8 Classic Webcomics You Should be Reading

Ugicywapih

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May 15, 2014
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Well, allow me to chip in with some suggestions...
Order of the Stick has been already mentioned, I believe, the art is very minimalist, which can be a turnoff for a new reader, but the artist is great at playing upon and against just about any fantasy trope you can think of and the storyline is nothing if not engaging.
Sluggy Freelance has also been mentioned in the comments. Again, fairly simple art with interesting (if at times ridiculously convoluted and self-referential) writing.
Gunnerkrigg Court is one of my personal favourites, the art is very good and effectively conveys the slightly eerie sci-fi/fairytale feel of the whole series, the story is well thought out and it makes me feel ALL THE FEELS!
I recall Drowtales being cool... Dunno, stopped following it a good while ago, it started getting boring, but the art is very, very good for such a longstanding comic and the whole story is quite unusual and worth checking out.
Homestuck is... interesting. Does it even count as a webcomic? I'd say it kind of skirts the line.
Menage a 3 and its spinoffs are also pretty alright, if frequently NSFW. A slice of life comic with a solid helping of titillation, pretty much.
Least I Could Do used to follow a similar formula, but I feel it grew excessively politicized for my taste somewhere along the line :/
Sandra and Woo also seems popular (and it seems to have been so for a good long while). Again, not a comic I follow myself, but I guess there's got to be something to it?
Schlock Mercenary is nothing if not a classic, it tends to be a pretty easy, action packed read while at the same time running heavy on ideas typical to hard sci-fi. One of the few comics fun both for a quick read and to mull over later.
Freefall is likewise a nice, light take on hard sci-fi, but with far, far less violence and a more slice of life vibe. It also has a much tighter focus, dealing mostly with the idea of a post-scarcity society, terraforming, and especially the implications of conveying "human" rights on artificial intelligence.
Now, there's also Erfworld, a story of a tabletop gamer being summoned into a tabletop game-like world... Not sure if it's quite old enough to qualify as a classic, but it's there and it's pretty good, especially if you dig tabletop strategy gaming.
Of course if I'm not restricting myself exclusively to older titles, there's also stuff like The Punchline is Machismo, Supernormal Step, Paranatural, Skullkickers, Powernap, Spinnerette, Monsterkind, Hark! A Vagrant, Kiwi Blitz (on hiatus until spring, but you can check out the author's other work too), maaaybe Grrl Power and Guilded Age... Daughter of the Lilies, Wilde Life (both mentioned here earlier) and Cassiopeia Quinn are all interesting too, but it looks like they're just getting started on the action now that all the characters have been introduced.

P.S. I take it we're only talking about comics, that originated on the 'net? Because stuff like Peanuts is also published online nowadays, technically making it a webcomic and while I may not personally enjoy it, it's ingrained in the popular culture moreso than any other title mentioned so far in the article or in this thread.
 

Xerosch

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Very interesting list. I think I knew only about 2 to 3 of them so I'll check them out, soon.

And can any of you help me with finding a webcomic that I read years ago, enjoyed immensely and complete forgot about its name?
I remember it being mostly about Nintendo characters and the artist used their 8bit image. One scene that stuck with me is Link and Simon Belmont having a fit over whether little 8bit hearts are used to heal or as ammo (which makes total sense if you know Zelda and Castlevania). Man, I wish I could find it again...
 

Fox12

AccursedT- see you space cowboy
Jun 6, 2013
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Chimpzy said:
Hey, I read all of those except Oglaf.

I ... didn't expect that. Was hoping to discover more than one new webcomic to read.
Everblue
Soul to call
The Meek
Ava's Demon

You're welcome
 

C117

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Aug 14, 2009
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Guess I might as well give out some recommendations...

Bug Martini [http://www.bugmartini.com/] - Hilarious comic about the author's thoughts and feelings on different subjects. Updates on weekdays.
Snow by Night [http://www.snowbynight.com/comic.php] - Fantasy set in a colonial world inhabited by nature spirits. The story follows the titulary nature spirit who attempts to gain a heart, and the two thieves who "help" her with the intent of using her powers for their own gain. At least, until one of them starts wanting to help her in earnest... Updates Monday and Wednesday.
The Archipelago [http://thearchipelago.smackjeeves.com/] - Long-running fantasy. It starts with a man with amnesia, and gradually builds into a battle for the world. Currently on the last stretch. Updates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Dan & Mab's Furry Adventures [http://dmfa.katbox.net/] - Furry fantasy with a really solid mythology and world. Follows the retired adventurer Dan and his friends in their daily life and the things that surround it. Updates about once every week.
Bittersweet Candybowl [https://www.bittersweetcandybowl.com/] - Antropomorphic cats in highschool and the problems they encounter. One of the most depressing and heartbreaking webcomics you will ever read. Updates Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

I'm skipping all those that have already been recommended. Dang, there are a lot of good webcomics out there...
 

runic knight

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Mar 26, 2011
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Worgen said:
This needs Girl Genius [http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021104#.VqMLkiorKUk]


and Digger [http://diggercomic.com/blog/2010/08/12/digger-701/]. (which is actually finished)
I loved the hell out of Digger. It is weird, but it is pretty good and sucks you in.
 

