I didn’t start reading digital comics until 2015, when I got tired of missing great comics that weren’t available in print. For independent creators, digital is sometimes the only way to get their books out. Bonus for me: comics in my tablet weigh far less than the print equivalent, and you don’t have to dust e-books.
More importantly, getting into digital comics means I get to read all these fantastic comics! The writing, the art, the characters! My comics fangirl heart is delighted to share this first roundup of lovely digital comics with you. If you have a tablet, that’s probably the best way to read them. If a desktop computer’s available, that’s good too.
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!)
Atomic Sheep by Sally Jane Thompson
What it’s about: “Sixteen-year-old Tamrika Fuller is happy with her life. With good friends and good grades, she’s content to keep her options open for her future. But when her parents reveal they’ve been saving for several years to send her to their Alma Mater for her final years of high school – an old-fashioned boarding academy miles from her home in Vancouver – she’s thrown out of her comfort zone.”
Why I love it: This is empathetic and cozy like a warm sweater. I love how Tammy always keeps trying, I love her passion for art, and I love her new friends. There’s a sweet recognition of how different people are different kinds of smart here, which is lovely. Thompson’s illustrations capture teenagers so well.
Fresh Romance, a comic magazine published by Rosy Press
What it’s about: “Fresh Romance [is] a new digital romance comic magazine from Rosy Press… The first issue of the monthly anthology features sundry stories ranging from a clandestine, queer high school love affair to an impeccably researched and illustrated Regency-era romance.”
Why I love it: I threw some money at this on Kickstarter, just trying to be supportive of Janelle Asselin’s project to diversify the comics medium. I didn’t expect to be blown away by the stories! It’s in magazine format, so it runs part of three separate stories in each issue. School Spirit and Ruined are amazing, so different and both so good. The Ruby Equation is lighter and cute. I didn’t really care about the advice columns, but I’m sticking around for more comics. They’re excellent quality, and I know the creators are getting paid for their hard work because that’s part of Asselin’s business model and personal values.
House Party by Rachael Smith
What it’s about: “Three lost 20-somethings are feeling disillusioned after being shoved into the real world since feeling like superstars at university. In an attempt to get their happiness back they throw a massive house party, just like they used to. Things go a little differently, however, and the three of them must decide how to move forward in lives that none of them really asked for.”
Why I love it: Smith is so skilled at drawing emotions on people’s faces! I was prepared for three whiny young adults, but instead what I got was two smart women trying to work out how to move forward instead of looking back. It ends very well, after pulling us through a big mix of feelings (plus some humor). I felt confident that the gals will figure their stuff out. I’m glad I got this in a bundle, because I wouldn’t have picked it up myself, but I quite enjoy it.
Finding Molly: An Adventure in Catsitting by Justine Prado, art by Jenn St-Onge, colors by Carey Pietsch
What it’s about: “Fresh out of art school and creatively unfulfilled, Molly is stuck in the suburbs with her parents and their cat, Pishi. When she is offered an opportunity to cat sit, she sees it as a way to get closer to her friends who live in the Los Angeles Arts District while fulfilling her dream of making a living as an artist.”
Why I love it: Molly is just such a cutie. The cartooning is adorable. Molly is “mixed” as she describes it. Both her parents are people of color, from two different cultures. And they’re not the only people of color in the book. The rich white people Molly ends up working for are hilarious but still treated as human beings. I had no idea this tale of an unemployed art school graduate in a slump was going to head the way it’s heading, and I’m intrigued and delighted. Glad I found out about Emet Comics, the publisher!
And that’s the first round of great digital comics I’ve been enjoying lately! 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 comics!