The Best Webcomics to Follow in 2014 (Part 2)

In part one of this series I recommended some webcomics for you to start reading and following in 2014. Part two features more of the best comics out there on the internet, and I hope you check them out and find something you like. All of the series below are still active and most have been running for at least a couple of years, so there’s loads of webcomic goodness awaiting you! Go and read them and if you find something you enjoy then make sure you show the creator some love!

Once again, I want to say a massive thanks to the writers and artists who not only use their time to make these incredible comics but also took time out of their day to answer my questions.



Civilian by Dustin Parker and Alberto Muriel

Civilian began life in August 2012 as a story inspired by the pulp-fiction magazines that were popular from the 1920s – 1950s.  This means that Civilian's plot is exciting enough to match up to those found in the quick-moving pulp stories, and it makes the comic a definite digital page-turner.

What sets Civilian apart is that Dustin and Alberto have chosen to make their hero an everyman - someone who isn't a caped superhero and who we can all empathise with. In other words, someone we can actually imagine existing in the real world. The guys have just begun on issue 3 of the series so you’re just in time to catch a fantastic webcomic early on as the story develops.

What’s your favourite webcomic (other than your own!)?
Dustin:
It's weird, you read a lot of webcomics until you start making one and then all of a sudden you realize that you barely read them anymore ha-ha. Sticking with the graphic novel/superhero theme, I'd say my favourite would be Hero By Night by D.J. Coffman. It doesn't update much anymore but it's definitely worth a read through.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Dustin
: My favourite graphic novel would have to be “Watchmen.” I try to use as few sound effects as possible in Civilian as a result of reading it. I've read a bunch of the “Invincible” series by Robert Kirkman and I'm really enjoying that but I'm not 100% caught up. I'll be honest; I'm not as versed in the graphic novel world as I'd like to be. It mainly boils down to me be lazy. Especially since I could read everything digitally these days.

What inspired you to create Civilian?
Dustin
: I just felt that there was a hole in the hero world that needed to be filled. So I set out to create a really grounded character that felt real. Batman is a “real person” under the suit...except that he's not. He does things that no person could do, trained or untrained. While the villains in the Civilian universe may end up being skewed more toward the sci-fi/superhero genres, Civilian himself will remain as human as possible. Basically, I wanted to make a character, that doesn't stretch the reader’s imagination too far. “Civilian” is a role that anyone could step into and fill the shoes of if they had to.




Inhuman by Syd Icarus

A thousand years into the future civilisations are being invaded by Rulerism, a religion that, whilst not being completely evil, is still doing enough damage to the world for us to know it is a bad thing. Are you sensing the satire here?

Marker pen artwork, massively original character design and an imaginative vision of the future set this webcomic apart from the others, and the theme of the series is one that is extremely relevant to the world we live in. This is a webcomic that doesn't just have a great story - it also has something to say.

What's your favourite webcomic (other than your own)?
Syd
: I'm a pretty big fan of Monster Pulse by magnolia porter. I also am absolutely stoked to see the revival of leveL by Nate Swinehart. I also enjoy dmfa and Poppy O'Possum.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Syd
: Maus (both 1 and 2) as well as the Tin Tin comics and Akira. There was also a comic called Trailers by Mark Kneece and Julie Collins-Rousseau that I picked up recently that I thought was really excellent. also really anything drawn by Sam Kieth, or anything written by Alan Moore.

What inspired you to create Inhuman?
Syd
: It's dumb but honestly, I wanted something to update my site with every week. Originally inhuman was going to be a book or series of short stories, but I realized that it's next to impossible to get people to sit down and read anything long-form online. I was already drawing the characters a lot, so a comic seemed like a good solution to both problems. I could tell the story in a more web-friendly format, and also have something to update my site with once a week. As to the sci-fi story itself, I just always liked science fiction and had been toying with the characters for years.




Hubris by Greg Cravens

Hubris is the story of Mr. Hubris, a strange individual who makes it his mission in life to make sure he does whatever he wants and that he continually pushes and challenges himself whilst he does it. This doesn't have to mean doing dramatic things like swimming with sharks or climbing Mt Everest; in the beginning of the series we see him dive out of his bedroom window in order to catch the morning paper, only to climb back up to his bedroom using a handgrips attached to the wall of his house. Mr. Hubris can make everyday events like picking up his newspaper exciting.

There’s a message there for all of us in the way that Hubris lives his life and that is: sometimes you have to do the things that make you happy. There’s also another message: don’t use the side of your house as a jungle gym.

What's your favourite webcomic (other than your own)?
Greg
: My favourite webcomics are: Sinfest, SMBC, Reptillis Rex, Scenes From a Multiverse, Girls With Slingshots, Life in the Analogue Age, Wapsi Square, and I'm traumatized by Spacetrawler creeping toward its end. There are more, but the list is already unwieldy, isn't it?

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Greg
: 'My Friend Dahmer' by Derf is top of my list. All the Mignola-illustrated Hellboy, Mark Hempel's Gregory, Hmm… the X-men 'God Loves, Man Kills' was the first graphic novel I ever bought, so I guess it's on the list. I've read Watchmen about a hundred times- does that count? Also, if collections count, I enjoyed 'Bone' very much.

