effex: The path that rocks (The path that rocks)
[personal profile] effex
I found out the other day that [personal profile] bookshop has only just started reading Kate Beaton's history comics. Shock! Horror! And then I had a conversation with [personal profile] cimorene where I tried to push Gunnerkrigg Court and Templar, Arizona on her and I started thinking, what else don't people know about? Clearly it is time for a rec post.

Therefore, I am happy to present for your consideration:

Webcomics I read on a regular basis/subscribe to/devour/etc:




2D Googles
Start reading here | About the comic | Artist's Site

What is this madness? It’s a punchline. As in “Wouldn’t it be hee-larious if there was a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime? Thanks, I’ll be here all week!” The imaginary comic was the punchline to Lovelace: The Origin, drawn because my good buddy Suw Charman got me drunk started a Noble Enterprise called Ada Lovelace Day.

Notes: A fun, sporadically updated comic in which Ada and Charles hang out, argue, invent shit and occasionally fight crime. Heavy on the technical and historical detail. Could be called steampunk.





Family Man
Start reading here | About the comic | Artist's Site

What do scholars, gypsies, Jews, and wolves all have in common? In 1768, they could only find safety in numbers. But belonging to a pack doesn't mean your troubles are over...

Notes: Takes place in the same universe as Dylan's Bite Me! (French Revolution! Vampires!) but with a much more... literary feel. The plot is carefully paced, the characterization is tight, and the writing excellent (<3s it lots). Also, there are werewolves. And vampires. Or there will be, anyway!





Girl Genius
Start reading here | About the comic

Girl Genius is an ongoing "gaslamp fantasy" story by Phil and Kaja Foglio. It started out in 2000 as a periodical comic book and follows the career of Agatha Heterodyne—a hapless student at Transylvania Polygnostic University who discovers that she has more going for her than she thought.

Notes: One of the big names in webcomics, Girl Genius is long running (eight volumes and counting), carefully plotted, and a really great example of divergent history world-building. Contains great characters, political intrigue, mysterious threats, adventure, romance and MAD SCIENCE.





Girly
Start reading here | About the comic

Put simply, Girly is a comic about two girls, and the adventures in the town they live in. It's a story-based comic which is supposed to be sort of funny and romantic from time to time. It contains a lot of people trying to awkwardly live their lives in a really bizarre setting.

Notes: Girly is, well. Wacky. And crass. And flawed. But I love it and have been a loyal reader for years - it's like Saturday morning cartoons with lesbians and dildos. It's almost over (not more then 10 strips left), so new readers won't have to wait long for the complete story.





Gunnerkrigg Court
Start reading here

Notes: I found out about this comic when my brother picked up the first printed volume at our comic book store - it didn't really stick with him (which is strange, this kind of story is right up his alley) but I loved it. It's about a girl, and death, and the borderlands between magic and science, and boarding school, and friendship. It's also about ghosts and fairies and robots and gods and monsters and virtual reality and every other awesome thing you could possibly cram into a single story and still have it make sense. And it does! Gunnerkrigg Court is well written and tightly plotted, with characters I adore. Only problem is it's way too white (and I'm uneasy about Coyote's presence when there aren't any Native American <i>humans</i> around), bah.





Hanna is Not a Boy's Name
Start reading here | About the comic

...it’s about Hanna, a guy who desperately wants to be a paranormal investigator but kind of sucks at it and has a handful of his own problems told by a guy who died ten years ago and seems very lukewarm about it all. That was totally a run on sentence. Mostly, this is about Hanna and his failings and (sometime) successes despite the zombie guy being the one telling the story. It is kind of a story about a person finding themselves because we all have to at one point.

Notes: So, the thing about this story is that writing is pretty weak - the dialogue's okay but the pacing is shaky and everything's just a bit... confusing (see that description? yeah. Like that). But. The <i>art</i>. The art is freaking <i>amazing</i>. The colors and the layout and the anatomy and the typography - EVERYTHING. I will totally put up with weak storytelling for this art. I will <i>buy this book</i> when it goes back on sale for this art. Also, there are zombies (and vampires and ghosts and cranky doctors, and...).





Hark! A Vagrant
Start reading here | About the comic

Notes: Kate Beaton is a very funny lady. A very funny lady with a history degree and artistic talent. Everybody should read her comics, it should be a requirement. You might even learn something!





