The Internet is the birthplace of innovation in our modern era and nowhere is this more true than in the cultural realm. Comics are no exception and have experienced exponential change and development since the first comics began to hit the Web. This article will focus on five of the best comics currently being produced. In Order:
5. Starslip, by Kris Straub – Starslip, previously Starslip Crisis, is a comic set in a far future where Earth is greatly changed (for example, Japan has left the planet and is now a planet of its own). Following the epic story of MemnonVanderbeam, formerly the curator of an art museum (set aboard a spaceship) and now the captain of the fleet’s greatest ship, we follow the crew on their quirky adventures. Vanderbeam is pretentious and snooty, yet lovable all the same. The art is a bit questionable, but the comic is still a top 5.
4. 8Bit Theater, by Brian Clevinger- 8Bit follows the adventures of four shady “heroes”: Fighter, Thief, Red Mage, and Black Mage. The antics and humor are constantly absurd and constantly hysterical. The characters are absurdly one-dimensional and the writing reveals in it. The banter amongst them provides a number of humorous running gags such as Black Mage attempting to bring harm to his “friends”, Fighter attempting to create “sword-chucks”, and Red Mage’s keen interest in cross-dressing. These four, along with a cast of hundreds, will keeps you rolling on the floor. Do be warned though- the plot stalls more often than a manual transmission in the hands of a teenager.
3. Looking for Group, by Ryan Sohmer and Lar Desouza – Looking for Group is an-going adventure in the realm of fantasy. Let me start by saying that I can in no wise view the writer and artist’s other project (Least I Could Do) without experiencing some truly incredible feeling of nausea. However, their efforts in making Looking For Group are very nearly perfect. The story is one which shows a great amount of direction. All events seem to build on one another as they continue moving to advance the plot. The story’s background is as challenging for the reader as that of any novel and the characters’ backgrounds are quite intriguing. Richard the Warlock (and mayor a little village up the coast) is a character you’ll come to love! Lar Desouza’s beautiful artistry is quickly becoming amongst the best – and I don’t just mean on the web.
2. PVP, by Scott Kurtz – PVP is a witty and incisive comic which makes a running commentary on all things video game, pop culture, and day-to-day life. The characters: Brent, Cole, Jade, Richard, and Skull are deeply personal, empathic characters that we can all relate with. From Cole’s insecurity to Brent’s relationship bungling we understand and feel the joys and frustrations that the characters feel. At times the plot is a bit campy and reads like an 80’s sitcom, but then Kurtz will bring out a new invention (such as LOLBat) and get you belly-rolling again. The art has made great strides in the last year.
1. Sheldon, by Dave Kellet- Sheldon is a Watterson-esque comic about a 10-year old billionaire, his talking duck, his grandfather, and their pet lizard. The comic’s dirth of sarcasm and slice-of-life commentary will keep you onlineeveryday, looking for more. The comic also makes many references to pop-culture in its daily update. From showing us Star Trek: The Musical to the recurring Super Man II villains, the comic is always ready with a new twist. The art is as simple as it is graceful. For my money (of course, webcomics are free) you can’t do much better then Sheldon.