Tuesday, January 13, 2015

BP's Guide to Webcomics

We are living in the golden age of webcomics. The last 5 to 10 years has seen a huge explosion of quality webcomics of all varieties becoming available on the web mostly for free. There is stuff aimed at teens, and stuff for adults. Stuff dripping testosterone, and stuff seeped in estrogen. There is light comedy and serious literature. There is fantasy, superheroes, science-fiction, romance, steampunk, erotica, mysteries, zombies, biography, every genre you can think of, and stuff that resolutely defies genre. I am thoroughly convinced that in coming decades, regular folk and literature professors alike will look back on this as time when the artistic flowering of America and other places often went through webcomics, much as we see the 30s and 40s as the golden age of comic books …

I really wish more people read more webcomics, so I'm trying to write up some basic notes on some of my favorites. There are two basic ways to read web-comics, you can keep up with them or you can binge. These create very different overall effects, and hybrid approaches are possible. I currently keep up with 10 comics, and come close to keeping up with a dozen or so more. When you keep up with a webcomic you read each page as it comes out, often once a week, or several times a week. Girl Genius, for example, puts out 1 page every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So as I read Girl Genius, it seems like a slowly evolving serial, of the politics and romances of mad scientists in a silly steampunkish world. Then I'd read a page of the next one on my list, or check Facebook, or do something else. Getting my literature a few minutes at a time, in-between sips of coffee and emails. Alternately, I once sat down an re-read a bunch of Girl Genius' archives all at once, reading hundreds, probably even thousands of pages, over the course of hours and days (in much the same rhythms that I would use for a novel or graphic novel). This way of reading brings plot and theme to the fore, and gives a much more “novel” like effect. But this approach doesn't work much for all webcomics, a short-form or gag-a-day webcomic like XKCD is meant to be read in very short bursts, with very little continuity from page to page (like a traditional newspaper comic). Also sometimes (like with Flaky Pastry or Templar, AZ), I'll forget about them for months at a time, and then mini-binge on everything that has happened in the last 6 months.

Short-form comics are heavily influenced by newspaper comic strips and often have little continuity. If you only occasionally read them you're fine, indeed, especially if they emphasize comedy as they often do, you may really love 1 page in 10, for a particular comic, and be kinda meh on a bunch of others, and that is an OK reaction to the style. Long-form comics are heavily influenced by comic books, and are usually telling long, elaborate, evolving stories slowly.

Below, I going to link and briefly summarize or comment on over a hundred webcomics that I have personally read (at least good chunks of their run). Generally, I have them ordered from my favorites to the ones I'm more lukewarm on within each genre, although promising ones that haven't put out many pages yet also go near the end of a genre. I'm a 41 year old trans-person with a Ph.D. and a weakness for fantasy/scifi, so my tastes may not be yours … There are plenty of superhero and male-aimed comics I don't read, for example.

Many of the more popular webcomics are available in multiple languages.
Also see my notes at the end about finding new webcomics ...