What inspired you to create Hubris?
Greg
: I was inspired to create Hubris when I drove to Birmingham AL to firm up my new duties with Scott Stantis to take over the art on his (at the time) comic strip The Buckets. I had in the truck with me a white water kayak, a bike, a 44" skateboard, and an off-road unicycle besides the tent and sleeping bag. (I was going off for a fun weekend with friends before driving back home) He told me that one of the syndicates expressed a need for an Outdoors strip, and it looked like the kind of thing I could do effortlessly. I agreed. He also told me to keep the syndicate's need a secret, but now I've screwed that up, haven't I?

 Anyhow, I went back and forth with one syndicate editor until I had 150 or so strips all neatly ready, and several hundred pages of crap thrown out... but she didn't yet sound ready to hand me a contract to sign, so I let the project go quiet. Years later, when I discovered how much I loved webcomics, I figured with so many Hubris strips in the can, and no end to what else was possible with the feature, I should start flogging it on the internet. There you go!




The Gallery of Freaks by J2

Many of the webcomics featured both in this article and in part one started life as either primitive doodles on a scrap of paper or were already published works that the creator wanted to continue on the internet. The Gallery of Freaks is different in that it didn't begin as a drawing or illustration; it actually started life on YouTube,

It’s hard to classify Gallery of Freaks. On one hand there is a lot of humour in it. Some of it is surreal and some observational (a highlight for me was: “They say that opposites attract…if the women I date are any indication, I am…the most sane man to have ever lived.”) On the other hand, there is a lot of dark imagery and it is clear that most of what is shown in the comic is autobiographical. So to classify Gallery of Freaks, I would say it is like spending time with a witty and disturbing friend who has a very eclectic imagination. I really enjoyed it.

What’s your favourite webcomic (other than your own)?
J2
: That would probably be experiMental Theatre. The author (-3-) uses the same host that I do, and I found the comic before he even started posting actual comics to it.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
J2
: Anything by Alan Moore. I'm also really fond of the Marvel series Exiles, and have been recently going through the Walking Dead comics. I like graphic novels that have large overarching storylines that can span potentially hundreds of issues.

What inspired you to create The Gallery of Freaks?
J2
: I discovered webcomics shortly after I graduated from high school in 2005, I think the first one I found was The Order of the Stick. I always thought they were a great medium and idea, but I didn't feel like I had the artistic skill draw up a comic several times a week. Then I discovered the comic Rock Paper Cynic and more importantly Peter Chiykowski's other webcomic project "Little Worlds".

After seeing Little Worlds I realized that comics made of manipulated photos can and should have a place online, and are no less artistic or intelligent than comics made of hand drawn stick figures or the cut and paste figures of Ctrl Alt Del. I did some experimentation with Photoshop to figure out how to edit the photos so everything would look relatively consistent in tone and style. With very few breaks(including my current several month long hiatus), I've been making comics ever since.




Spacetrawler by Christopher Baldwin
Spacetrawler is a sci-fi story that is very much character-driven rather than plot, though enough happens in it that even those of you who like their sci-fi stories to be full of ray-guns space battles will still be entertained. Spacetrawler is full of witty humour quite like Hitchhiker’s guide, and any sci-fi fan will have a lot of fun reading it. If you're a Douglas Adams fan or even a fan of science fiction in general you will love Spacetrawler.

What’s your favourite webcomic (other than your own)?
Christopher
: There are various things I love from various places. Girl Genius, Road Apples Almanac, Scenes From a Multiverse, Narbonic, Questionable Content, and so many more.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Christopher
: Again, so much to love! Isaac The Pirate, Rabbi's Cat, Vampire Loves, Hereville, Goodbye Chunky Rice, Anya's Ghost, and many more.

What inspired you to create Spacetrawler?
Christopher
: I had been reading a lot of Science Fiction, classics and modern, and it sounded like fun!




The Fighting Stranger by Adam J. Monetta and Juan Romera

The Fighting Stranger starts with a bout of amnesia and a strange, mask wearing man who needs some answers. It’s a great opening to a comic and it is one that gets you interested straight away. Added to this is the stylistically excellent full-colour illustration which does a great job of making the script come to life. There’s no wonder TFS nearly won a DC webcomic competition.

Adam’s script writing is superb when it comes to moving the plot forward and developing characters, and together with artist Juan Romera they make a great partnership. TFS is so polished in its script and artwork that I find it crazy that it is available for free.

What’s your favourite webcomic (other than your own!)?
Adam
: A few of my favourites include Multiplex, Max Overacts and Corporate Skull. I usually like to scan Inkoutbreak for different webcomics and binge read them.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Adam
: My favourite all time graphic novel is Preacher: Until the End if the World. It was my first time reading a comic that wasn't Spider-Man or X-Men and it blew my mind.

