Please don’t ask how many hours I spent reading webcomics in 2015. Also, don’t ask how much time I’ll spend in 2016 keeping up with all the great webcomics I now read! I promise it’s all worth it. Here’s another roundup of awesome webcomics in case you have a few spare minutes. Or hours. Or, like, a whole day.
A helpful webcomics reading tip: many creators sell PDFs or hard copies for affordable prices. That can be an easier for long stories and lets you read without an internet connection. So if you get sucked in, but all the clicking gets tiring, check around their sites for buying options.
Bonnie N. Collide, Nine to Five by Monica Gallagher
Status: Ongoing, over 400 strips
What it’s about: “The story of Bonnie N. Collide, a roller-girl, and the adventures she has at a humdrum day job. Bonnie’s inability to separate her vibrant roller derby life from her normal working life means she gets to gleefully crash from one aspect of her life into another, seamlessly, and using the same amount of gusto. Oh, and one of her coworkers is a werewolf named Herb.”
Why I love it: Who could resist sweet romance, girl-power derby bonding, office hijinks, and the occasional werewolf humor? Plus, the people are all drawn so cute! Bonnie herself is exuberant and a steadfast friend. There are many queer characters, a significant character who’s a woman of color, and the hot derby girls aren’t all tiny. This is one of the feel-good comics I come back to for comfort, which is why I supported the first book on Kickstarter recently. PDFs make re-reading so easy!
Snow Daze by Leonardo Faierman and Marcus Kwame Anderson.
Status: Ongoing, about 75 pages
What it’s about: “Loosely based on Leo’s experiences shoveling snow as a teen in Queens NY, the story concerns enterprising teens of color in a strange suburban land, navigating the bridge between childhood and adulthood. Tales of race and class struggles, family, friendship, conflict, humor and more unfold against the snowy mid-nineties backdrop of the town of Oxenvale, a suburb which is quickly becoming more diverse. Part noir-tale, part silly adolescence, and part coming of age story, Snow Daze is a lavishly illustrated B&W urban pulp-fiction unlike anything else on the shelf.”
Why I love it: I dragged my heels in reading this. I thought “how interesting can a comic about snow shoveling be?” I’M SORRY! I WAS WRONG TO BE SKEPTICAL! It’s fascinating! Not the business of snow shoveling, but the micro-culture and the personalities and the deep personal energy that Faierman and Anderson bring out so clearly for their characters. I was riveted. I honestly don’t care whether this sounds interesting to you. You should read it anyway, to see how good storytelling is done.
Rock and Riot by CheriiArt
Status: Ongoing, about 100 pages
What it’s about: “Rock and Riot follows the tales of two opposing teenage gangs in the 1950s with an LGBTQ theme! Will the two teams set aside their differences to fight for what they have in common?”
Why I love it: I never knew I needed a diverse, queer, 50s high school comic, but I totally do. If you love anything about Grease, you have to read this. If you can’t stand Grease, you should read this, because it’s better. It’s body positive! People fall in love with little hearts in their eyes and cupid arrows! Super cute, all kinds of gender and sexual orientation diversity, just wonderful.
Metacarpolis by Erin Burt
Status: Ongoing, about 275 pages
What it’s about: “Metacarpolis is a comic I am doing! It is comedy and action with a touch of fantasy and sci-fi. I really detest plot summaries so I’m not going to do one!”
Why I love it: Since the creator can’t abide plot summaries, I’ll tell you that it starts when Maximilian Macallister is laid off from Doomcorps after seven years in data entry. (How can you not love a comic where a company called Doomcorps is a legitimate employer? Their logo is a SKULL, for crying out loud. And no one’s seen fit to investigate what’s going on in there?) Homeless, Maximilian ends up being attacked by a senile robot in an alley and moves in with the tinkerer girl who rescues him. And then, as they say, things start to get really strange. You need to read the creator’s commentary on this one, not just the comic itself. It’s often quite funny.
