I usually lean more towards science fiction than fantasy, but WOW, there are some amazing fantasy and magical webcomics out there. The art! The stories! The reading of webcomics on my tablet in bed when I should really be sleeping! (I know some of you do that too.)
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. 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.
All Night by B. Sabo
What it’s about: “All Night takes place in a world that has come to a halt. Day and night appear permanently fixed and the seasons never change. Whatever has happened to this world has not ended humanity, however, and on the day side of the planet life continues on. But things from the darkened half of the world have been slowly creeping further into the light, and very few know how to stop it…”
Why I love it: The art in this one is amazing, especially the coloring and the characters’ large, expressive eyes and detailed hair. The story is intruiguing, especially the magic system which our main character has… kinda mastered. He’s not perfect, either at magic or at relating to people. (He may not even be a very good person. Unclear.) There isn’t much of this webcomic, and given the time passed since the last update, it may not continue. But it’s perfectly enjoyable as a short story right now, albeit one with more questions than answers. Especially if you enjoy seeing people of color leading comics, definitely visit this one.
Amya, written by Savannah Houston-McIntyre and Andrew Hewitt, art by Rebecca Gunter-Ryan
What it’s about: “Amya is a high-fantasy graphic novel following the travels of a mute spell-touched and her unlikely companions as they are dragged into an adventure that is a little beyond them. Ultimately Amya is a story about self sacrifice for the greater good. It is also a story of how far one will go to obtain unearthly power; even if it includes throwing the world into a mythical war between fate and chaos.”
Why I love it: Nobles and villains, dreams foretelling the end of the world, magical duels, all the good stuff! Faye, our main character, is mute and communicates with both writing and magic. Given the lack of characters with disabilities in comics, I loved seeing her in a leading role here. Her chance encounter with a young man on the run sparks an adventure which brings an unlikely group of friends together, which sounds hackneyed, but they’re all so great! Trust me. Let yourself get sucked in, it’s a lot of fun.
Bird Boy by Anne Szabla
What it’s about: “Bird Boy follows the story of Bali, a 10 year old Nuru boy, who is desperate to prove his worth to his tribe, despite his small stature. Banned from the ceremony that would make him an adult in the eyes of his people, he takes matters into his own hands. In an attempt to bring proof to his tribe that he is capable of taking care of himself, he stumbles upon a legendary weapon, and must end up fleeing across a dangerous land of gods, men and beasts to keep it from falling into the wrong hands…”
Why I love it: Szabla clearly put in time to nail down the mythology, culture, and world Bali lives in, giving his story an epic feel from the very first pages. The storytelling is slow, but even the pages “without plot” are these gorgeous vistas of snow and ice. She’s leaving room for the story to breathe, getting you completely grounded before things start happening. Bonus: possibly the cutest protagonist in comics ever.
Digger by Ursula Vernon
A PERFECT fantasy adventure about a female atheist wombat who meets a statue that speaks for the god Ganesha, a priest living with mental illness, and a solitary artist. It’s an amazing story about the strength of women that also includes wonderful male characters. It’s one of the funniest comics I’ve read. C-Man says it’s one of the best books he’s ever read, not even just one of the best graphic novels. If you’re at all intrigued by stories about fantasy, adventure, religion, or culture, you have to pick this up. Digger the wombat, Murai the traumatized priest, and Ed the exiled hyena painter are some of my new favorite characters in comics.
Everblue by Michael Sexton
What it’s about: “Everblue is a story about adventure, camaraderie and exploration in a world with a potentially bleak fate. In a world of endless ocean, a young shipwright named Luna meets an odd and cheerful drifter when he crashes his flying boat on her city’s dock. When strange circumstances force Luna to leave her home, her once quiet life quickly takes a turn for the unpredictable. In an instant she is swept up in an adventure that will take her beyond the bounds of the charted world and into the Everblue, following the path of an ancient legend with the potential to change the world forever.”
Why I love it: Seriously compelling drama and such pretty art. C-Man saw this over my shoulder and said “Wow, that looks nice.” The lines and colors are just so clear and bright. I love the plot setup of town misfit plus new arrival that really understands her equals life must change. Luna has a very realistic set of conflicting feelings pulling on her, and newcomer Ten is so much fun. I read a little of this online and then bought all the PDFs that are available so far, so I could binge during an airplane ride. Well worth it!
Fox & Willow by artist Irma ‘Aimo’ Ahmed and author Allison Pang
What it’s about: “…a story about a girl and her fox, and loosely based on a series of contemporary fairy tales.”