What inspired you to create The Fighting Stranger?
Adam
: I created Fighting Stranger around the time DC Comics had their Zuda webcomic imprint. It got into one of the monthly competitions, but ultimately lost out to a vampire action comic. Even though it lost, I wasn't going to let this story fade into the obscurity of my mind, so Juan Romera and I kept going. I'm hoping to see it go to its finish.




So Your Life is Meaningless by Brad Jonas
A humorous look at some of the more negative parts of life, So Your Life is Meaningless is perfect for people looking to have a laugh at a bad situation. When you read Brad’s sketches you gradually get the idea that 1) bad things do happen in the world and 2) it is absolutely fine, encouraged even, to laugh at them. And that’s a valuable lesson indeed.

Brad's brand of pessimistic humour is refreshing to read for someone who is prone to being quite grumpy. I had a great laugh reading it.

What’s your favourite webcomic (other than your own!)?
Brad
: My favourite webcomic is Gunshow by K.C. Green. He takes it to such unexpected places and I love his style because it seems like he has a lot of fun drawing it, which makes it a delight to read.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Brad
: Some of the first graphic novels I read that really excited me about the medium were Blankets by Craig Thompson, Double Happiness (and various other works) by Jason Shiga, and the Contract With God trilogy by Will Eisner.

What inspired you to create So Your Life is Meaningless?
Brad
: I wanted SYLIM to act loosely as a How To series in the same vein as books with titles like So You'd Like to Quit Smoking or So You've Been Diagnosed With Cancer, but without any actual advice to give. Basically just laughing at a general feeling of helplessness.

I was also inspired by the daily American Elf comics done by James Kochalka and by a panel I saw at the Brooklyn Book festival featuring Craig Thompson, Anders Nilsen, and Adrian Tomine. I loved hearing these great artists with very disparate styles all basically explaining how they got started by just having consistent and dedicated work ethic. So I largely started SYLIM in hopes of simply getting better.




Pandyland by Andy Herd

Pandyland starts out incredibly simplistic artistically and with a comedy style best described as surreal-profanity. As the comic goes on the art improves and the jokes start to become hilarious, mostly because you find yourself getting comfortable with Andy’s peculiar sense of humour.  Not that the comics aren’t funny early on. Most of them are laugh-out-loud funny. For example, there’s something hilarious in a wordless four-frame strip that culminates in the last panel with a man giving you the middle finger.

As I carried on reading Pandyland it dawned on me that this was one of the funniest webcomics I’d ever read. The highlight for me? Where Andy decides to end a comic by writing in the final panel: ‘Well I can’t be bothered drawing anymore so f**k you’.

What’s your favourite webcomic?
Andy
: Overall, I think The Perry Bible Fellowship. It's so consistently good and at the same time explores lot of different styles. An honourable mention goes to Super Mega Comics for showing how funny you can be with two colours and MS Paint.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Andy
: I think I've only read one or two... I can't really remember. I love reading but have never really explored graphic novels. I've done the whole Watchmen and Sin City stuff which were cool but didn't really lead me into anything else... I'm open to recommendations!

What inspired you to create Pandyland?
Andy
: I'd always doodled around since I was young but nothing serious. In my early twenties I got a job that involved a lot of waiting around at a desk late at night, and I started killing time by writing idiotic comics. Eventually that turned into Pandyland! I owe a lot to Gary Larson's The Far Side, Garfield, Viz, and two amazing Scottish comics I grew up with - The Beano and The Dandy.




Ralf the Destroyer by Scott Lincoln


If you like webcomics that have a long over-arching storyline then Ralf the Destroyer is for you. Ralf the Destroyer began as part of a drawing lesson that Scott was teaching in 2004, and ten years later it is one of the best story-driven sci-fi comics out there.

It isn't often that we get a science-fiction story that is told from the alien's perspective. The only thing that springs to mind right now is the Playstation game Destroy All Humans, but that hardly counts. I think Scott's decision to go with an extra-terrestrial protagonist was a brave one, and one that ultimately pays off. If you like science fiction and want to read an epic story with an alien as the main character then Ralf the Destroyer is where you should go.

What’s your favourite webcomic?
Scott
: Ratfist by Doug TenNapel and Moon Town by Steve Ogden come to mind... They have both since ended, but both had organically vivid art styles and engaging story telling. Of course there are many others and they are listed on my site.

What is/are your favourite graphic novel(s)?
Scott
: My first Graphic Novel was The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens and remains one of my all-time favourites because of the sheer mastery of the art form and I have always been a fan of the barn storming era of aviation history. Another Favourite would be Bone by Jeff Smith for its beautiful use of black and white artwork and for its epic drama/comedy based storyline.

What inspired you to create Ralf the Destroyer?
Scott
: I created the character while teaching cartooning techniques to a class. I was assisting on the syndicated strip "Nancy" and was looking to develop a feature for newspaper syndication myself. It occurred to me that I could not recall ever seeing an alien as a lead character in a newspaper comic strip and asked my boss about it, he of course chuckled and said, "You haven't seen one because it's impossible".

Then I remembered a quote by Robert Heinlein, “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.”… so I did. The syndication part is still in progress, but Ralf the Destroyer will appear online until then and beyond.