I like to read webcomics. My interest started in undergrad, and, over time, I have come across and started following many, some of which I follow almost compulsively. Seriously, I have “webcomic time” worked into my daily schedule. I have a lot of respect for many of these artists and storytellers, who not only create something, but put it out on a very public domain. I have learned a lot about art and story-telling them Still skeptical? I thought I’d give you a taste of what’s out there by listing off a few of my favorites.
1. The Zombie Hunters (Jenny (Romanchuk) Adams)
Volume One Cover, copyright Jenny Romanchuk
I think I have been reading this one for as long as I have been reading webcomics. The story is set in a post-zombie outbreak world, and the survivors must strive to eak out an existence for themselves. The main focus is a team of zombie hunters on their missions and personal trials.
I really admire the artwork–it’s gorgeous, very detailed, and accurately reflects the situations. The storytelling is excellent–it is a gritty world, and, over time, Romanchuk’s story-telling and characterization has grown to reflect that.
2. Girl Genius (Phil and Kaja Foglio)
This wild and crazy comic is a fun mix of adventure, romance, and mad science! Set in a slightly altered Europe, it follows the story of Agatha Heterodyne, who discovers that she is a “spark”–an individual with almost supernatural creative and scientific abilities, with a bit of madness thrown in for good measure–as well as the last living heir of the Heterodyne family, a Spark family with a reputation for brilliance and madness in equal doses. Throughout the course of the story, Agatha, with the help of her new friends, followers, and love interests, comes into her family inheritance and her abilities.
I really have loved watching Agatha grow in confidence and generally as a character. Check out earlier parts of the comic, and you shall see what I mean. I am also a huge fan of the developments of the artwork. The plot is not well-knit as, say, The Zombie Hunters, it is still extremely fun and tends to be extremely funny, as many of the characters and their reactions to situations provide comic relief.
3. Wapsi Square (Paul Taylor)
Monica, with her demons
The description of this comic is “supernatural slice-of-life”, and it works. It follows Monica Villareal, an anthropologist with a huge rack and some powerful inner demons. The comic follows her and her friends–including three golems and a demon barista–as they deal with the supernatural problems of the world as well as their personal tribulations.
It took me awhile to adjust to the art style, but it’s really grown on me. What I love most though is the characters–Taylor has done a superb job of creating well-rounded, strong female characters. Additionally, the manifestation of the demons further aids these character explorations. I frequently like to re-read the archives in order to relive my favorite parts.
4. The Phoenix Requiem (Sarah Ellerton)
Nurse Anya Katsuvoka finds a well-dressed man in the snow during All Soul’s Eve. After she nurses the greviously injured Jonas Falkner, Anya finds her comfortable, if slightly dull, world turned topsey-turvey as Jonas lands in it feet first. Anya is charmed by the charismatic man, but others find him suspicious. Indeed, there is something odd about the mysterious young man. However, there is a plague, and Anya, who wishes to be a doctor, wants to do something to save her village and everyone she holds dear. As their affection deepens, Jonas and Anya must face everything together. This story has ended, but the archives are still up for enjoyment.
I think the main thing that took me in initially was the art; it is absolutely gorgeous, and I suggest you read the comic for that reason alone. Additionally, Ellerton did a marvelous job with the setting and plot. She has incorporated magic very well, yet it does not completely overtake the story. The characters are enjoyable, and the plot is delightfully executed.
Anya and Jonas
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