—-This post was double-checked and freshened up in September 2018. Happy reading!—-
Since I’m a science fiction loving gal, the webcomics with spaceships, aliens, and lasers have a special place in my heart. Here’s a first roundup with some of my absolute favorite science fiction webcomics… but I’m sure I’ll be back with more recommendations in the future! (Just to be clear, that means the near future. Not the future with flying cars and space colonies.)
Before we jump in, though, here’s a helpful webcomics reading tip: many creators sell PDFs or hard copies too! 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 the site for buying options.
Some of these comics may be on hiatus or abandoned. I don’t remove webcomics from my posts for that reason, though, because some people don’t mind reading a comic without an end, and also, sometimes creators come back to webcomics after extended absences.
Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener
What it’s about: Robo is a sentient nuclear-powered robot built by Nikola Tesla in the 1920s. He fought in the second World War and inherited Tesladyne, a corporation devoted to science. Weird science. And occasionally violent science, such as kicking the butt of a walking Egyptian pyramid, or repelling a vampire invasion from another dimension.
Why I love it: It’s like a combo of pulp, monster movies, and that friend who wisecracks so much that you can’t stop laughing. Lovecraft and Carl Sagan show up. It’s funny, and it has heart, and Robo fights Nazis. And writes “Steven Hawking is a b—ard” on Mars with rocks. To be fair, Hawking did deserve it.
Dark Science by Aaron Diaz
What it’s about: It’s part of a long-running web comic series called Dresden Codak, though exactly how it’s connected I haven’t figured out yet. It stands on its own, IMHO. Kimiko Ross, daughter of late robotics genius Kaito Kusanagi, must enter the city of Nephilopolis to get a job after her master plan to generate clean energy fails. She discovers a mysterious conspiracy, and a secret war. And some robots.
Why I love it: This story starts when the bank blows up Kimiko’s house because she can’t pay the mortgage. That’s the kind of ridiculous we’re talking about, and it’s just my style. But that’s mixed with a darker story of mysteries, family secrets, betrayal, and fascism. The artwork looks like high quality animation. Keep an eye out for light shining through windows and reflections, they’re amazing here. And yay, a webcomic with a strong Asian female character in the lead. Diversity FTW!
Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee
What it’s about: It follows Molly and Griffen, itinerant space station workers, as they bounce from one job to the next. Molly is the level-headed one who has strange visions, Griffen is the tempestuous one with a complicated past that, by the end of this first book, may be coming back to haunt her.
Why I love it: Lee slowly builds a complex world out of characters of various genders, pasts, and interests. It’s working class lives set in space, very queer (including regular use of varied pronouns), with female characters who have complex and interesting personalities.
Drive by Dave Kellett
What it’s about: “DRIVE tells the story of a second Spanish empire, a galactic empire, and its looming war with a race called “The Continuum of Makers”. Humanity has built their empire using technology stolen from the Makers — and these creatures want it back with an almost religious fervor. In the brewing war, it’s clear that humanity will lose, and lose badly, unless they can find some advantage in battle. That hope arrives in the form of a tiny, mysterious creature who can drive a starship like no one’s ever seen. Now all humanity needs to do…is find 10,000 more pilots just like him. But no one knows where he’s from. We follow the crew of the scout ship Machito (above), who have been press-ganged into a unique mission by an Emperor they despise: Find this mysterious race, or the empire… ends.”
Why I love it: It’s so funny! It’s not a gag comic, and not a joke a minute, but the interactions between some of the characters kill me. The captain is my new favorite tough old broad in comics, and her exasperation is my favorite. Mix in some serious double-crossing, secret identities, and galaxy-wide conspiracies, plus some really touching moments… I’m so there.
Freakangels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield
What it’s about: “23 years ago, twelve strange children were born in England at exactly the same moment. 6 years ago, the world ended. This is the story of what happened next.” And what happens next, basically, is that the Freakangels try to save everyone they can. Well, some of the Freakangels do. Some of them have other ideas.
Why I love it: It’s a post-apocalyptic mystery / thriller / soap opera and it’s compelling at every step. The place and time the Freakangels inhabit seems so very real, and the personalities of large cast in this series are always perfectly distinct. My husband believes this is Ellis’s best work, which is saying a lot because we’re Ellis fanpeople in this house. The end is sweet and sad and happy all at the same time.
