Digital comics + magic = happy fangirl. Especially when I can’t sleep, because unlike traditional comics, you can read digital comics in the dark! Here’s a list of super captivating digital comics about magic and fantasy worlds. Happy reading!
These comics are available from various sources and I’ll tell you how to get them: directly from creators, from independent digital comics shops, or from Amazon-owned site/app Comixology. (If you don’t have an account yet with Comixology, you can sign up for Comixology here through my affiliate link, and I get a little store credit. That buys more comics so I can recommend more to you! We all win!)
Dash by Dave Ebersole, with art by Delia Gable.
What it’s about: “‘The Maltese Falcon’ meets ‘The Mummy’ meets ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ through the eyes of an openly gay private detective in 1940.”
Why I love it: The hard-boiled P.I. character is a real man. This may be a magic-infused mystery, but it’s also a human drama, centered on love and loss – with the complication that his sex life is illegal. Dash’s secretary is also very real, so funny and sweet. The art uses rich colors and an interesting texture. It has a different look from most comics I’ve seen, in a good way! It’s a little pricier than many single digital comics, but it’s worth it.
Offset by Delvin Howell, with art by Tristan Roach, colors by Jenny Chiu and Ludwig Olimba, and letters by Jeremy Marshall.
What it’s about: “The Caribbean island of Bimshire became a dangerous place for Kyle Harding after his mother died. Bus stops glow. Flute music haunts the air. And the very shadows seem to stalk him. Kyle only finds comfort in the sugarcane his mother left behind. But when the shadows come for his life, Kyle begins to wonder if the cane would be enough to protect him and his family.”
Why I love it: The artists on this book do a great job with all three main elements: human emotions, magic, and action scenes. It’s a great mysterious start to a series and leaves you on a perfect cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to a second issue, so fingers crossed the team is able to get that out in 2016.
Favour by Gisele Jobateh.
What it’s about: “A grouchy cleric has the misfortune of being bound to a god of war.”
Why I love it: The best part of this comic is the dialogue, the conversation between the healer cleric and the god. It’s honest, a heart in pain crying out. Just trying to make sense of the world, and getting answers. Nice clear art and complementary color scheme too.
Gates of Midnight by D Lynn Smith, developed with Barbara Hambly, with art by Amelia Woo, colors by Mirana Reveier, and letters by Nikki Foxrobot.
What it’s about: “Raven Alice Moon’s days as a combat medic in Afghanistan are behind her. But New York is harboring a terrifying secret that will have her facing an enemy unlike any she’s faced before.”
Why I love it: Raven is really struggling. PTSD, losing her father, finding herself a new life after serving in the military. The story isn’t about that, but it informs her reactions in a way that makes the action more interesting than just people whacking monsters. She’s tough and angry sometimes, and small and lost sometimes, and the art conveys that perfectly.
The sepia with splashes of color is perfect for this urban story, the dark tone, the incursions of magic into reality. The varied panel layouts have a lot of energy. It’s drawn a little sexier than I was expecting at times – see the front cover for an example. I’m still pondering how I feel about that.
The October Girl by Matthew Dow Smith.
“Autumn Ackerman has always known she was a little different, but she has no idea just how different she really is. 18 years old and with no hope for a future beyond working behind the counter at her small town’s coffee shop, Autumn is about to discover that everything she thinks she knows about the world is wrong.”
Why I love it: The simple black, white, and blue art. Only straight lines here, but used skillfully to communicate curves. Interesting use of perspective, especially the sequences where multiple panels show the same object as the camera “moves in.” Smith grounds Autumn as a person before introducing magical elements. Her current life situation may not be startlingly unique, but it’s clear she’s telling it in her words. And things get quite a bit more interesting very fast. Not sure yet if that’s a good thing for her!
Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits by Vera Greentea with art by Laura Müller
What it’s about: “Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits is a spirited horror story about a ghost searching for her family during the festival of the Day of the Dead, while dodging ambitious exorcist apprentices.”
Why I love it: The illustrations are so lush. I’ve re-read this more than once just because the art is so beautiful. Greentea’s done a great job with the story, as well, balancing Nena’s ghostly existence with the very real cast of characters who have to respond to her actions. My son is very interested in Dia de Los Muertos imagery and ghost stories, so he was fascinated by this. Greentea was inspired by the work of dollmaker Christina Alvarado.
And that’s the list of magical comics that could be in your tablet right now! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing this post on social media or with friends, so more people can find these great books!