Best of the Best

XKCD http://xkcd.com/ - short-form comic by Randall Monroe. The art is simple and stick figure based. The writing is high-brow and emphasizes math and computer science humor. It's often brilliantly funny. These are comic strips destined to be printed out and posted on the doors of professors. Although the format is usually much like a newspaper comic, Monroe enjoys doing weird stunts that couldn't be done without the web, like comics that continually rescale, or that update in real-time, or that are highly interactive. There is a spin-off called “What If” that is more like a blog, very text based with occasional illustrations, it explores silly physics what if questions with great skill and humor, sorta a comedy-physics mash up. Updates several times a week, a bit irregularly, over 1000 pages in archive.
Girl Genius http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/ - Long-form steampunk, with comedy elements. Follows the adventures of a mad scientist lady in a world of mad scientists gone amok. By Kaja and Phil Foglio, who have been doing fan art since the 70s. It existed in print form first, but has been updating online since 2008. Won several awards. A good easy intro to long form webcomics. Updates M, W, F.
Redtail Dream http://www.minnasundberg.fi - Long-form modern fantasy, by Finnish artist Minna Sundberg. Completed. Ran 2009 to 2013, 556 pages total, available in English or Finnish, available in hardcover print too now. Gorgeous lush art. Story is about a guy and his dog that get sucked into a Finnish shamanism dream-world and has to quest within this dream-world to get people to wake up. Heavily influenced by the Kalevala. Very accessible. My only tattoo is partly an homage to this comic, so I really love it. After completing it, Sundberg started writing Stay Still, Stay Silent (below).
Homestuck http://www.mspaintadventures.com – by Andrew Hussie. This is the longest, most complex, most important webcomic on the net. It has been called “The Ulysses of webcomics.” Don't let that fool you, it is very silly, and extremely popular among teenagers. The art is low-fi and heavily influenced by 8-pixel games. The plot begins with a couple of teenagers accidentally destroying the world while screwing around on a video game, and proceeds to be a convoluted mess about secret bases on comets, virtual worlds, computer games, time loops, alternate realities, and the quest to reboot the universe. Actually there are also lots of alien teenager trolls and most of it is them fighting and romancing and socializing via text messaging. And evil pool and card playing aliens. And lots of different diagetic levels … and the aliens have 4 different kinds of romance, where humans have only one, sorta, er … it's just very complex OK? Honestly, I'm thousands and thousands of pages in and not caught up with the plot at the moment, which is on like Act 6, Act 6, Intermission 4 or something. Also there are huge reams of fan art by others devoted to it. If you see people cosplaying with silly horns, that's probably a Homestuck reference. Updates irregularly, but a LOT. The main page also links to some of Hussies', earlier, easier, shorter, but still good comics like Bard Quest, Problem Sleuth, and Jailbreak.

Transgender Themes or Artists

Misfile http://www.misfile.com/ - Story of an incompetent angel that misfiles a key file in heaven's archives, and high school boy Ash winds up living in a parallel world where he is in a female body and almost everyone thinks he has always been female. The long running popular story of his adventures while trying to stay sane and see if he can get changed back. Art is a little shaky but it updates 5 times a week! By Chris Hazelton, who also does 6-Gun Mage.
El Goonish Shive http://www.egscomics.com/ - A weird delightful comic. It slowly transitioned from short form to long form, and is set at a high school with issues of magic, alien technology, etc. Draws from lots of genres but manages to be largely about relationships anyway. Started in 2002 and still going strong. Lots of genderbending of many kinds. One of the main characters, Tedd, has gone from using alien technology for genderbending, to slowly beginning to admit that ze is in fact probably trans, thousands of pages into the run. The current major arc is about a collectable card tournament, so it can be very slice-of-lifey. The art and storytelling have both evolved considerably over the years, so try not to be put off by the very early stuff. ...The name is a reference to the artist Dan “the Goon” Shive.
Venus Envy http://www.venusenvycomic.com/ - Story of a high school transgirl and her friends trying to cope with life. Doesn't seem to be quite complete, and has only updated 2 pages in the last 2 years, but the nearly 1000 pages up are pretty decent.
Dead Winter http://deadwinter.cc/ -Story of a waitress/poet trying to survive the zombie apocalypse and her friends. The artist transitioned from Dave Shabet to Allison Shabet late in the run, but I had a deep soft spot for this comic even before I learned the artist was trans. Love the distinctive art style full of very blocky lines too …
Mock Girl - http://mockgirl.com/ - just re-read it, about a transgirl with an f-ed up life, funny and truthy in part, at least to me … ow the feels ...
Rain - http://rainlgbt.smackjeeves.com/ - story of a bunch of high school kids, main character is trans, but there's an ace, a genderfluid, a bi, a pan, a lesbian, a gay guy, a straight ally, plenty of adult allies and enemies, and yeah, it's a RAINbow … oh trans artist too .
Iothera http://iothera.com/ - occasionally NSFW comic with a trans main character. Set in an alternate history with bits of magic and sci-fi. Largely about college and the space program and balancing career and lovelife.
Skin Horse - http://skin-horse.com/ - comic about the govt's response to non-human intelligences, the main character is the human head of project Skin Horse and is an out crossdresser.
Validation (http://www.validationcomic.com/) - 20something transgirl main character, very slice of life
Trans-Girl Diaries http://transgirldiaries.com/ - short-form trans comedy
Assigned male - http://assignedmale.tumblr.com/ - short-form trans comedy about a young trans-girl, heavy on politics and philosophy, only 40 pages in
Transformation fantasies without a lot of serious thinking about transness – Can't really recommend these unless you share my weakness for them ...
The Wotch thewotch.com – silly modern fantasy about high school friends who get magic powers. But they use them to switch genders at least as often as they use them to fight evil. It's been running since 2002, but slowed down a lot for a while, and the art style and writing have changed a lot over the years. By Anne Onymous, Robin Ericson and Ian Samson.
Exiern http://www.exiern.com/ - a barbarian cursed to become his own image of what a woman is, and slowly adapting to the curse. Pretty well done for what it is ...
I Dream of a Jeanie Bottle - (http://jeaniebottle.com/ by CD Rudd),
MSF High (http://www.msfhigh.com/), Accidental Centaurs (http://www.accidentalcentaurs.com/), Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuukii (http://montrose.is/sgvy/), Spare Parts (http://www.sparepartscomics.com/ completed 2003-2008), Murry and Lewy (http://www.murryandlewy.com/ by Thomas Revor and Darin Brown)

