn something, like how Thomas Edison was a giant douche or Gene Roddenberry was a genuine hero. If it wasn’t for The Oatmeal’s artwork, I would’ve never backed “Exploding Kittens” and “Bears vs. Babies” on Kickstarter.
Wumo. Used to be WulffMorgenthaler, but it’s a bit more manageable to type now. Wulff and the other guy are the creators of what used to be almost daily comics about everything and nothing, much like your average other web comic though it can get a little… odd. But it’s funny, it has a cool style and is definitely worth checking out.
XKCD.com. I mean… Do I have to tell anyone about this guy? I used to follow SMBC too, but I started to hate their style, reuse of panels and their lengthy, existential and sometimes nonsensical brabble. XKCD 4 life, yo.
Cyanide and Happiness. Probably needs no introduction either. It’s mostly dark and gallows humour, so definitely not for everyone, but just my cup of tea.
Wizard of Id. Hosted on the same site as the famous Dilbert comics, Wizard of Id is about the kingdom of Id, its horribly selfish king, a clumsy wizard, a bumbling knight trying to protect the kingdom from the Huns, a prisoner, his guards and a perpetually drunk court jester. Short and sweetness to start your day with.
Space Avalanche. A very distinctive style, the artist brings a whole lot of themes in the works, usually involving some sort of twist in the story. Unfortunately, it hasn’t updated in ages.
Perry Bible Fellowship. Similar to Space Avalanche, twists, almost no updates anymore, but incredibly hilarious. I think I almost pissed my pants once because of one.
Then there’s a few comics about video games, usually one shot observations about a particular aspect of a game. Since they are alike, I’ll just list them with some additional commentary.
VG Cats. Updates so irregularly it’s actually a joke in their title bar.
Awkward Zombie. You can usually tell what game Katie Tiedrich is playing at the moment by the comic she makes. Probably my favourite among this video game comic list.
Penny Arcade. They have a whole convention of their own, you know them, right?
Nerd Rage. Mostly video games, but there’s plenty of other nerdiness in there too. Tends to focus on handhold consoles.
Ctrl+Alt+Del. They have some periods where they post only the Starcaster Chronicles which I don’t really care about (for the same reasons I stopped with Looking For Group), but other than that, it’s pretty great, especially their Console War comics.
Comics come and go. Some just stop being of personal interesting, some stop because the artist doesn’t have the time or drive for it anymore. Like professional YouTubers, web comics have become more of a legit art form, something noteworthy and even a launch pad for future careers. These examples are the ones I know and love, but there’s very probably many more out there with equal quality. Share them (with proper references), support them through Patreon if possible if you’re a fan. They deserve it. Because when you create something, it’s more fun when the world gets to see it.
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