Howdy Folks! Ever since the advent of the internet, creative people around the world have been afforded the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways. One way is through web-comics, independently owned and operated comics created by people like you or me. Whether they be newspaper strips, manga, or superhero, these web-comics show us all that anyone and everyone can be comics creators.
First, A Little History
The first “world wide web” comic was Eric Millikin’s Witches and Stitches, published through CompuServe, America’s first internet service provider. Because of their largely independent nature, web-comics can be viewed as the natural successors to the self-published underground comix of the 1970s and 1980s. A few web-comics, such as Penny Arcade, have even proven to be financially successful. Perhaps their biggest influence, web-comics have shown that the digital market is growing, which may impact the future of the comic industry as a whole.
The Awesome Thing about Reading Web-Comics
They’re Free. No joke. Almost every web comics out there is free to read. Even their archives are free. A great way to read web-comics is to find one you like, start at the beginning, and just plow right on through. They are a surprisingly quick read. Web-comics also tend to update at least once every week, giving you free content on a regular basis. Reading web-comics is sorta like reading the Sunday Funnies; a quick and fun time that leaves you wanting more.
The Tricky Thing about Reading Web-Comics
The tricky thing about web-comics is finding one that you like. There are literally thousands of web-comics, each varying in terms of length and quality. Some are so long that you wonder if you’ll ever be able to catch up to the present. Others are so short, that their updates seem to take forever. Then there are the ones that are annoyingly inconsistent with their updates. Following a web-comic can become a strangely personal endeavor.
Whoa, so where should I even start?
As always, I suggest looking for top ten lists when tackling an unfamiliar area of comics. I’ll give you a list of some web-comics as a starting off point, but like I said before, web-comics are surprisingly individualistic.
Menage a 3 & Pixie Trick Comix
Menage a 3 is an R-rated web-comic about three roommate’s sexual escapades. What started out as a manga version of Three’s Company has quickly evolved into a very funny love-comedy. Of course, if that’s not your thing, Menage a 3 is also a member of Pixie Trick Comics, which provides several other manga inspired web-comics. All very fun, and all strictly PG-13.
One of the oldest and most successful web-comics today, Penny Arcade is gaming classic. Let me put this in prospective. Penny Arcade is so influential in the gaming community, that the authors even created a gaming convention called PAX. You might have heard of it.
Hark! A Vagrant
If your tastes are a little more intellectual, but you still enjoy fart jokes about King Henry the VIII, then do I have the web-comic for you. Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant is so funny in its simple execution. Who knew that someone making fun of Jane Austen and Medieval history could be entertaining?
Garfield Minus Garfield
I’ll be honest. I found this web-comic literally a few seconds ago. Garfield Minus Garfield is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the Garfield strips with the character Garfield removed, leaving the character John talking to himself. It’s strange, it’s meta, it’s web-comics 101.
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Here’s how the protagonist of Wonderalla describes herself: “Basically I am the raddest and best superhero ever.” ‘Nuff said.
There you go. Five fun web-comics you may or may not like. But that’s the great thing about web-comics. There’s at least three out there for everyone. I myself found a bunch of web-comics I’d never even heard about while writing this guide. The internet sure is a big place. Next week on Funny Books we’ll do an Introduction to DC Comics. Thanks for reading!