The internet has given us a great many things since its advent. Videos of furry animals, convenient online shopping mediums, and plenty of games that produce enough salt to stock the shelves of every major and minor grocer this side of the prime meridian. However, the medium of comic books and stories has flourished since we first connected to the information superhighway, spawning countless tales and ‘toons that have persisted for several years thanks to adoring fanbases.
For some of these long-running works, it’s a sense of humor or endearing characters or engaging storyline that fastens its claws into readers. For others, it’s a realism and emotional catalyst not typically found working a 9-to-5 desk job. It’s these comics that genuinely make us care for characters that are nothing more than digital pen and paper, but are just as impactful as traditional comics with the five-digit price tag.
Today, I wanted to showcase 5 webcomics that, in my opinion, everyone should read. Keep in mind, these are in no particular order in regard to quality, as I do firmly believe that all of these works deserve more praise and admiration than they currently receive. If you do fall in love with these works, each artist has a Patreon where you can support them should you so choose.
Nathan Green’s sarcastic and sardonic photo comic is a view of the world through the mind of a disenfranchised young man from Chicago. Semi-autobiographical, it tends to follow the trend of saddening or existential, through either a never-say-die focus or a hopeful look towards the future. Exploring suicidal and depressing thoughts through witty sarcasm and painfully familiar life scenarios, AHKOS is a work that can give you an emotional jolt while also giving you a chance to laugh. Proceed with caution, as Green’s work does deal with heavy subject matter, but behind the dark humor and sarcastic sadness lies a hopeful message that reminds the reader “you’ve got this. Today will be a little better.”
Shifting gears somewhat, ChaosLife and FindChaos are a biographical comic and digital graphic novel respectively, with queer characters playing integral roles in both. FindChaos is itself a masterful tale of a young assassin-for-hire and is absolutely worth devouring, but it was ChaosLife, the autobiographical work of artist Stiffler and writer K, that initially drew me to their work. Lighthearted in one piece and educational in another, CL is an irreverent, human, and honest look into the lives of one of the most phenomenal pairs of queer cartoonists in the industry today. Unapologetically silly and yet tender and intimate, Stiffler and K let the reader into their lives, showing, in my opinion, one of the best love stories ever told, surrounded by cats, a snake, and a few choice butt jokes.
Alright, this is definitely the most NSFW work on this list, I won’t even lie. Explicit language, nudity, and graphic sex scenes firmly (yet pleasurably) slide this series, born from the minds of Brad and Leslie Brown, into the 18+ category. Advertised as an “erotic rock ‘n’ roll adventure comic”, TRC is an unapologetic thrill-ride of skin, sex, and sensual stimulation, sneaking a sex-positive message into an underdog punk-rock story. Readers genuinely root for Steg and Suria, willing them to escape their retail and labor lives to throw them into the world of rock and roll. The cast is also diverse, colorful, and not rife with tropes, from characters such as the arrogant and powerful Seth Sterling and his boytoy Georgie to the shy and quiet Dakota and Elizabeth. Inspirational, sexual, and at the same time sympathetic and intimate, TRC will make you cheer for the protagonists and throw your fist and clothing in the air, pushing them further towards the dream of rock and roll stardom while also giving you moments to blow off some steam.
More emotionally confusing than a third grade physics test involving puppies and trains, Orangeplum’s Satan and Me has you feeling sympathy for the Devil. No, seriously. The premise to the whole comic (viewable in its entirety on Tapastic) is a teenage girl, Natalie Mcallister, accidentally summoning the Prince of Darkness while on her period, and his being bound to her because of a contract formed through this mishap. As the story progresses, the relationship between Satan and Natalie grows from accidental servitude to begrudging respect to almost pre-romantic affection, and the story shifts from zany shenanigans and one-off jokes to serious dramatic tension and heart-wrenching moments. You want Satan and Natalie to emerge unscathed from the events of the story, hoping they end up back in Natalie’s bean bag chair with Satan griping about Natalie’s infectious cheerfulness. This comic, if adapted to an AMC original series, would surpass Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Mad Men over the course of a singular season. When the reader cries and worries over the relationship between a human girl and the literal Lord of Sin, it isn’t just another fantasy story.
This comic is one of a few that I’ve consistently kept up with for more than a few years, and is one of my absolute favorites. Jeph Jacques’ seminal QC has run near consistently 5 days a week for 14 years, continuing the story of Marten, Faye, and company while spicing up the narrative with sentient AI, fluid interpersonal relationships, and an abundance of butt jokes. Almost giving off the vibe of a millennial Friends while diving much deeper into the lives of the numerous characters, this series deals with the personal struggles of individual characters on a personal level, to the point where they no longer become characters. Relationships, alcoholism, family drama, PTSD, gender identity, and sexuality; all of these and more very real themes are explored throughout the long-running story. There are certainly comedic arcs, and several jokes laden with profanity throughout its run, but the fact remains that this is one of the most relatable, most human comics I’ve ever read.
So there we have it, 5 webcomics I believe everyone should read. Honorable mention as well to Wilde Life and Johnny Wander for having a mysterious storyline and whimsical slice-of-life feel, respectively. These comics are, in my opinion, phenomenal, and all deserving of a read. Feel free to check them out using the provided links, and tell us some webcomics you think everyone should read. Thanks much, and I’ll speak to you another time!
I like weird and silly and scary things. Sometimes I talk about them.
I enjoy gaming, sci-fi/fantasy books, well-written stories, Magic: the Gathering, and caffeine. I like things that make me think, feel, and react.
Praise Cthulhu, hail Rakdos, enjoy the weirdness. And remember: a good story can come from anywhere.