Mostly Comedy

Something Positive - http://somethingpositive.net/ - by Randy Milholland – largely about the lives of 20something and 30something people but built around humor. Very dark humor. The anthropomorphic razor blade trying to talk the cartoonist into slitting his wrists is a re-occuring character – that kind of dark. I have read it for years though, so I like it.  Randy Milholland made a sketch of my wife once, that she sometimes uses for a web-avatar ...
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - http://www.smbc-comics.com/ Zach Weiner, short-form comedy in color. Hit and miss to my tastes, but it does often hit.
Homestar Runner - http://www.homestarrunner.com/ - early webcomic, pushing what webcomics can do. Started in 2000, was on hiatus from 2010-2014, but is updating again now. By Mike and Matt Chapman.
Piled Higher and Deeper - http://phdcomics.com/comics.php – short form gag-a-day about graduate school
Scenes from a Multiverse - http://amultiverse.com/ - Jonathan Rosenberg – comedy, sci-fi, jumps to a different world/dimension almost every strip. Misses my humor more often than not, but the art is good, and it does hit sometimes.
Dr. McNinja - http://drmcninja.com/ - not my favorite, but I know folks who swear by it. If you like Archer, you'll probably like this too. Modern fantasy with silly diseases, ninjas, pirates, outbreaks of lumberjackism, and lots of silliness
Girls With Slingslotshttp://www.girlswithslingshots.com/ by Danielle Corsetto, strip-style but long running. Follows a couple of ladies, and their singing cactus ...