Greasy Space Monkeys by Reine Brand and Mark Kestler
What it’s about: “Greasy Space Monkeys is the adventures of two idiots in a dead end job on a run-down space station. Occasional profanity and frequent absurdity.”
Why I love it: Working class life on a space station, entangled in bureaucracy, instead of the thrilling adventures of the highly trained beautiful people. The art is crisp, the coloring is solid, and it’s a good mix of one-shot jokes with longer storylines. The short commentary under the strips is great, too, so don’t miss that.
Kamikaze by Alan Tupper, Carrie Tupper, and Havana Nguyen
What it’s about: “In a desolate future, feudal corporate houses hoard the last patches of fertile crop land. A young courier is unwittingly thrown into a life or death game of espionage and sabotage from which she might never escape. Kamikaze is a concept for an animated show by Alan Tupper, Carrie Tupper, and Havana Nguyen. With a new update every Wednesday, the comic will follow the vision and story of the animated series as we build towards getting the show on air.”
Why I love it: Huge sci-fi world building! Thrilling action! Woman of color protagonist! I’m not sure what else I could want from this comic. Don’t miss the commentary under each page, where they expand on various aspects of the world and culture they’ve created. If there is any justice, they’ll achieve their goal of an animated series.
The Last Cowboy by Zoe Coughlin
What it’s about: “In an alternate history, Earth’s first contact with aliens goes horribly wrong: a disease carried by one of the aliens renders nearly everyone on Earth sterile. Very few women are capable of getting pregnant, and those who do tend to have only one child their entire lives. Now Earth’s population is rapidly dwindling with each generation. With no other options, the human race builds a series of schools to teach the aliens as much as they can about human culture before it disappears forever.” (From TVTropes.org)
Why I love it: Such a deep exploration of how being in relationships is hard, especially when you’re in pain. It’s very explicitly about women’s lives and mental health. The context is a deep, layered story about survival and scientific challenges. The cast is diverse. So satisfying! I’m sorry I missed the Kickstarter on this one.
Love Not Found by Gina Biggs
What it’s about: “LOVE NOT FOUND is a story about a young woman in time where touching has become outdated. She has recently moved to a new planet and finds that touching might not be such a bad idea.”
Why I love it: Charming, adorable, diverse, and queer sci-fi comic? Yes thank you. Abeille means bee, Miel means honey, so you can see where the two main characters are going. It’s super sweet, I’m enjoying it, and if you need an “awww, so cute!” then head on over.
O Human Star by Blue Delliquanti
What it’s about: “Alastair Sterling was the inventor who sparked the robot revolution. And because of his sudden death, he didn’t see any of it. That is, until he wakes up 16 years later in a robot body that matches his old one exactly. Until he steps outside and finds a world utterly unlike the one he left behind – a world where robots live alongside their human neighbors and coexist in their cities. A world he helped create. Now Al must track down his old partner Brendan to find out who is responsible for Al’s unexpected resurrection, but their reunion raises even more questions. Like who the robot living with Brendan is. And why she looks like Al. And how much of the past should stay in the past…”
Why I love it: It’s a science fiction setting, but at its core, O Human Star is about humans (and robots) doing the best they can to relate to each other. The art is grounded and confident. Humans (and robots) are solid and real. We’re reading this via supporting print volumes on Kickstarter, and it’s agonizing to wait between volumes.
Power Nap by Maritza Campos and Bachan
What it’s about: “In a world where nobody sleeps, Drew Spencer tries to hold on to a job and his sanity. Drew is unable to use the pills known as “Z-Sup” which let everyone else stay awake 24 hours a day, due to an allergy. Being run ragged by a world without sleep and a society that seems to accept the weirdest of events without question, Drew is also being roped into something sinister going on behind the scenes of this bizarre world.” (From TVTropes.org)
Why I love it: Sucks. you. in. Drew’s life gets more and more bizarre, and you’re along for the roller coaster ride. It’s clearly a satire of modern society, but it’s more of a cautionary tale about societal expectations (and mindless bureaucracy) than moralizing at current people for their perceived excesses. The contrasts are part of the humor – this city has intrusive 3D movie ads, but someone is still employed to staple papers all day? Absolutely top notch, professional quality art and writing here.
