Gonna post a few more recommendations, but first I would like to thank everyone who posted recommendations in this thread. It takes me a while to get through my ever-expanding “To Read” folder, but I’ve really found a lot of amazing comics due to this thread like Monsterkind, Kill Six Billion Demons, Supernormal Step, Never Satisfied, and Paranatural. So thanks all that posted!
Anywho, on to some more recommendations, which are mostly just housekeeping of comics that haven’t been mentioned here yet, but include a few smaller projects.
Devil’s Candy - Monday & Friday - CW: blood, violence, body horror(?)
Pandora, was not born, but created by her master Kazu Decker. But Kazu isn’t Frankenstein or some evil supervillian, he’s just a straight A student who wanted to get a good mark on his biology assignment at Hemlock Heart Academy, the academy where devils of all types can enroll. The beautifully hand inked pages by Rem (one of the few people outside of Japan considered to be an actual mangaka) tell the story (written by Clint Bickham, an American anime & manga localization script writer) of Pandora’s struggle to find her place in the world and Kazu facing the responsibility of bringing her into it.
Dr. Mcninja* - Completed - CW: blood, violence
Dr. Mcninja is an absurd action tale of Irish ninjas, mustached gun-twirling twelve year olds, dirt bike riding kings, Dracula’s moonbase, time travelling mayors, undead uprisings, 100 foot tall lumberjacks, clones of Benjamin Franklin, mummy curses, gorilla receptionists, dinosaur riding paleontologists, the deadliest game of tennis the world has ever known, dystopias, ghosts that haunt NASA, and being a bad enough ninja doctor to save the president of the united states of america**.
*I recommend starting from this point. The stories before it are a lot rougher and this is a great place to jump in without missing much. Also, this might be the longest comic recommended in this thread outside of Questionable Content, so you’ll have PLENTY to read through.
** I promise, the president in Dr. Mcninja is cooler than any presidents the US has had or will have and in no way resembles the zombified-nazi-orange-juice-given-life that is sitting in the office right now.
Perry Bible Fellowship - Sporadic -NSFW - CW: blood, violence, nudity, sex, language, some slurs
Stunned this classic hasn’t been mentioned yet in the thread. A dark humour comic that constantly shifts art styles to fit the joke. It can be very hit and miss, but when it lands it can leave you in tears.
And, yes, Perry Bible Fellowship still updates! Just very, very infrequently.
Their Story - Sporadic - CW: blood
Nominee for “Favourite Comic of 2017” at the prestigious 2nd annual GILM awards, it’s been mentioned a few times in the thread, but I just realized no one did a proper introduction. I wrote more on it here during the nomination process for the GILM’s, but I’ll quickly recap:
Their Story is a Chinese comedy romance comic about two girls from neighbouring high schools: The shy-yet-graceful Qui Tong and the the basketball loving lesbian disaster Sun Jin who falls for Qui Tong at first sight. This being a comic set in (and produced in) China, where LGBT rights are still fought for, sets the comic with both a sense of unease that reality might seep in, yet, through its existence and continued popularity (both in China and abroad) an act of protest for the Chinese LGBT community.
It’s also one of the funniest, most beautiful comics out there, web or not.
Girls With Slingshots - Completed (original), Monday-Friday (colouring) - CW: sex, nudity
Another big name in webcomics that I haven’t seen mentioned. It’s centred around roommates Hazel and Jamie and their lives, sexuality, relationships, careers, etc in their mid/late twenties. That makes it sound pretty boring (and I admit the starting few chapters lack a solid hook to bring you in), but its the strong characters that are slowly introduced throughout the comic that are the real appeal, as well as seeing the two main characters grow (and, at times, regress) into better people.
The comic is completed and is quite a lengthy read, but if you aren’t looking to bite off that much, you can still catch up on the first few books and follow along as the creator releases pages that are being coloured and touched up from start to finish.
Agents of the Realm - Tuesday & Thursday (Though lately more sporadic) - CW: Blood, Violence
The first year at Silvermount University just started for five young women when they discover that they have been chosen to become the defenders of our realm. And while learning of sister-dimensions, magical girl transformations, cross-dimensional evil, and other threats that might be closer than they think is all well and good, that doesn’t mean their first steps into adulthood aren’t going to be any easier.
What I love about this story is not only the representation on display (it is a very LGBT friendly comic and most of the protagonists are WoC), but its positive nature. It can hit some subjects that can be major hurdles at that stage in your life… drifting away from your parents, starting new relationships, dealing with loneliness when travelling to somewhere new, etc. etc., but it always tries to find a positive way to spin it. A lot of this has to do with the creator listening to feedback and being willing to rewrite sections that aren’t handled well, resulting in a stronger product in the end and proactively tackling one of the core problems with webcomics: lack of editorial input and oversight.