Mostly Realistic / Romance / Slice of Life / or Uncategorizable

Questionable Content - http://questionablecontent.net/ long-form by Jeph Jacques. Mostly about a bunch of 20-somethings and their lives and romances and jobs and whatnot, (with occasional bits of sci-fi in the background). Lots of coffee houses, libraries, and bars and nerds, hipsters, and boozers. There is a fair bit of humor. The art is color, quality, and cartoony. Updates M, W, F - 2846 pages in, oh the main character is currently dating a translady, but that's a pretty new development not really a major theme.
Penny and Aggie - http://www.pennyandaggie.com/ - the story of two girls in high school who couldn't be more different, a popular girly girl, and a passionate cause-head, and their slowly evolving enemyship/friendship. Honestly, this strip is what got me into webcomics in the first place. It is immensely well written, I used to only read scifi/fantasy and this one is realistic fiction, but I still love it. It ran from 2007-2011 and is now completed. PG, with occasional PG-13. T. Campbell (who went on to do Guilded Age, which I haven't read but is popular), and Gisele Legace.
A note on Gisele Legace – I love Gisele Legace, every frickin' thing I've seen by her. She is heavily influence by Archie comics and Rumiko Takahashi, and puts out a bunch of different strips. She can be cute, sexy, serious, subtle, silly. She's now involved with Pixie Trix comics, and has some hand in most of their stuff ... (along with Dave Lumsdon, Shouri, T. Campbell, and a few others)
Lackadaisy - http://www.lackadaisycats.com/ - a story of Prohibition era gangsters in St. Louis, only told with anthropomorphic cats. Pages come out very slowly, like one a month since 2008, but are absolutely incredible when they do, total feasts for the eyes, full of richness complexity, and flapper style. By Tracy Butler.
Fragile - http://www.fragilestory.com/ - by Shouri. It's about a couple girls in high school, and photography, and trying to hide one's broken parts ...
The Devil's Panties - http://thedevilspanties.com/ Jennie Breeden – strip style, long running. Largely about a set of women friends. Lots of sexy and S&M themes, but still basically safe for work. More about the character's lives than comedy, but some comedy too.
Love Me Nice - http://www.lovemenicecomic.com// - this one defies genre and is quite well written but short so far. Seemingly it is about cartoons working in Hollywood in a Roger Rabbit-like world, but in actuality it is all about Hollywood and what it does to people's personal lives and the kinds of things people do and hide to try to survive in Hollywood. R rated. By Amanda Lefrenais.
Red String - http://redstringcomic.com/ by Gina Biggs, a manga style romance, now completed, it ran over 1000 pages, she also is one of the trio for Erstwhile (below), wrote Demon Aid (http://demonaidcomic.com/ short and completed), and writes Love Not Found (below), she also has a NSFW version of Riding Hood, and some NSFW extras for Red String.
Pictures of You - http://picturesofyou.smackjeeves.com/ - by Gibson Twist – Nostalgic and slice of life take on college years and beyond. Been running since 2007, and over 1000 pages deep. Writing and characters are pretty good.
Dumbing of Age - http://www.dumbingofage.com/ - By Dave Willis – about life in college with a fair bit of comedy. Willis is the author of several other web-comics in linked settings (Roomies, It's Walky, Joyce and Walky, and Shortpacked), they tend to re-use characters and ideas, but also get slowly better in art and storytelling. Dumbing of Age is the current one.
Riverside Extras - http://www.riversidecomics.co/ - hard boiled gangster stories set around the turn of the last century, about 200 pages in. Stylish art and writing.
Candi http://www.candicomics.com/ a long running short form comic about the life and romances of a pink haired college student named Candi. By Starline X Hodge – I haven't caught up with this in a while but it was a decent romance short-form.
Monsterkind - http://monsterkind.enenkay.com/ - about a social worker in city with monsters, but really very slice of lifeish.
Between Failures - http://betweenfailures.com/ - slice of life comic about folks working at the Megatainment chain store …
No Pink Ponies - http://nopinkponies.keenspot.com/ - about a lady that opens a comic shop and her romantic entanglements. by Remy “eisu” Mokhtar, he is also the illustrator for the next one.
Marry me - http://marryme.keenspot.com/ - a story about a guy who holds his best friends “marry me” sign at a pop star's concert while she goes to the bathroom, and the pop star picks him out of the crowd brings him onstage and accepts, hilariousness, and much well written seriousness ensue, written by Bobby Crosby, illustrated by Remy Eisu Mokhtar
Lavender Legend - http://lavenderlegend.com/ - a romantic adventure of a young noble going into hiding and her “loyal maid” ...
What Nonsense - http://whatnonsensecomic.com/ - difficult to categorize. It's a story of an overworked guy forced by his company to take an extended vacation in a guest house in the middle of nowhere. It would be about psychology except that the main characters are all anthropomorphic animals. Maybe it still is.
Out There - http://outthere.keenspot.com/ by R. C. Monroe, slice of life centering around a bar and a 30 something party girl. Largely romance and character driven.

