Webcomics have a special place in my heart. They made up a decent portion of my online experience in high school, and along with books and anime, gave me something beautiful and hopeful to hold onto when everything else in my life at that rather dark period didn’t seem to make sense. I stopped reading them once I hit college, but lately I’ve noticed a resurgence of the medium on my docket. To say it’s the side effect of my burgeoning interest in comics wouldn’t be farfetched, but in any case it’s nice to see them around again.
Here are the series that I’ve been following of late.
Lackadaisy by Tracy J. Butler
Tracy Butler is one of those artists whose skill and talent with the pencil seriously blows my mind. The amount of detail and work that go into each page of her series is so astounding, it feels like a crime that we’re able to access it for free*. Lackadaisy is set in Prohibition-era St. Louis, and follows the adventures—or misadventures?—of the Lackadaisy crew, a ragdag collection of bootleggers fighting to keep their heads above water in this cutthroat business. It’s equal parts hilarity and grit, and stocked with some of the most vivacious and decidedly human characters I’ve ever encountered—which is ironic, given there is not a single human being in this series. (Yup, they’re all cats. Anthropomorphized cats.) The artwork is gorgeous, and the script is well-paced and well-written. I highly recommend it.
* Printed copies of Vol. 1 was available for purchase through 4DE, but they seem to have run out. Crossing my fingers that another batch will be issued soon.
Knite by Wenqing Yan
This gorgeously-drawn series follows Sen, a troubled teenager living in a modernizing China fraught with environmental disasters and social problems. Reading this series has been really eye-opening for me. I’ve known about these problems for a while, through news articles and from hearing relatives talk about their own experiences from living in Beijing. But being presented with these issues through the lens of this story somehow made them all the more REAL and personal to me—and consequently, all the more horrific and tragic. Perhaps the greatest tragedy about these issues is not so much that they exist, but that there is no one straightforward solution to them. There’s no magic spell, no CTRL+Z, that can make everything better overnight. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop caring about these issues, that we should shrug our shoulders and just accept this as how things are and how it will always be. Although Sen’s act of flying light-strung kites into the polluted night sky is not a solution to the complex issues at hand, it’s a statement of protest, and ultimately of hope. So long as there are people who refuse to settle for the status quo, who dare to believe that there can be a better future for their troubled nation, there is a chance for that dream to become a reality. It’s not a solution, but it’s a start.
Fisheye Placebo by Wenqing Yan
Another gorgeously-drawn series by Wenqing Yan. This story takes place in a fictional city under the thumb of a totalitarian government. Censorship laws are harsh, and citizens are constantly under surveillance. But revolution is brewing and young Vance’s apathetic lifestyle is challenged when he becomes involved with a team of underground rebels working to overthrow the oppressive government.
Only the first chapter and the beginnings of the second have been released thus far, but the series is already proven to be riveting and thought-provoking. It goes without saying that the subject matter is timely and relevant, given the number of uprisings and government-aimed protests that have been popping up globally in the last four years. It’s troubling to think about the state of unrest in our present time, but I think it’s worth looking into and figuring out where you stand. I for one have been pretty bad about staying informed with current events and issues. It’s far easier to stay oblivious to the harsher realities of our world, especially when it’s not happening at our front door. But to hole up in our hamster balls of relative affluence and comfort isn’t going to do anyone any good. Whether we like it or not, this is the state of the world. What are we going to do about it?
JL8 by Yale Stewart
The Justice League as 8-year-olds. Pretty much all you need to know about this awesome, rib-tickling series.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
For whatever reason, I didn’t think that I would like this series when I came upon it some weeks ago. But once I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. It’s just plain fun. And it’s funny as it is endearing. (Ballister is a big ol’ softie amirite?)
HarperCollins has picked up the series, and according to Stevenson we’re looking at a 2015 release date—to which I say AWW YISS. What’s better than a not-so-bad-guy and his spunky, unpredictable, shape-shifting sidekick? A not-so-bad-guy and his spunky, unpredictable, shape-shifting sidekick IN PRINT.
The Fox Sister by Christina Strain and Jayd Aït-Kaci
Set in South Korea in the 1960s, The Fox Sister is the story of Yun Hee, a young mudang on the hunt for the fox demon who gruesomely slaughtered her family seven years ago. The story is compellingly told through beautiful artwork and a tight script. The cast is also lovable. There is Soot Bull, Yun Hee’s adorable black jindo. And Alex, an endearing American veteran with whom Yun Hee strikes up an unlikely friendship. The series is relatively new, with only two chapters released so far, but I’m already hooked.
Also, have I mentioned how the artwork sometimes makes me want to hate myself?
Home Is Where The Internet Is by Natalie Nourigat
I’ve only just discovered this series today (thanks to One Night Stanzas), but IT IS SO GREAT U GUYS. Basically, it’s a visual diary of Nourigat’s travels across Europe. It’s funny as it is enlightening. And the artwork is great.
Readers — do you follow webcomics? What are some of your favorite series?