In the last several months I have been expanding my reading into the world of web comics. Now I imagine there are still people out there that poo poo web comics in much the same way there are still people who look down on comics in general, but frankly I don’t really see why. There is some really creative work being done out there, and I have really only scratched the surface. In my browsing I have definitely found more that are not for me than ones that I have continued to keep up with, but that’s ok. It is that variety that keeps any genre alive and healthy. I find it interesting that the comics culture has shifted so radically in the last 80 years or so. At the beginning of the comic strip’s history at the start of the 20th century, artists like R.F. Outcault (The Yellow Kid & Buster Brown) and Winsor McCay (Little Nemo & The Dream of the Rarebit Fiend) were high paid celebrities with prestige and fame comparable to todays movie stars, welcome in any walk of society. Today most people regard comics creators as a little dirty and creepy (unless you actually know what you are talking about) and web comics as even less attractive. The reverse is actually more correct. A succesful creator in any area of the medium can do very well and many web comics creators list that as their “day job”.
Most of what I have found and enjoyed has been fairly light. The episodic format of these strips does not work for me with a heavy dramatic content, but the more humorous and fun strips have been a real treat. I’m going to fill the page with lots of fun examples in the hope that you will find something that you enjoy.
Gutters is a great topical parody of comics in general and the industry in particular. Lar Desouza writes the book working with a host of great artists from all parts of the industry. It is a strip not the least bit afraid to bite the hand that feeds it. Generally G to PG rated, it is accessible to anyone that reads comics but will be of particular interest to anyone that has spent the same three decades following the industry that I have.
The strip, which updates Monday, Wednesday and Friday also touches on the topical items on the edges of the industry like this one. Grim humor is always fun for me, but this one got me giggling out loud at work.
This one struck me funny because this was not the direction that it would really go in the comics. If the code was really going to be bent over, they would get Garth Ennis to write Superman and things would get REALLY ugly!
Next up is Questionable Content (see the link on the home page). Created by Jeph Jacques the series has had a long and successful run with humor and heart that explores the lives of its central characters, mostly normal people and one small perverted little robot. One of the real treats of this series for me has been watching the art style evolve over time. Things started out quite crudely drawn, but as Jeph’s confidence and skill grew, and the technical equipment being used got to be a better quality, things became a very good-looking product. The story found its legs very quickly and has become a fairly complex and clever read.
This one is an example of some of the deeply risqué humor that makes this series so much fun.
Another strip I enjoy is Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto. I would post some of them here, but all of the best ones are a bit much for a family show. Maybe I’m a prude, but I don’t want to spread the naughty. Go look at the strip for yourself. Super funny stuff.
And lastly we have Wondermark by David Malki!. I discovered this one at C2E2 in 2010 and found it to be right up my street. He takes the old Victorian era style public domain art from any source imaginable and makes this deeply twisted and funny stuff.
All of these strips and more are available as close as your local internet connection. If none of these spark your interest, there are hundreds more. The supply is nearly endless and the genres are every bit as varied as the comics medium we all know from the printed page.
I will leave you with a last Wondermark and will see you soon…