Serious Engineering by Roman Jones
What it’s about: “Thirty-odd years after the American-Venezuelan war, teenager Corelle Lowell has found herself in an apparently unrelated nasty spot – spots on her hands, that is. Unable to find help from her friends and relatives, she learns about a medical team who promises free service to everyone who signs up with their little family of sorts. Things go from strange to downright bizarre for Corelle the further she digs into the inner workings of the company, which proves to be just a tiny part of something far larger than she ever imagined.”
Why I love it: Corelle, the main character, is amazing. Gifted, non-neurotypical, young woman of color, with so much bravery. I only read the first bit of this, then decided to wait for the massive reformatting/republishing effort they were working on (looks great now!), so I’m overdue to go back and get caught up. I hope as the story progresses, part of the authors’ plan is that she stops beating herself up so much. Her story is just beginning, so I have hope that good things are in store for her.
Stillwater Springs by Reine Brand
What it’s about: “Stillwater Springs is a post-apocalyptic action comic about greed, community and survival. Set generations after the end in a cold, dry wasteland, the story follows characters connected to the town of Stillwater, an uncommon beacon of civilisation in the otherwise harsh new world.”
Why I love it: Because it just started, so I can get in on the ground floor and look cool later, talking about how I read it before it got huge! Just kidding. Really, I’m loving this baby webcomic because the art and the carefully chosen words so far, telling the story of how the world ended, are so captivating. The birds on page 4 of the intro alone, flying between the past and present! This is going to be a slow one, since Brand is doing it on the side of Greasy Space Monkeys (and, you know, life) but I am convinced it will be worth the wait.
Super Indian by Arigon Starr.
What it’s about: “Hubert Logan was an ordinary Reservation boy until he ate tainted commodity cheese infused with Rezium, a secret government food enrichment additive. Known as Super Indian, Hubert fights evil forces who would overtake the Reservation’s resources and population. Assisted by his trusty sidekicks Mega Bear and Diogi, they fight crime the way they know how — with strength, smarts and humor.”
Why I love it: Starr isn’t afraid to play with superhero conventions, reference pop culture, and comment on racism, oppression, and cultural appropriation in a way that makes you laugh, even while you’re shaking your head because it’s so true. And it’s incredibly funny! We first meet Hubert as he’s being turned down for a date. A librarian suggests that Hubert start a blog to get chicks, but unfortunately Hubert’s still too mad about being insulted to blog responsibly. The anonymous “Rez Boy” blog stirs up all kinds of trouble, some of it involving a Brazilian rodeo cowboy. There’s also a headlock incident due to an unfortunate comment about Revenge of the Sith. In the next tale, Super Indian battles the villain Technoskin to save the reservation from generic American fashion and possibly other terrible fates.
The Zombie Hunters by Jenny Romanchuk
What it’s about: “The Zombie Hunters is a new look at an old theme. It is inspired by a post-apocalyptic vision of the future as well as past human history. This story follows a group of zombie hunters as they go though life as survivors of the undead outbreak. The characters reside on an artificial island, the former site of the Argus Research Campus. The hunters, like so many others on the island, are infected – they carry a dormant strain of the undead virus, which will cause them to turn into one of several different types of undead when they die. The infected are marked and segregated from the rest of the inhabitants on the island, making a living by working offshore in the wastes, hunting zombies and collecting salvage, trading their freedom for safety.”
Why I love it: a fascinating world, a diverse set of intriguing characters trying (and often failing) to co-exist peacefully with each other, and hints of enough backstory and interpersonal history and drama that I want more. The main character, Jenny, opens the book by screwing up her first mission as leader of a team in the zombie-infested wasteland outside their island compound. Her team is composed of an almost equal number of women and men, as would probably happen in a post-apocalypse where all available human resources are needed to survive. Katie, Sammie, and Maureen aren’t all the same gal, either, they have distinct personalities and appearances. And they kick ass.
And that’s the list of my favorite science fiction webcomics so far!! 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! And finally, if you enjoyed this post, I’d appreciate any sharing you could do to help others find it. These webcomics all deserve more readers.