Mostly Modern or Steampunky Fantasy

Gunnerkrieg Court http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/ - by Tom Siddell. The adventures of Annie, a girl going to a mysterious boarding school where people with fantastic powers abound. Great art, great stories. Coyote shows up a lot. Much alchemical imagery. I'm always caught up with this one.
Widdershins http://www.widdershinscomic.com/ - by Kate Ashwin. A series of fantasy stories, often with a Victorian feel around the town of Widdershins in a fictional setting, where that town is one of the few places that magic is common. It's only a couple a hundred pages in (started 2011) and has a strong chapter structure. I've liked Ashwin's earlier work Darken (below) too.
Sorcery 101 - http://www.sorcery101.net/ - by Kel McDonald, a very British take on a chain-smoking student sorcerer trying to navigate a world of vampires, werewolves, gangsters, and royals … it can be pretty dark.
Flaky Pastry - http://flakypastry.runningwithpencils.com/ - on the silly side, but I really like it. Main party includes a chaos elf princess warrior, and a goblin tinkerer lady. Updates weekly. by Felix Lavallee
Paranatural - http://www.paranatural.net/ - a kid learns that his town is full of ghosts and spirits and now he can see and interact with them too, interesting and distinctive art style, almost Crumb-like.
6-Gun Mage - http://www.6gunmage.com/ - by Chris Hazelton (of Misfile), a steampunky/old westy setting with just a bit of magic. Writing is strong, art is so-so, but comes out 3 a week in addition to Chris's 5 page-per-week comic.
Eerie Cuties, Magick Chicks, and Dangerously Chloehttp://www.eeriecuties.com/ , http://www.magickchicks.com/ and http://www.dangerouslychloe.com/ - PG-13 comedy modern fantasy webcomic about a high school aged characters by Pixie Trix comics. Eerie cuties is about a high school for monsters in hiding and Gisele Legace is the artist. Magick Chicks is a spin off about 3 witches, from that school given the assignment to infiltrate another high school suspected of paranormal ties. … Dangerously Chloe is a spin-off about a succubus named Chloe. Can you have a story about a succubus be PG-13? Yes if you try hard enough. These are guilty pleasures for me, but high quality and probably appeal to teens and tweens even more than they do to me.
Supernormal Step - http://supernormalstep.com/ - alternate world, with fantasy, sci-fi, heroes, conspiracies, a fighter cursed to turn into a stuffed bunny plushie whenever he is a dick, until he manages to do something nice again, vampires … hmm, ought to be a dumb mish-mash, but the art is good and it actually works somehow …
Skin Deep - http://www.skindeepcomic.com/ by Kory Bing – about gryphons, and sphinxes and nixies and satyrs and things disguising themselves as humans. Lots of queer themes. Well done. On hiatus, but over 400 pages in.
Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell - http://dcisgoingtohell.com/ - story about a regular guy that accidentally gave the next Dalai Lama brain damage, and has a huge amount of negative karma to pay off, and his minotaur landlord, and pet manticore, and goody-goody girlfriend, and some stoner angels, and the end of the world. Ran 2009-2013, but now completed, by Sophie Goldstein and Jenn Jordan.
Wapsi Square - http://wapsisquare.com/ - long-form modern fantasy about a lady who becomes entangled in the affairs of Sphinxes. A fair bit of Meso-American imagery. by Paul Taylor. I liked this one, why aren't I caught up?
Black Brick Road of Oz - http://www.blackbrickroadofoz.com/ - based on the Russian versions of the Oz stories, with a Russian artist. Absolutely beautiful. Very lush and distinctive. Plot is a bit slow though.
Phoenix Requiem - http://requiem.seraph-inn.com/ - a completed 800 p webcomic, from 2009. Victorian Fantasy involving a ghost and much more. Nice art and writing. By Sarah Ellerton.
Flipside - http://flipside.keenspot.com/ - by Brian Foulke, whimsical jester-gal and sexy sword fighting lady in a fantasy setting, PG-13 to R, long form with comic booky layouts.
Dreamland Chronicles - http://www.thedreamlandchronicles.com/ - distinctive computer generated art style, decent storytelling, quite popular. Largely about a Dreamworld, go figure. By Christian Sava.
Curia Regis - http://whatido.co.uk/ - set in a world much like Revolutionary France, with an art-style to match the setting.
Paradigm Shift - http://www.paradigmshiftmanga.com/ - quality werewolf story, but it hasn't updated in over a year.
Wilde Life - http://wildelifecomic.com/ - by Pascalle Lepas – promising story about a guy who flees to the sticks only to find out that Baba Yaga is his new landlady … only 62 page in though …
Demon Street - http://demonstreet.co/ - cool art style, surrealist fantasy.
All Night http://www.allnightcomic.com/, promising but only 43 page in …
Penny Blackfeather - http://www.pennyblackfeather.co.uk – A “regencypunk adventure, gothic but with more parrots” only 100 pages in, somewhat silly.
Agents of the Realm - http://www.agentsoftherealm.com/ - a magical girl story about college students …
Namesake - http://namesakecomic.com/ - main character can enter fantasy world linked to famous literature, Oz and Wonderland figure prominently …
Tove - http://www.tovecomic.com/ - by Severin Piehl. I guess there are spaceships so it's sci-fi, but a lot of it seems to happen in an alternate dimension of fate. About a girl being landed with a heavy fate. A very distinctive art style. Fairly silly.
Lighter than Heir - http://lighterthanheir.com/ - a story about a lady going through boot camp in a slightly fantastic world. Oh, and she can fly. But largely a military story. By Nalen
Pilli Adventures - http://pilli-adventure.com/  - Pilli is a Mexican girl who accidently bound her dead boyfriend's soul to a calavera doll, they they go on to fight lots of monsters from Mexican folklore. Somewhat chibi fantasy comic by Gustavo Duarte Yza, originally in Spanish.
Out of My Element - http://www.oomecomic.com/ - a steampunk world where the main character learns she has air elemental magic.
Shadowbinders - http://shadowbinders.com/ - a steampunk fantasy with heavy romance angles. Bit of a guilty pleasure for me.
Puck - http://www.puckcomics.com/ - ancient fairy of lore finds herself at low-ebb, eating chips while binge-watching TV … I've read a few of these but not a lot, not sure why not …
The Oswald Chronicles - http://www.theoswaldchronicles.com/ - urban fantasy about a mild mannered mouse-scribe, and the Fairies of New York City that he interacts with. It's been so long since I read it, that I can't remember much, but I did read a bunch of it once.