Souplex

Souplex Killsplosion Awesomegasm
Jul 29, 2008
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*Looks at list*
You did pretty well, almost all of the ones linked are on the list of the only good webcomics.
http://www.giantitp.com/
http://www.erfworld.com/
http://www.penny-arcade.com/
http://www.twogag.com/
http://threepanelsoul.com/
http://www.marycagle.com/
http://satwcomic.com/
http://awkwardzombie.com/
http://multiplexcomic.com/
http://drmcninja.com/
http://lawcomic.net/
http://chainsawsuit.com/
http://www.bugmartini.com/
http://www.smbc-comics.com/
http://www.atomic-robo.com/
Good webcomics that are still around, but don't update regularly are not mentioned.
Smilomaniac said:
No Sluggy Freelance? Words cannot express my disappointment.
Sluggy is an interesting in that it very clearly marks the point when it transitions from a tolerably funny comic to an awful slog of a melodrama.
http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/980828
 

oldtaku

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I've still got Penny Arcade on my RSS just because it's cheap to do so, but they're tired old men doing tired old man comics now, especially once they had kids (the kiss of death for creativity) and have even said so. They shouldn't be on anyone's Must list except for nostalgia.

It's far inferior to Gunnerkrigg Court these days.
 

SecondPrize

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Mar 12, 2012
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Are you suggesting Adventure Time looks good or does the comic look radically different from the show?
 

DoPo

"You're not cleared for that."
Jan 30, 2012
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So, a day and a half later, I still don't see recommendations for all the web comics I follow. Which is a bit odd, I the missing ones were slightly more mainstream. Then again, I do think they lean towards the niche. So here are the ones I follow and haven't been mentioned so far:

Goblins [http://www.goblinscomic.org/] - So, it's about goblins from D&D and the adventurers that try to kill them for XP. It starts off as mostly a gag a strip with the occasional reference to older strip but otherwise loose continuity, however it evolved into having continuity, mostly to build up on the jokes by reintroducing characters and elements from old strips, for example. And then later on, it gets dark. While it would still make jokes here and there, the core subject matter it tries to tackle is more serious with the "wacky" goblins being established as relatable characters but also hunted down brutally and being subject to all sorts of perils. I definitely really like Goblins, if you want story based comics, then you just need to go through the beginning and it's good. If you're only after roleplaying jokes, like the dwarf cleric whose deity is the actual DM of the campaign, then feel free to start it and drop it if things get too serious for you. If you're like me and like both - just read all of it.

Weregeek [http://www.weregeek.com/] - it's about a normal guy who turns into a geek at fool moon. Well, that's how it starts anyway - it's almost dropped later on. Basically, normal guy gets into tabletop RPGs and LARP and other geeky things. The story would show him and his new friends outside of the gaming sessions a lot but also during gaming, the perspective is that of their characters. They also play various different games. It's just all around entertaining. Maybe less so if you're not into RPGs.

The Noob Comic [http://thenoobcomic.com/] - actually the first webcomic I ever started to follow. It's set inside a very generic MMORPG called Clichequest with mostly the comic mostly focusing on jokes about MMORPGs. It takes them to the extreme for extra fun, like the idea that Paladins are OP because all the protection they have is apparently because the Paladin's dream is that one day the world would be no more, but they can just sit in space and endure. It's quite funny at many points and it's a rather good satire of the entire genre. Sadly, it's not been updated regularly any more. We probably get, like, 3 new strips a year. At any rate, worth checking if you want some laughs about MMORPGs.

Vampires Suck [http://www.riotamot.com/vampire/] - it's a comic about Vampire the Masquerade. It's a brilliant take on it...well, not that it has much competition but still. You don't really need to know Vampire to enjoy it, as it doesn't involve the mechanics like other RPG webcomics do - it's purely told in-universe. It's story based and...well, goes all over the place, I can't really summarise it easily. What I can say, is that it delivers some brilliant lines like


Sadly, the comic is not updated any more but the ride is enjoyable while it lasts.

Memento Vivere [http://mementov.com/comic.php] - OK, if anything, this would be the competition of Vampires Suck. It's the second Vampire the Masquerade webcomic I know of. I don't know of any others. So...yeah - not a lot of VtM webcomics around. I really dig the artstyle of Memento Vivere. Unfortunately, for quite a while it wasn't really updated often - on par with The Noob Comic. Relatively recently it did start updating more often but I've not actually followed it since. I am waiting to see if it would stay that way but I'll catch up either way. At any rate - another story based in-universe piece. Unlike Vampires Suck, it doesn't focus on jokes as much.
 