The Life and Times of Abigail Waller by Kevin Sorrell
Status: Ongoing, about 70 pages
What it’s about: Abigail is “[the] star of the series. Smart, polite, witty, optimistic – and sometimes a bit naive. The consummate working girl, Abigail generally finds herself the quieter, sarcastic straight woman against the craziness that surrounds her. A lover, not a fighter…” Her friend Tracy is “[the] fighter. Abby’s best friend and social chameleon, Tracy can schmooze high-powered CEOs one second and cut down trifling lowlifes the next. Everyone needs a goon to have their back when things get messy, and Tracy can be as grimy as they come.”
Why I love it: Because of Tracy. I know Abby’s name is in the title, but it’s Tracy’s antics that get me laughing. Granted, she would be nowhere without Abby to react to, so it’s good they’re a team. This webcomic is about life, love, hair, friendship, all the things women sometimes talk about and deal with. I’m glad Sorrell found a way to get this project out to the world even though a the web series version didn’t work out. I will buy a collection of this in a heartbeat if he ever publishes one. I know I’m not the target audience, but you don’t have to be, it’s a really fun comic.
Expecting to Fly by John Allison.
Status: Complete, 56 pages.
What it’s about: “Something awful has happened to Shelley, Ryan’s dad is ‘fun’ but probably not in a good way, and Tim seems to sail through everything unscathed. Together they’ll make sense of it.”
Why I love it: I know John Allison as a comics writer who loves the goofy and absurd. Here, he goes for the emotional, and he nails it. I can’t even. Mr. Allison, you should warn people that you’re a writer of great depth, and it’s not just all monsters and British wackiness! Love this comic, which I bought as 2 issues from Comixology. If you need something where characters genuinely SEE each other, this is for you.
Skin Horse by Shaenon K. Garrity and Jeffrey C. Wells with color by Pancha Diaz
Status: Ongoing, about a bazillion pages.
What it’s about: “Somewhere in this great nation is a top-secret government agency dedicated to aiding America’s nonhuman citizenry, but on a very tight budget.”
Why I love it: Because it’s so amazingly bizarre. The agency in question is staffed by a talking dog, a zombie soldier, and a fashion-obsessed psychologist who was formerly a decorated Army Captain. Their boss is a sentient swarm of bees. That’s just the tip of the iceberg with the strangeness here. (The psychologist is a transvestite but I don’t consider that strange, nor does the comic.) It’s like the X-Files crossed with Monty Python, with a healthy dose of civil service bureaucracy. The art isn’t super polished but it works.
Note: buying the first four volumes in PDF is only $35 for a metric ton of comics. So much, that I advise you spread out reading them instead of devouring as much as your eyeballs can hold like I did. Let the material breathe! It will be funnier that way.
And here are two webcomics I’ve already recommended in their book form. But if you haven’t picked them up, try them out as webcomics!
Band Vs Band Comix by Kathleen Jacques
Status: Ongoing, I’m not even counting how many pages (September 2015)
What it’s about: A “…retro-cartoon-inspired, queer, handlettering-obsessed comic series about rival girl-fronted rock bands…” (And here’s a handy page about the comic!)
Why I love it: It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and it took me a dozen pages or more to get the hang of it. The characters are so funny and the art is so cute that I couldn’t help but fall in love. The turbulent non-relationship between Honey Heart and Turpentine is adorable. The bands are both a riot in their own ways. Children of the 80s, especially, will eat this up.
The Less Than Extraordinary Adventures of TJ and Amal by E.K. Weaver
Status: Completed at 500 pages.
What it’s about: “In the span of a single day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, promptly gets disowned, goes on a bender… and wakes up the next morning to find TJ, a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant, frying eggs and singing Paul Simon in his kitchen. TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to drive all the way from Berkeley to Providence. As it happens, Amal promised his sister he’d be there for her graduation from Brown University. And TJ, well… TJ has his own reasons. The agreement is simple: Amal does the driving; TJ pays the way – but a 3500 mile journey leaves plenty of time for things to get complicated.”
Why I love it: SO MUCH CUTE. So much real, and about finding someone who completely accepts you. Road trip silliness. That feeling of being completely free, if only for a while. Very sexy, in that not safe for work way.
And those are some awesome webcomics to help you use up all that annoying free time! If you’ve also read and enjoyed any of these, please leave me a comment. It’s always fun to hear from another fan. Or recommend another webcomic I should read. Finally, if you enjoyed this post, I’d appreciate any sharing you could do to help others find it. These comics all deserve more readers!