Mostly Fantasy

Unsounded - http://www.casualvillain.com/Unsounded/about – Epic fantasy about the daughter of the lord of thieves and an undead sorcerer trying to protect her. Lavish illustration, very well realized world, compelling plot, lots of characters. This will be a classic some day. PG 13.
No Scrying - http://www.noscrying.com/ - Josh Sortelli – a well written take on straight fantasy. The main characters are a paladin who is not an asshole or a moron, and an alchemist who is a bit na├»ve ...
Astral Aves - http://www.astralaves.com/ - a setting with creepy occultist magic, and a very distinctive art style. Has really grown on me. It's sorta goth, but not exactly any one thing but itself.
Harpy Gee - http://www.harpygee.com/ - story of an elf girl, finally managing to get away from home. The art is quite cutesy, but I really like it anyway somehow.
Rice Boy - http://www.rice-boy.com/ - by Evan Dahm – ran from 2006-2008, one of the first completed webcomics, already a classic, a surrealistic story in artsy style, reminiscent of Cerberus or Bone. Dahm continues to tell stories in this setting called Overside. The Order of Tales was completed in 2010 and several short stories are already completed. Vattu, is 600 pages in and still going. All are at the same website.
Dominic Deegan - Oracle for Hire - http://www.dominic-deegan.com/ - a completed comic that ran from 2002- 2013, 5 days a week, so it has thousands of pages. The art is a little primitive, but the writing is great. By Michael “Mookie” Terracciano. His current project Star Power, is a sci-fi/superhero comic that is not to my tastes.
Blindsprings - http://blindsprings.com/ - a princess from long ago returns to a world where the royal family is long gone and the spirits have been mistreated and become mostly dormant ...
Erstwhile - http://www.erstwhiletales.com/ - retellings of lesser known Brother Grimm faerie tales in webcomic form, by Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, and Elle Skinner
Darken - http://darkencomic.com/ - ran from 2003 to 2011, a very D&D based story about Gort, an asshole warrior who sold his soul to the devil, and various dark “allies” of his. Still really good though. It's kinda interesting to have a main character who isn't sympathetic at all, but to begin to care about the secondary characters caught up in his schemes.
Digger - http://diggercomic.com/ - epic fantasy about a wombat. Somewhat reminiscent of Bone. Completed, ran 2007-2011, and won the 2012 Hugo for Best Graphic Story.
Balderdash - http://www.balderdashcomic.com/ - about a girl trying to become a baker in a fantasy setting, more fairy tale than high fantasy, but neat art style, seems influenced by older European folk art and probably African art too.
Gastrophobia - http://www.gastrophobia.com/ story of a fierce amazon, and her tubby kid in an ancient Greek world. Very cartoony in style and heavy on the comedy. Surprisingly delightful though, and lots of references to warm the heart of over-educated classicists like me, while still emphasizing easy action and comedy.
Snow By Night - http://www.snowbynight.com/ - a colonial era fantasy, about a beautiful snow spirit, alchemists and thieves ...
Nodwick - http://comic.nodwick.com/ - a classic D&D comic strip, with plenty of comedy, following Nodwick, the Henchmen for a stereotypical party. Appeared in Dragon magazine for a long time, but made the jump to webcomics. Aaron Williams
Lintier - http://www.purnicellin.com/lintier/ - a story about very fashionable elves ...
No Rest for the Wicked - http://www.forthewicked.net/ - the Princess of the Pea, re-imagined as a heroine, and lots of other faery-tale re-interpretations …
Sins Venial - http://sincomics.com – silly low fi art, story about the sins and virtues taking anthropomorphic form, and possessing people down through the ages. Over 1000 pages, I occasionally binge catch up.
Solstoria - http://solstoria.net/ - cutesy straight fantasy about 100 pages in.
Skullkickers - http://comic.skullkickers.com/ - over the top, testosterone-laden fantasy by Jim Zub
Order of the Stick - http://www.giantitp.com – a well respected classic of RPG comedy, but I've never read it myself, so I can't really comment.