Lackadaisy
Start reading here | About the comic

A. It's about a gang of tenacious (if not shady) characters running a St. Louis speakeasy in the era of Prohibition. I suppose it falls somewhere in the realm of historical fiction, parody, dark comedy, and abject nonsense.

Notes: Looking for a prohibition era comic that's painstakingly researched, lushly detailed, well written, amazingly drawn, and all the characters are anthropomorphic cats? Lackadaisy is the comic for you.





SFEER Theory
Start reading here | About the comic
PREMISE (n.) : Sfeer Theory is the biography of a semi-immortal wizard named Balzac whose duty is to uphold and guard an empire, by way of a magical version of Atlas. The Uitspan Era addresses the beginning of his livelihood, and the Uitspan Age addresses the possible end of it.

Notes: Okay, there are admittedly only four pages of this comic up so far and the updating is pretty sporadic. But the potential is there, the art is amazing, and both the artist and author are long-time favorites of mine, so I'm crossing my fingers this'll get off the ground (unlike, uh. their last comic.)




Shortpacked!
Start reading here | About the comic
Shortpacked! follows Ethan, Amber, Ninja Rick, and Ronald Reagan as employees at Shortpacked!, a toy store run by a man named Galasso with plans for global conquest. Joining the cast from Willis' previous comic It's Walky! are former SEMME agents Robin DeSanto and - although he was supposed to be dead - Mike Warner.

Notes: I'm not sure I actually like this comic (notice it's not linked on my sidebar like the rest of these) but it's like an occasionally amusing sitcom that's always on while you're cooking dinner (overly specific analogy is overly specific) - it's there (on your lj feed) and you're used to it so you watch it. It's about toys and retail and comics and is mostly not bad, really (except for Faz. Faz is bad, straight up)! I just wouldn't want any of the characters over for dinners. Except maybe Leslie. And whatshisface, Jacob, the new guy. Anyway.





Templar, Arizona
Start reading here | About the comic

This isn’t the Arizona you’re probably thinking of. This is a different Arizona. This is a slightly irregular Arizona that fell off the back of a truck somewhere, and now all the power outlets are a weird shape and a couple of wars never happened.

Templar’s populated with junkies, fuck-ups, pretty girls, millionaires, hockey teams, weird religions, dumb subcultures, and people in love. So it’s a lot like the cities you might already be familiar with, except the air there gives you Miner’s Lung and nobody has a cell phone.


Notes: My favorite webcomic (and one of my favorite comic-comics), hands down. Passes the Bechdel Test and Deggan's Rule on a regular basis, ridiculously clever world building, great (flawed) characters, great storytelling, no punches pulled. If you give one comic on this list a chance, make it Templar.





The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal
Start reading here | About the comic | Artist's site

In the span of a single day, Amal calls off his arranged marriage, comes out to his conservative parents, promptly gets disowned, goes on a bender... and wakes up the next morning to find TJ, a lanky, dreadlocked vagrant, frying eggs and singing Paul Simon in his kitchen.

TJ claims that the two have made a drunken pact to drive all the way from Berkeley to Providence. As it happens, Amal promised his sister he'd be there for her graduation from Brown University. And TJ, well... TJ has his own reasons.

The agreement is simple: Amal does the driving; TJ pays the way - but a 3500 mile journey leaves plenty of time for things to get complicated.


Notes: Man I am so looking forward to this ride, you have no idea. The artist's been working on it forever (currently finishing chapter 13, though it's only up to 6 on the site) and it's really exciting to see it up for reading. Lovely art, interesting characters, and a lot of tough issues to tackle (we'll see how she does - here's hoping!).





xkcd
Start reading here | About the comic

Notes: I feel kind of silly listing this. xkcd: it owns the Internet! And is about math and computers and geekery and life and things.

Webcomics I check every once in a while/wait to read in chunks:

A Softer World
Start reading here | About the comic

A Softer World is a comic that was created by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau so that people would recognize them as important artistic geniuses. Sometimes the "comic" is sad or harsh. It should be noted that this is in the tradition of George Simenon's 'romans durs' (or 'hard novels') and not in the lesser traditions of comics like Peanuts or anything else not French.

Notes:


Bayou

South of the Mason-Dixon Line lies a strange land of gods and monsters. Born from centuries of slavery, civil war, innocent bloodshed, hate and strife lurks a world parallel to our own.

