Last updated June 7, 2016

I’ve read a lot of webcomics in my time on the Internet. A lot of comics only look to make people laugh, and although that’s a laudable goal, my favorite comics try to do just a bit more. Some are beautifully drawn, some are beautifully written, some are terrifying, some are sweet. The strongest will do a bit of everything, and bring you along for the ride.

Much like web fiction, webcomics are self-published and run on donations, merchandise, and Patreon. Unfortunately, this means good webcomics are hard to find among the sea of alternatives, which can be a death sentence for content creators. Here are webcomics I recommend, in the hopes that it’ll help people keep their light bulbs on for just a bit longer. If not that, then at least you’ll have something interesting to read.

I intend to write more in-depth reviews for some of these comics at a later point. To stop this page from getting too unwieldy, every recommendation must either link to a full blog post review or be at most three sentences long.

Webcomics are broadly classified as story-based or gag-based. You should start story-based ones from the first page to get all the continuity. You should start gag-based ones from the most recent page, because many comics take a while to find their stride.

Comics in each category are ordered roughly by how much I liked them, but every comic on this page is worth checking out.

Table of Contents

Overall Favorites

If you only have time for a few of these comics, read these two. The top story based and gag based webcomic.

Gunnerkrigg Court, by Tom Siddell

Updates: Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Link: here

Don’t let the first page fool you, the art style evolves after chapter into something picturesque. Imagine if Neil Geiman wrote Harry Potter, and you’ll get something close to Gunnerkrigg Court. Blends science, fantasy, mystery, and mythology into a series of standalone chapters and long-running story arcs.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, by Zach Weinersmith

Updates: Every day

Link: here

SMBC is one of the biggest webcomics around, and for good reason. In its quest to make fun of humanity, it pulls material from philosophy, physics, chemistry, math, and economics. Cynical, insightful, and not above doing a dick joke on occasion.

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Story Based

Paranatural, by Zack Morrison

Updates: Tuesday, Friday

Link: here

X-Men meets Ghostbusters but everyone’s twelve years old and a little bit crazy. Much like Cucumber Quest, it wavers between affectionately parodying kid’s adventure/anime tropes and playing them straight. A comedy adventure comic that grows into wonderful art, solid worldbuilding, and fantastic characterization.

Cucumber Quest, by Gigi D.G

Updates: Irregularly, about 2-3 updates a week.

Link: here

If you’ve played the Paper Mario series, you’ll like this comic, because it’s basically Paper Mario in webcomic form. Plays RPG conventions straight while snarking about it all the way. A very clean art style with vibrant characters that pop off the page.

Problem Sleuth, by Andrew Hussie

Updates: N/A, completed

Link: here

Andrew Hussie is much more famous for Homestuck, and even though Homestuck is the better work, I recommend starting with Problem Sleuth to see if you’ll like his style of storytelling. A parody of old school adventure game logic that progresses into a surprisingly awesome JRPG parody. Drives all its humor from internally consistent absurdity.

Homestuck, by Andrew Hussie

Updates: N/A, completed

Link: here

Once called the Ulysses of the Internet, Homestuck is a labyrinthine story set in a world that rewards incredibly deep analysis of its setting. It takes a while to get through the slow starting acts, but eventually you’ll catch yourself asking questions about stable time loops, the rules governing resurrection, and whether the fourth wall can exist if it’s a physical object in the comic. With static images, animated gifs, Flash animations, and interactive game segments, Homestuck is the one webcomic that could only work as a webcomic.

The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, by Chris Hastings

Updates: Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Link: here for the very start, here for the first issue in color. The author suggests starting from the color pages, I disagree.

Dr. McNinja has punched many things, but here are the big four: a giant lumberjack, Dracula, a dinosaur, and a vengeful ghost. Runs on the Rule of Cool, where anything goes if it’s awesome enough, but also takes everything about its world seriously, which makes it bizarrely beliveable. Despite the premise, the comic has surprising emotional heft and continuity; it’s not just about ninjas and explosions.

Darths & Droids, by The Comic Irregulars

Updates: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday

Link: here

What if Star Wars didn’t exist, and the story was actually made up on the fly by a role-playing group and their annoyed yet amused GM? Initially makes fun of D&D clichés and the Star Wars plot, but over time you realize there’s a deeper story around the role-players themselves. Well written and deceptively complex; some events are foreshadowed years in advance.

Lackadaisy, by Tracy Butler

Updates: Irregularly, about 1 update every 2 months. RSS highly recommended.

Link: here

A ragtag band of misfits tries to keep a once thriving speakeasy alive in the city of St. Louis. Oh, and they’re all anthropomorphic cats. Historically accurate, with engaging characters and some of the best art I’ve ever seen (which unfortunately contributes to the very slow update schedule.)

Helvetica, by J.N. Wiedle

Updates: Irregularly, about 1 update every month. RSS highly recommended as well.

Link: here

When you die, you wake up in the afterlife with no memory of your past life, and the first words out of your mouth are your name. Helvetica is a story about how hard it can be to move on and find peace of mind. When death’s the same as life, does the past even matter?

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Gag Based

xkcd, by Randall Munroe

Updates: Monday, Wednesday, Friday

Link: here

I suspect this needs no introduction. A comic about math and science that aims towards a technical audience. Expect lots of commentary on space, physics, and current hot topics in scientific news.

Dinosaur Comics, by Ryan North

Updates: Every weekday

Link: here

A comic where the only thing that changes between each strip is the text. It’s very hard to describe Ryan North’s sense of humor, so you should read it for yourself to see if you like it or not. Lots of silliness, some linguistics, and the occasional analysis of Batman.

PhD Comics, by Jorge Cham

Updates: Irregularly, about 1 update a week.

Link: here

A comic about the adventures of grad students in academia. Meaning, a comic about people failing to do research while questioning why they came to grad school in the first place. It’s all in good fun, except for the parts that hit a bit too close to home.

Nedroid Picture Diary, by Anthony Clark

Updates: Very rarely, the author is busy doing coloring work for other webcomics.

Link: here

The adventures of Reginald the bird, Beartato the bear, and Harrison the shark, as well as a few other characters. The punchlines are short, the humor is very dry, and when it hits, it hits hard. I recommend starting with Party Cat and 200 Bad Comics.

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