Webcomics - Part I
It all began about six years ago with an issue of PlayStation magazine. Featured inside was the comic Penny Arcade, which detailed the mad escapades of gamers Tycho Brahe and Jonathan Gabriel. It was my first gaming comic, and it piqued my interest enough to venture onto their website. My exploration soon lead to other gaming webcomics, and then to non-gaming webcomics. I've been a fan of the medium ever since.
What makes webcomics so great? I'm sure there's more than one right answer, but I think it has something to do with niche marketing. A syndicated comic published in thirty different newspapers has to be funny in a very general way. An obscure reference would pass over the heads of most readers. Webcomics usually target a specific audience; if Ctrl+Alt+Del makes a joke about Samus Aran, they can safely assume that their audience will understand the reference. Web-syndicated comics also benefit from fewer controls. Without editors and censors, the artist has the final word as to the content of their strip.
To show my appreciation for this fantastic medium, here are a few short profiles of some of my favorite webcomics (in glorious alphabetical order). For each I've included a short description and a link to at least one strip that is definitely worth reading. Without further ado:
The Bad: It has yet to strongly distinguish itself from all the other video game themed webcomics.
Worth reading: Over The Top
The Bad: The comic has been on hiatus since September 2006. We can only hope that Dale Beran and David Hellman choose to pick it up again soon.
Worth reading: Morning, Sleepy Head!
The Bad: Updated rarely (every ~2 weeks) and occasionally relies on clichés.
Worth reading: Lost Time
The Bad: A hit-or-miss affair, the story arcs are usually better than the individual comics.
Worth reading: Sweet Nothings
The Bad: Some scientific references may be hard to understand, but hit up Wikipedia and use this as a chance to learn something new.
Worth reading: Lil' Werner
Tracy Butler: "It's mostly just a device I like to use for characterization. The mobile ears, tails, and big eyes help me emphasize gesture and expression more than I could with human characters, they allow me to be as ridiculous as I like, and, well, they're just plain fun to draw." This is no exaggeration; her character's facial features are quite simply the best I've ever seen. Combine that with incredible artwork, great characters and fantastic dialogue and you've got one of the most underrated webcomics ever. Check it out!
The Bad: Updates are infrequent, but considering the quality of the artwork, this is entirely forgivable.
Worth reading: Brouhaha
The Bad: Like most gaming webcomics, the jokes are usually hit or miss.
Worth reading: Dec 25
The Bad: Of all the webcomics I've profiled in this post, this one is updated the least frequently. A few months between comics is standard.
Worth reading: Explanation
The Bad: I haven't been reading it long enough to judge.
Worth reading: Frozen Fresh Bonus Pack
The Bad: Updates are unfortunately sporadic.
Worth reading: Thankless Toil
Stay tuned Friday for 10 more webcomic recommendations in Webcomics - Part II!