15 Years of Webcomics (Almost)

Sometime towards the end of elementary school I started reading online comics. Almost fifteen years later I’ve seen death, loss, and the impossible, given life. The highest highs and the lowest lows have been mine to savor or discard on a whim; only to come crawling back like a supplicant to my tempestuous lover. I’ve washed up on the dark shores of ennui and viewed startling vistas just barely out of my grasp. I’ve done it all. And then I’ve done it all again. Once per day.
Come with me intrepid explorers of the mind as we probe the limits of creativity. I shall regale you with tales of tales, a metastory if you will. Where we’re going you’re going to need an attention span of a few more minutes. I present to you: Some webcomics I read.

  • Schlock Mercenary – Space mercenaries go on various adventures which substantially alter the political and economic climate of the galaxy. The main character is a nearly indestructible amorphous fluid. This comic has been going on for nearly 13 years and I’ve been reading it since close to the beginning. As far as I am aware, Howard Tayler hasn’t missed a single day of full color strips, even when his drawing bones were injured. There are some comics I find funnier, and some that I find more exciting, but none that are more professional and consistently good quality.
  • Nedroid – It’s infrequently updated because, as I understand it, Anthony Clark has other priorities and just kinda does a comic when he feels like it. But I love it so much. Everything out of his pen appeals to my sense of humor exquisitely. I follow his tumblr too, just so I can get another little hit of his random doodles. Now that’s devotion!
  • Questionable Content – This is one of the best slice of life comics out there. I like the art style, but it’s really the stories and relatable characters that make me anticipate new comics. It updates with large full color strips 5 days a week and only puts in guest comics or filler a few times a year.
  • Penny Arcade – This is another one of the webcomic behemoths out there and another comic that I’ve been following for close to 15 years. They update three times a week like clockwork with three full color panels. The prime focus is on video games and despite not understanding two thirds of the references, it’s consistently hilarious. I also use it as a news source to keep me apprised of the most notable occurrences in video game news. The two creators make a living off the strip for themselves and, I believe, a small staff and they created a very successful charity and an expo that attracts over 70,000 people.
  • XKCD – I see this stick figure comic shared more than any other so you might already know about it. It largely consists of one off jokes about advanced academic topics and a variety of nerd subcultures with an occasional impressive infographic thrown in. If you follow up on some of the jokes, you can often learn something too.

Comics I No Longer Read
For every comic I follow now, there are probably five that have gone by the wayside. There are all sorts of reasons I stopped though and many of these comics are worth a read. Here are some of the noteworthy ones.

  • Sluggy Freelance – This was my first webcomic and I was a rabid fan of it for most of my webcomic reading career. What happened? Several years ago there was a story arc that didn’t interest me that much and the comic just kinda fell off my radar. I imagine that someday I’ll go back and pick it up again though.
  • Dragon Tails – For years Tim Dawson wrote and drew one of my favorite comics. Sometime around 2004 he went from posting comics every day to only a few times a year. The last comic was in 2010.
  • Girls With Slingshots – I read the entire archives in the span of a few days and had only been following the regular updates for a few months when I decided to transfer all my regularly updated sites to an RSS feed. I couldn’t find an RSS feed for this comic so I just stopped reading it.
  • Megatokyo – Here’s a comic that aggravated me and has never been forgiven. It was a comic I followed in the early years that updated a few times a week. This comic is the whole reason I love comics with reliable update schedules so much. Megatokyo, which has a slow moving plot to begin with, would have an emergency ‘I don’t feel like drawing’ filler fully half the time.  I stopped reading when I could stand it no longer.
  • Narbonic – This was a really great comic about mad scientists. I only stopped reading it because it finished all it’s plot lines and ended. Read it!

What webcomics do you read?

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