Mostly Sci-fi /Alternate History, etc.

Stand Still, Stay Silent - http://www.sssscomic.com/ - Minna Sundberg's current project, set mostly 100 years after the apocalypse in a world in which little bits of Finland and Scandinavia are all that is left, following a team sent to loot – I mean, do historical research, on exactly what happened to get everyone here … Gorgeous and well written, but slow ...
Templar, AZ - http://templaraz.com/ a long-form comic about a city in Arizona in an alternate history. About a struggling band and urban life. I really liked this one, and then lost track of it and haven't read the last year or so. Spike Malloy lists Ralph Bakshi and Banksy as influences on it, that should tell you something.
Derelict - http://derelictcomic.com/ - a neat, story about a lady with a boat surviving in a world where the alien invasion happened a while ago, and humans and other intelligent species are still in conflict on the ruins of our society.
Kiwi Blitz - http://www.kiwiblitz.com/ - a story of a girl and her Kiwi shaped mecha trying to fight crime while promoting the robot battle league … surprisingly good.
Love Not Found - http://www.lovenotfound.com/ - a sci-fi romance, on a planet where people don't touch anymore, and sex is all done via VR rigs. The cafeteria worker main character gets the kinky idea to try actually kissing someone … by Gina Biggs
Not a Villain - http://navcomic.com/ - story of the hacker who destroyed the world (perhaps accidentally) attempting to redeem herself largely via VR games … very popular. Art is weak but still compelling, and the writing is good.
Saint for Rent - http://www.saintforrent.com/ - by Ru Xu, a time travel story. Xu likes doing neat stuff with little bits of motion in mostly still comics …
Flight of the Binturong - http://www.flightofthebinturong.com/ - classic sci-fi spaceship story …
Casseopiea Quinn - http://www.cassiopeiaquinn.com/ - a light hearted story of a girl who steals spaceships, and the naval officers trying to track her down.
Trying Human - http://www.tryinghuman.com/ - a grey alien with a crush on a human he's abducted once too often … oh and lots of secrets slowing unfolding. Emy Bitner.
String Theory - http://www.stringtheorycomic.com/ a story of a mad scientist living in a near future with a very 50s conspiracy theory feel.
The End - http://www.endcomic.com/ - aliens crash a convention, it gets better from there ...
A girl and her fed - http://agirlandherfed.com/ by K. B. Spangler. Very much about politics. The girl is a liberal, the fed not so much, the super-intelligent libertarian koala, and the ghost of Ben Franklin? Yeah.
On the Shoulder of Giants http://fox-soap.com/, post-apocalypse short stories
Sfeer theory - http://sfeertheory.littlefoolery.com/index.html – drawn by Jayd Ait-Kaci, written by Alex Singer. I can't even describe this one.
Romantically Apocalyptic - http://romanticallyapocalyptic.com/0 – more art project than webcomic, elaborate multimedia post-apocalypse setting, with a few characters. I think of it as eye candy with almost no plot. A fair bit of very dark humor. Exists in many, many languages.
Opportunities - http://opportunitiesinspace.com/ - a story about would-be terrorists trying to disrupt trade negotiations between humans and alien corporations at an upscale hotel on earth ...