Anyway, the comic is gorgeous and highly recommended. Fair warning that it’s not THAT far into the story telling (December break of their first year, to be non-spoilery), so there’s a lot of questions still needing to be answered and a lot of development left for these characters.
Nuzlocke on Ice - Tuesday & Friday - CW: Blood, Violence
The only video game comic that I’ll recommend here, even if its fairly new and untested yet. But why I’m recommending it requires some lengthy explanation (feel to free to skip if you don’t want to hear me ramble):
So for the unfamiliar: Nuzlocke runs are Pokemon playthroughs that have various restrictions on it, but the most fundamental rules are:
- You can only catch one Pokemon per area.
- When a Pokemon faints, it dies.
- Every Pokemon must be named.
Obviously these restrictions make the game harder, but they also make it more personal. You grow more attached to your little friends, use Pokemon and strategies you don’t normally use, and, as cruel as it might sound, the added death mechanic is what makes Nuzlockes shine. In a normal game, you catch a Sandshrew and either leave them in the box or swap them into your team. You grind a bit and now they’re a staple on your team, ready to basically plow through the game as normal. In a Nuzlocke run, that Sandshrew is your responsibility. You can keep it safe in the box, but each Pokemon you put on your team you put in harm’s way. And, let me tell you, you can be royally destroyed emotionally when you take that Sandshrew out, bite off more than you can chew, and know that its death is on your hands.
This newfound responsibility and connection to the normally cute tools of war you have is the appeal of the Nuzlocke run. Much like how a DnD campaign can leave people deeply invested in their characters, Nuzlocke runs have this tendency of sucking in the player in completely and allowing such good natural, narrative moments to pop up throughout the playthrough. And those moments aren’t limited to death! Sweeping a gym with a new addition to your team or surviving a surprising hard trainer fight by the skin of your teeth causes those gameplay driven character development moments in exactly the same way that makes the generic soldiers of your XCOM squad feel alive with distinct personalities.
Okay, so that’s the appeal of Nuzlockes. What does this have to do with webcomics? Well, the idea of Nuzlockes didn’t start as just a challenge run someone thought of or a let’s play or something like that… it was a webcomic*. A dramatic retelling of a Pokemon Ruby playthrough with those restrictions in place. And it turns out it worked really, really well in that format.
Because while XCOM playthroughs lacks broad appeal (even saying that as someone who loves Tactical Tuesdays) and DnD campagins lose their appeal once the puppetmasters are removed, Pokemon is one of the most recognizable game franchises out there with a near instant understanding of what the stories entail: you catch pokemon, fight them against other people with Pokemon, win badges, beat bad guys, and try to be the best. If you’ve played one Pokemon game, watched the anime, or, hell, just been around video games long enough, you know what you’re in for. The structure is there, it just needs the characters and stakes.
But there’s a problem: all Nuzlocke comics out there are still what I’ll call “enjoyable trash” at best. They all either A) are too amateur when it comes to storytelling B) suffer from a serious case of the “edgyness” or have the 4chan virus and/or C) are never completed because its a bigger undertaking than you’d think. So you no comic, no matter how close they come**, that really can show off the appeal of this format, without needing a laundry list of asterisks.
I’ve been looking for the holy grail of Nuzlocke comics for years now, where it strikes a balance between being an enjoyable read, having good characters, and not being an embarrassing mess. And while Nuzlocke on Ice is still fairly new (it started in 2016, but just got past the first gym), it’s an impressive start.
A union of a monotype (can only catch Pokemon of a single type) and monocolour run (you can only catch pokemon if they are a certain colour), Nuzlocke on Ice is a more mature retelling of first generation story, but still manages to keep itself grounded, cute, and heart-warming (for the most part). It has LGBT representation, great characters so far (even if its just Squirtle and the trainer on the team so far), and is now being updated fairly regularly.
*Pokemon Hard-Mode, the origin of the Nuzlocke run, is definitely one of those comics that is embarrassingly “edgy”, but, hey, it’s the starting point so I feel obligated to mention it… even if I would never recommend it.
** Petty’s Leafgreen playthrough can contain some problematic elements and some really bad writing here and there, but its still the best at showing the appeal of a Nuzlocke run in a completed form. Unfortunately her SoulSilver run that she got 80% of the way through seems to be dead.
Princess Princess - Completed
Ending it off on just a cute, short comic that’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy. It’s family friendly, body positive, and features two princesses falling in love. What’s not to like?