Webbing the Comics
Ah webcomics. One of the few things I always come back to. Fads on the web are very fleeting, and typically the world processes them and goes through them faster than a burrito from your local taco shack. Yet I keep coming back, and finding new and exciting ones while I do it. Okay maybe not exciting, but new at least! There exists a short list of my favorites, comics that no matter what I will follow even if I’m on vacation far from my computer. I’ll borrow a computer, look it up on my phone, or call someone just to hear them describe it if I have to. These are some of the best I think the genre has to offer. What follows is five of them and why I think you should check them out.
Penny Arcade – Everyone thought this one was going to be on the list and they were right. This is in every sense of the word a good comic. The creators have taken their success and turned it into a force for good, they give back to charities with Child’s Play and they continue to deliver unbiased, fair, and genuine commentary on the world and the nerd culture we all embrace. There is also the behemoth that is PAX. A con that now happens twice a year, once on the west coast and once on the east coast. A con that is held only for the celebration of gaming and to give us all a place to come together and be ourselves. So often the world stuffs us into roles and corners we have to fit in but might not be completely comfortable with, PAX offers us the chance to live in a world of circles, a chance to just be free.
Least I Could Do – I discovered these guys through another webcomic they did, Looking for Group. I dug LFG and had to check out the LICD link on their page one day. What then transpired was history they say. Well, I say at least. I then read in the matter of a few days the entire run of LICD (this is a lot, I assure you, they’ve been doing this for years and its a daily comic). I now check it constantly, the characters are outlandish and yet hauntingly familiar, it reads like some of my favorite sit coms, never a bad thing. And the way the world is never truly rooted in reality is just plain fun. What this feels like, to me, is Calvin and Hobbes but grown up. This feels like Watterson himself inspired these guys as kids and they took that sense and re-imagined it for a more adult point of view. There are no deep philosophical discussions on sled rides through the woods, but the walks in the park Rayne and co. take are the spiritual successor. There’s also this scholarship program they sponsor for aspiring cartoonists.
Questionable Content – Here’s a wonderful little comic my sister got me hooked on. Being able to go back and read the entire back catalog of this one in a go was also fun. Watching the story and the art progress before my very eyes was a blast. The memorable lines and characters from this one stick around even if you don’t see the characters for a while. I’ve played the game with my friends before “Which character from QC are you?!” (I’m Marten, totally) and that just lends all kinds of credit to the easy to relate to nature of this world, the stories told (I admit I wouldn’t mind dating Marigold), and the characters that they all involve. The music tie-ins that show up constantly are also fun, especially when you get them. If you don’t happen to get them its a good way to introduce yourself to all sorts of new music you might not have found otherwise.
xkcd – This comic. Oh this comic. I almost don’t know what to say other than it is always brilliant. Very rarely does this not get a reaction out of me, be it a laugh, a thoughtful nod, or the urge to just go look up at night for long periods of time and think. The humor is obscure at times, so much so it even sometimes goes over my head. But the times I do get the joke, and really get it, I feel like part of a cool club where only those who grew up in the late 90’s have the chance to get in. Remember the beginnings of the internet? DRM? Then I realize some of this stuff is still going on, and xkcd is still writing about it and I’m happy to allow more people into the club. After all what fun is a club without a bunch of members to enjoy it?
oglaf – WARNING! This one is very very very much not for kids and is very much NSFW. This is a very adult comic involving adult situations and adult humor. You’ve been warned. That being said I love it. The outlandish situations these fantasy setting characters get into are mind-blowing. This is one of the few comics on the list that consistently gets me to laugh out loud, if not in fact do spit takes. Sometimes I have to read the comic a few times as the realization of what is going on takes hold in my head. I’m pretty hard to offend so this comic comes up against a very open mind that can find at least some humor in about anything. The art is actually well done as well, so when the punch line isn’t something deplorable you’ve still got well drawn panels to gander at. This is on the list because of the boundaries it pushes, something I think is important to do occasionally. Push your boundaries, find out where your limits are and test them. You might be surprised what you find to be funny.
There they are. Not a top five list by any means, there are far too many for me to give number values to them. These are just a few of the ones I check without fail and each time I do I tend to come away satisfied. Heck the worst thing about any of theses is waiting for updates now that I’m caught up on all of them.