NSFW Stuff

Oglaf - http://oglaf.com/ - weekly, frequently X-rated, mostly comedy with a big slice of eroticism, gorgeous color art.
Menage a 3 - http://www.ma3comic.com/ Rated R – calls itself an HBO style rom-com. OK. I'll buy that. I keep up with this one every week. Did I mention that I like everything Gisele Legace has ever done? Yup this one too. It's a Pixie Trix comic as are it's spin-offs
Sticky Dilly Buns and Sandra on the Rocks - http://www.stickydillybuns.com/ and - http://www.sandraontherocks.com/ - spin offs from Menage a 3, Sticky Dilly Buns focuses on the life of a hot young gay guy, and Sandra on the Rocks focuses on an aspiring model. I like Menage a 3 better than it's spin-offs.
Curvy - http://www.c.urvy.org/ - fun, sexy, sci-fi web comic with heavy lesbian themes. Largely about the love affair of Fauna, a licorice lady from Candy world, and Anais a meat-folk lady from Boring World (what the other dimensions call our world).
Filthy Figments - http://filthyfigments.com/ - a fine metasite for rated X webcomics, all by women, in this case. 80ish titles, behind pay walls, haven't been a member in years, but I see several titles from artists I've mentioned elsewhere in this review.
Slipshine - http://orgymania.net/ - metasite with lots of rated X stuff, mostly behind pay walls. Several dozen lines, many by artists that I've already mentioned. Again haven't been a member in years, but it was good and probably still is.
Bloomin Faeries - http://www.bloomingfaeries.com/ - rated X short form comic in which faeries often mess with humans in humorous and sexy ways, doesn't hit my tastes in humor or eros as well as the other NSFW stuff though...


Spinnerette - http://www.spinnyverse.com/ - one of the few superhero web comics I read. Very like traditional comic book, (albeit with out lesbian main characters, and a two other characters with surreally large breasts, and … hmm lots of other silliness now that I think of it). Spinnerette is sorta an anti-spiderman …
Grrl Power - http://grrlpowercomic.com/ - comic shop girl gets superpowers, then joins a team, fighting ensues
Metacarpolis - http://www.metacarpolis.com/ - sorta a superhero story I guess, low-power, low-key, almost slice of life ...

Age of Clay, Scroll of Ivy, Holiday Wars, Knit Princess, Perry Bible Fellowship, Toilet Genie, Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenent (only sorta a webcomic, but good), Hemlock (fun Scandinavia one about a witch, folk art style)

How to Find Webcomics

My list – come on that's over 100 web comics, have you really read those already?

Hiveworks - http://www.thehiveworks.com/ - currently hosts 61 web-comics, most of which are pretty darn good. A great source for trying out new quality web comics, also partners with Pixie Trix who I also like

Top Web Comics - http://topwebcomics.com/ - this is a site that ranks web-comics based on votes. Some comics offer incentives to vote for them, and others don't, so it isn't entirely accurate. Homestuck doesn't participate at all for example. But a web comic that does show up probably is popular at the moment.

Check the links – go to a web-comic you like and see if there is a section on their home page for links. It used to be really common for web comics to plug each other this way, but is becoming less so. Sometimes you can still find great stuff this way though.

Other Companies – 910 CMX, Keenspot, Strawberry Comics, etc.

Older and Completed Web-comics – It is especially challenging to find older and completed comics, and those on hiatus. If they aren't putting out new pages they tend not to do well on voting sites, and generate fairly little advertising revenue. Similarly, an artist might try to down play their early work and focus on promoting their more recent work.

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