Notes: I really love this story (own the first print volume and everything) and would love to read it on a regular basis. But. The website is the shoddiest, glitchiest, most overly complex reading system <i>ever</i> (shakes fist at Zuda) and I hates it, my precious. Haaaaateeeeessss it.

[cough] That said, it really is an amazing story.


Darths and Droids
Start reading here | About the comic

Darths & Droids is an "RPG screencap comic".
  • RPG - The characters in our comic are roleplaying game (RPG) players. The Game-Master (GM) guides the players as they take the roles of characters on a quest in a science-fiction universe.

  • Screencap - Our visuals come from screencaps (still frames) of Star Wars movies.

  • Comic - This means it's funny. We hope.

Notes: Episodes I-III of Star Wars as an RPG being played by a bunch of geeks. Makes much more sense this way. Some jokes might be lost if you've never done tabletop gaming (or listened to Dungeons and Dragons by the Dead Alewives)


KinkoFry
Start reading here | Artist's site

Notes: A fun, beautifully drawn and colored, non-sensical comic about the days and lives of mushrooms. Good for mellow moods and killing an afternoon.


Nendroid
Start reading here | About the comic

Notes: I have no idea what this comic is about but it sure is fun to read.


Pictures for Sad Children
Start reading here | About the comic

pictures for sad children is written and drawn by john campbell. it is pretty okay. it is about a bad feeling you get when you are feeling good, or a good feeling you get when you are feeling bad. may not be appropriate for sad children.

Notes: The second part is a lie - not good reading if you're already feeling bad. It's not <i>super</i> depressing, just... cynical.


The Non-Adventures of Wonderella
Start reading here | About the comic

Basically I am the raddest and best superhero ever. Here are my stats/powers: Super strong, super durable, super hott, and I can totally jump hella high. Also I have met almost the whole cast of the old sitcom Wings, and I can tell the difference between an apple and a potato when I get a stuffy nose (most people cannot).

Notes: Wonderwoman parody of great lulz.

Webcomics I keep meaning to read:

Bad Machinery
Start reading here

Bad Machinery is my new comic. It is son of Scary Go Round in the same way that Scary Go Round was son of Bobbins.


Demonology 101
Start reading here | About the comic | Artist's site

An online comic about high school and other forces of evil. (Complete story. I read this back when it was running, but it's been 6 years and it's time for a reread.)


Dice Box
Start reading here | About the comic

Dicebox is a story to be told in four books for a total of 36 chapters that plays out an eventful year in the lives of Griffen and Molly, a couple of female itinerant factory workers in a space traveling future.


GastroPhobia
Start reading here | About the comic

The real-life adventures of a barbarian warrior from Amazonia and her son living in Ancient Greece, roughly 3408 years ago. I did a lot of research to make this comic as accurate as possible.


Hereville
Start reading here

Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl comic.


Octopus Pie
Start reading here | About the comic

Octopus Pie is an ongoing comic series about two women living in Brooklyn, NY - their jobs, social circles, and some problems.


One Thousand Pages of Overside
Start reading here (Rice Boy) | Start reading here (Order of Tales) | About the comic

Rice Boy is a brightly colored and surreal fantasy adventure story.

Order of Tales is the second comic from Overside. It takes place hundreds of years before Rice Boy, in an age lost in lore many centuries older still. It builds upon the world and developed in Rice Boy but is a self-contained work.
(I've read all of Rice Boy and have complicated feelings about it - it's beautiful and strange and well told but it's also needlessly, obviously lacking in women ((and the, like, two that are there are stereotypes)). I'm worried Order of Tales will be the same way.)


Sorcery 101
Start reading here | About the comic

Sorcery 101 follows the adventures of Danny Gunn, a chainsmoker who is trying to learn sorcery. After he finishes up are his day job as a highschool history teacher, Danny visits Pat, an angsty vampire, who has been forced into instructing Dannys magic lessons by Seth, an old sophopathic vampire whom Dannys life is magically bond to. Between this and helping his geeky werewolf friend Brad and his mage friend Ally take care of their daughter Rebecca, Danny has his hands full.


The Intrepid Girl Bot
Start reading here | About the comic

Girlbot lives in a big house in a world with no people, just forest critters and other robots. But she’s unique, and therefore, alone. She’s on a constant quest to be a “good girl,” whatever that really means. Despite living with a few other robotic companions, she’s still isolated and reaches out to others in her own awkward way.