Why I love it: It’s as if the girl and the fox are traveling a land where dark fairy tales are taking place, and getting pulled into those stories. The art is muted but crisp, I love the palette. And the friendly but also adversarial relationship between the two adds a bit of humor. Apparently I don’t have a lot of super detailed thoughts about this one, but if you like magic, fantasy, fairy tales, etc. then check it out!
Grassblades by Anna Landin
What it’s about: “The wandering swordsman Masahiro, on the road to somewhere, finds himself caught up in the tangle of lives crossing his path. Much as he would like to keep his distance, the world has a way of insistently getting in his way. The anchor-weights of the past hold him back just as they pull him relentlessly forward, and there are shadows slowly catching up. This is a story about journeys, about vengeance, redemption, and all the small things that we can’t seem to leave behind.”
The Lost Oracle by Lho
What it’s about: “A fantasy story about a girl, raised in the abandoned ruins of Blue Gold City. She is the lost oracle. But she’s about to be found.”
Mana by Priya Huq
What it’s about: “When young khandati (swordsperson) Samudra finally has her dream, it is about the ocean: a sight she has never seen. Tradition holds that she must quest to find it, but those who leave the mountains are not allowed to return.”
M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder
What it’s about: “In a world of sleeping gods, a broken government, and a fragile peace held in the hands of the corrupt, one youth must find the strength to stand up against evil and save humanity. This story is not about that youth. It’s about Abbie, who just wants to get to the mountain range called the Potter’s Spine, scatter her mother’s ashes, and then live out her life in sweet, blissful solitude. Unfortunately, everyone she meets wants to either whine at her about their woes, tag along on her quest, arrest her for no reason, or blow her to bits. Journeys are hard on the social recluses of the world.”
Why I love it: It’s so pretty. Seriously. And it’s a fantasy adventure starring people of color, which you know I love because #weneeddiversebooks #rightnowplease. I love how Magruder panels. I love Abbie and Jamie, who are so different and so dynamic and so adorable (but don’t tell Abbie I said that.)
Missing Monday by Elle Skinner
What it’s about: “Missing Monday is a coming of age webcomic that follows Foyle Leaf and her growing relationship with Monday Rhodes, a girl from another world who appears one day through a doorway in an abandoned clocktower.”
Why I love it: Two young women falling in love. One of them kind of blowing off her job because she has a crush on a pretty girl and that might not end well but hey, many of us have been there. Mysteries and magic. Soft, hand-drawn panel edges that fit the nostalgic tone of the story. It’s like the soft warm blanket of web comics on a grey, drizzly day. All the heart-related emoticons for this one.
What it’s about: “The story of Anya, a young girl who enters a mysterious city to save her lost brother.”
Why I love it: We bought Over the Wall in print, not knowing it was a webcomic. Stonebreaker takes place four years later, with Anya still trying to cure her brother and further exploring the demon city. More danger, of course! While Wartman does clean things up for print, I’m reading this online now because I can’t wait to see what happens. Especially with her little helper demon, for whom we’re getting way more backstory now.
A Redtail’s Dream by Minna Sundberg
What it’s about: “A webcomic about a young man and his shapeshifting dog on an involuntary journey on the other side of the Bird’s Path in the realm of dreams. They have to rescue their fellow Villagers before their souls pass on to Tuonela, the land of eternal sleep.”
Why I love it: Sundberg does some of the most beautiful art in comics today. Not just webcomics. Comics. Don’t let the chill banner fool you, her colors alone are to die for. So much depth and richness. I bought the PDF of this and read it on an airplane ride. I forgot where I was. This comic is an action/adventure mystical quest story, or you can just think of it as a tale about a boy and his dog. I highly recommend you just buy the PDF of A Redtail’s Dream for $14, that’s peanuts for a 600 page book even if it weren’t shockingly good quality. Which it is.
Runewriters by Shazzbaa
What it’s about: “It’s a fantasy webcomic about a mundane deaf girl trying to help her shapechanger friend and a mute necromancer fix some embarrassing magical mistakes.”
Why I love it: This takes place in a super fun fantasy world full of sorcerers, soldiers, and spells gone awry. The two lead characters are both so great: a magic-using man who’s a person of color, and a white deaf woman. Two comics in one post with a character who’s disabled?! No, surely not! Oh wait yes, and hurray for that. I loved how this gal’s communication is portrayed – her friends have learned sign, she’s learned lipreading, and she’s also learned vocal speech for occasional use. Her deafness is occasionally a minor plot point but isn’t the story. Instead, it’s about her goofball best friend who’s managed to turn his arms into tentacles. It happens. Anyway, this is another one where you must read the artist’s commentary under the pages. Look out for the mention of Skeletor.