Luminous_Umbra

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Sep 25, 2011
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*Scans comments...and just sees an off-hand mention*

So, it's fallen to me then?

Ok then.

Ahem...

PARANATURAL

Put simply, the comic's about a town, Mayview, inhabited by many spirits and those capable of seeing and interacting with them, spectrals. Our hero(?), Max, has to try and figure out how to deal with becoming a spectral and the pressures that come with it, whilst also dealing with the differing pressures of moving to an entirely new place, on top of the other sinister goings-on in this strange town...

(If this, or anything you find when starting seem familiar, the author draws inspiration from more than a few sources.)

What sets Paranatural apart from so many webcomics are a couple of factors.

First, the art style and how gorgeous it has become. If that page above impressed you, that's pretty similar to recent comics in terms of quality.

Secondly, the characters. Perhaps a bit of bias on my part, but I love the sheer range of characters and their differing personalities/outlooks/etc. Your mileage may vary, of course.

Thirdly, the story. Despite drawing from some sources, the story it brings is very much more than the sum of its parts. To put it simply, Paranatural is one of very, very few webcomics I still read and actively look forward to reading, in same way one looks forward to the next episode in a show, or the next game in a series, and so on.

10/10 webcomic, right here. [http://www.paranatural.net/]
 

Imre Csete

Original Character, Do Not Steal
Jul 8, 2010
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I'm just sayin' DM of the Rings by Shamus Young is cool, and it inspired Darths&Droids, which is hillarious and still going to be with us for a while, if Disney indeed makes SW movies at an insane rate.
 

shirkbot

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Apr 15, 2013
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RE: Dr. McNinja

The article didn't mention this and I didn't find any comments about it so here's a little bit of extra information:

The series creator has said that he feels that this is the time to end Dr. McNinja so he doesn't burn out on it. As such, the final arc began about two weeks ago.

I'm sad to see it go, but it's had a heck of a run and anyone that wants to read it should definitely give it a look. Heck, if you start now, you can probably catch up in time to read the ending as it happens.
 

Remus

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Nov 24, 2012
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GUComics is still around, though similar to Penny Arcade it has gotten somewhat curmudgeony with the addition of Woody's family. There are some gems still to be found there however.
 

Myria

Sanity Challenged
Nov 15, 2009
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Argon Zark [http://www.zark.com/] is always what I think of when someone says "classic webcomics".

Though I'm sure it's been an eon since it was updated, it was the first one I ever read. Back when 1.44meg floppies and 14.4K modems were still a thing and dinosaurs still roamed the earth...
 

JimB

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oldtaku said:
It's far inferior to Gunnerkrigg Court these days.
This is not an opinion. It is a tautology. All things that are not Gunnerkrigg Court are inferior to Gunnerkrigg Court.
 

RJ 17

The Sound of Silence
Nov 27, 2011
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Smilomaniac said:
No Sluggy Freelance? Words cannot express my disappointment.
I read Sluggy for over a decade, finally stopped last summer. After over 10 years I finally...finally got tired of a story based entirely upon cliffhangers that don't get resolved for 3 weeks because Pete has the habit of splitting his cast into (at least) 2 groups so he can bounce back and forth between the two of them.

Finally I just...sorta...didn't check out the comic one day...and I haven't looked back since. :p

Edit: Oh, and also it had been way too long since Oasis had made an appearance.
 

ravenlordhun

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Jun 27, 2012
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Ha, I'm reading/have read most of the list. Guess I'm more maintstream than I guessed!

I'd nominate Freefall [http://freefall.purrsia.com/] to earn a place on it myself though.

This one's old. As in, pretty dang old. Thank god for that too, as the story moves GLACIALLY slowly. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it's also written by an actual engineer and features probably the most proper science fiction I've seen in any webcomic to date. Also some great satire on corporate culture, just as it deserves. :)

Word of caution: features a single anthropomorphic wolf if you're allergic to that sort of thing.

Edit: checking the archive, the first strip is from the March of 1998. Yikes. This comic would be legally eligible to vote in most parts of the world.

008Zulu said:
I always like the series DM of the Rings. One of the best LOTR parodies out there.
Uncertainty-Lich never gets old!
 

Zombie_Fish

Opiner of Mottos
Mar 20, 2009
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Since the article mentions the votey -- aka the little red button -- at the end of SMBC comics, it's also worth noting that Zach recently started including hidden text when you mouse over the comics as well.

And to keep the recommendations coming I'm going to recomend Extra Ordinary [http://www.exocomics.com/]; The amazing and adorable adventures of Li, her boyfriend Jordan and their cat Shoelace.