Tiny Kitten Teeth
Start reading here | About the comic

Tiny Kitten Teeth is a hand painted online comic that updates at least three times a week. The comic follows the slice-of-life adventures of Mewsli, a fish out of water in Owltown, a compact metropolis built around a particularly affluent arts college. (The art on this one is amazing.)

Artist pages/other cool things:

Lucy Knisley's art and short comics

The wonderful, creepy, creepy short comics on deadmouse.net

Jess Fink's work, especially Chester 5000 XYV (not worksafe), which you apparently can't get to from the main page.

Erika Moen's work, especially DAR (which just finished). She's got another comic in the works, I am super excited.

On NPR -
Webcomics: An Annotated Guide for the Understandably Perplexed

Brigid Keely -
Webcomics not about White, underachieving 20 year olds


Edit: So, what are you folks reading?

Date: 2010-02-25 03:47 am (UTC)
mllesays: John Singer Sargent painting (c-mu // pink-haired and pretty (what?))
From: [personal profile] mllesays
So much good stuff listed here! Some I read passionately (Babbage and Lovelace!), some I need to check back in with, some I've never heard of. Thank you for putting together such an awesome list!

Stuff I love that's not listed here:

Dresden Codak
Weird and way too gorgeous to be believed. Doesn't have an official summary, but here is the main character's bio: Kimiko Ross: Autodidactic Robot-Girl. Prone to meddling, folly, and stumbling upon alternate spheres of existence. Began a love affair with science at an early age, which led to stuffishness, affronts to nature and poor grooming. Recently devised advanced self-prostheses following a spat with time-colonists. Inventor of the quantum detangler, polio 2 and the nostalgia gun. Uncomfortable with Asian heritage.

Also, has a whole comic about alternate prehistory fanfic.


Johnny Wander
Johnny Wander might be about life after college, being a kid, growing up and all the people you meet and all the things that happen in that brave new world.

Or it might be about something else entirely.


Really it's about the unbearably adorable lives of Yuko and Ananth, and now their new kitten.

Edited Date: 2010-02-25 03:47 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-25 01:12 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (pic#426322)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
God, I love you so much for putting together this list! (You've also managed to pick my favourite "Hark! A Vagrant" comic of those that I have seen. Kind of humming along to "... you give love a bad name ...")

Other than xkcd, I actively read Penny Arcade, because as far as gaming goes, I'm a casual mainstream gamer (RPGs, adventure, the occasional sim/strategy game), and this tends to cover the games I play. Humorous representation of a game's/the industry's faults? Win.

I regularly check Unshelved for new comics. It's a comic by librarians primarily for librarians, and Gene and Bill (mostly Gene) offer book and comic recommendations as an extra. Some of the jokes are very specific, or rely on a rudimentary knowledge of working in libraries, but I think it's still pretty universally funny.

Sometimes, I go over to Three Panel Soul. It's all over the place, but it can be very funny, and the art quality is high even in the earliest comics.

I used to read Boy Meets Boy, which has since ended, but is still worth a read. It can be found over at Keenspace - Keenspace, you guys!
Edited Date: 2010-02-25 01:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-25 04:44 pm (UTC)
bookshop: illustrative art of a red-headed girl helming a steampunk airship, facing the wind, eyes closed. (Default)
From: [personal profile] bookshop

omg THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST. i am replying to Z too because, shit you not, every single comic i was going to mention in addition to this one, she has mentioned before me.

Except for Warren Ellis's gorgeous steampunk comic, FreakAngels, and Hurricane Party, which was a shortlived Keenspace (Keenspace!!!) comic done by one of my oldest online friends, [profile] theballoons.

Date: 2010-02-25 04:52 pm (UTC)
zanzando: (pic#426241)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
Laughing so hard right now.

Brain twin high five!

ETA: Also, Sinfest.
Edited Date: 2010-02-25 08:44 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-02-26 12:40 am (UTC)
zanzando: (pic#426254)
From: [personal profile] zanzando
I agree re: PA getting things wrong sometimes. But gaming is a notoriously polarizing topic! Anyhow, I kind of feel like I witnessed Gabe's art skills evolving over time, which takes it a step further for me? Like, loyalty-wise? [More of a positive gut-feeling really.]
Oh, and Precipice of Darkness is great, you should so give in. Uh, not that I'm an enabler or anything. You know. >_> <_<

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