Sfeer Theory by Jayd “Chira” Aït-Kaci and Alex “Muun” Singer
What it’s about: “It’s the eighteenth century of the Imperial Calender and the Empire of Warassa is at its peak. Spanning a full continent, and experiencing a new mastery of the magic known as the principles of Sfeer Theory, one might go so far as to call Warassa the center of the world. However, prosperity comes at a cost. Day by day, tensions rise at the borders of the Empire, which may soon be bound for war. Not that Luca Valentino knows that last part. A lab technician at the Empire’s premier school, Uitspan Academy, Luca desires only to live quietly to further educate himself in the nature of Sfeer Theory. This may not be so simple, for as he learns more about the magic around him, he finds himself entangled in a great mystery, one which may involve the whole of the world as he knows it…”
Why I love it: It’s just so gorgeous. The body language is so well drawn. The colors are muted and rich. I love the panels which highlight just one thing, such as a hand or a pair of feet skidding to a stop in the snow. The political conspiracy drama is engrossing. I was fascinated by the magic system as well, especially as Luca’s talent is revealed. This would make an amazing feature length animated movie! I’ve just realized that the first two parts are available as ebooks, so I’ll be picking those up shortly so it’s easier to re-read.
Spindrift by Elsa Kroese and Charlotte E. English
What it’s about: “…comic featuring a modern fantasy story about intrigue, warfare, family, love and betrayal.”
Why I love it: There are people with wings and people with horns. Wait, you need more? Okay, the art is this beautiful polished style, and there’s magic, and people double-crossing each other and keeping secrets all over the place. Very dramatic, with some intriguing characters, and some that should be dropped in a hole right now because otherwise they’re liable to cause a whole bunch of trouble. Of course, some characters are in both categories… Did I mention the wings? They’re cool.
The Substitutes by Myisha Haynes
What it’s about: “What happens when three roommates accidentally acquire powerful magic weapons destined for someone else? What happens when the aforementioned “someone elses” fall from grace and public favor in the aftermath? What happens when you’ve suddenly found yourself as the hero to someone else’s story…?”
Why I love it: Intensely detailed, beautiful art. A fantasy world that’s not a replica of European history. A diverse cast. A mysterious intro. This is a new webcomic and I can’t wait to read more.
Timber by Mittie Paul
What it’s about: “When Nathaniel ventured out into the woods for a photography assignment, he didn’t expect to get wrapped up in the affairs of the resident lumberjack. But no one expects to get lost in a magical forest, even in a world filled with mythical creatures…”
Why I love it: Because of all the feels. There’s gonna be some kissing before this is over, I promise you. All the two-leg people reading this should go read it and if you can resist this meet-cute, I don’t understand you.
Vattu by Evan Dahm
What it’s about: “Vattu is a story following a member of a nomadic tribe caught in the midst of a massive clash of cultures.”
Why I love it: Dahm says he does long-form storytelling, and he means it. This is epic fantasy, in an a immense world, with a large cast that Dahm introduces incrementally so the reader has time to learn everyone. I usually need to bond with at least one character to like a book, and I’m not sure that I have in Vattu, and yet I’m still reading. I’m just so fascinated by all the cultures clashing, the political intrigue, and what’s going to happen to everyone. There are many strong female characters, and I appreciate that so much as well.
White Noise by Adrien Lee a.k.a. thephooka
What it’s about: “In the early 1900s, the nation of Aetheri came out of its long interdimensional isolation and revealed to the humans of the Symphony Archipelago that they were not alone in the multiverse. Things swiftly got ugly after that. In the early 1990s, Aetheri’s leadership changed, and in the Archipelago, a tiny broken family of half-siblings banded together in the face of the bile and hate that was boiling up between the humans and the non-humans. In the early 2000s, that family was split apart. Hawk Press and his sister Liya Kiski both begin a long and exhaustive journey towards understanding the difference between friend and enemy–and between the family you’re given, and the family you make.”
Why I love it: The long conflict between humans and non-humans here feels so heavy. You don’t really know who to trust, although definitely don’t trust the reports on the radio. Hawk’s and Liya’s stories are both interesting, so you’re not just waiting to see if they can reunite somehow. It’s pretty complex, so I’m currently re-reading it to make sure I have all the players straight in my head. It’s possibly even better the second time around.
And those are my favorite magical and fantasy webcomics!