When is a Top 5 not a Top 5. When it is a Top 3 of course. Sally was talking to me the other day about the world of web comics so I asked her to put something on paper. Here are the results (and they come with a warning that there is an element of adult content in all three).
Sally's Top Three Webcomics
Comics aren’t just found in the graphic novel section of your library (or bookshop) or on the funnies page of the newspaper. There is a wealth of comics (of wildly varying quality) out there on the web, and it can be hard to know where to start. So I thought I'd give you a jumping off point and list some of my favourites, should you like to dive into this world of webcomics yourself. This was supposed to be a Top 5 For Friday blog, but while I came up with the top three easily enough, I had trouble narrowing it down for the final two.
So, without further ado, here are Sally’s Top Five Three Webcomics!
1. Bad Machinery by John Allison - scarygoround.com
Bad Machinery tells the stories of three schoolgirl sleuths and three schoolboy investigators, attending Griswalds Grammar School in Keane End, Tackleford. While not exactly enemies, a mixture of pride, mistrust and pig-headedness keep them at cross purposes.
Bad Machinery is a spin off comic of John Allison's previous comic, Scary Go Round, which in turn was a spin-off of Bobbins. I never really read Bobbins, but if you've got plenty of time to kill and your eyes are up to the task of looking at a computer screen that long, I'd recommend going back through the archives of Scary Go Round.
The stories of Bad Machinery are delightfully weird and dosed with just the right amount of fantasy and magic. And while the humour may not be to everyone’s taste, it gets me laughing aloud (or if there are other people around, at least chortling to myself) on a regular basis.
There’s a link on the main page to the start of the current story line, but at this point it doesn’t take long to get through the Bad Machinery archive, and it’s a good idea to do so to get a proper introduction to the characters. Bad Machinery updates every weekday.
2. Hark, A Vagrant! by Kate Beaton – harkavagrant.com
Kate Beaton is hilarious. Of course it helps that her comics tend to be about historical personages or literature or super heroes, which are all things I enjoy myself. If you only read two things of hers, her interpretation of Nancy Drew covers is wonderful, and then there was her reimagining of Peter Parker as the Brown Recluse Spider Man. It makes me laugh just thinking about it. It was a close run thing as to which of Bad Machinery and Hark, A Vagrant! would end up as number one, and Bad Machinery only won because of the serial nature of the stories. Kate Beaton’s comics tend to be stand-alone, which is an advantage too, of course, because it means that you can dip in and out of them as you please. One of the downsides to Hark, A Vagrant! is that it doesn’t have a regular update schedule, but if you follow Kate Beaton on twitter she tweets when there’s an update, and often posts sketches and little journal comics to twitpic between updates. Kate Beaton has also had some of her cartoons published in the New Yorker.
3. Sam and Fuzzy by Sam Logan – samandfuzzy.com
Basically, Sam and Fuzzy is a comic about an ordinary, everyday kind of guy, whose best friend is a walking talking teddy bear. The strip has been running a while now and so much has happened, but most recently, Sam discovered he was the heir to the throne of the Emperor of the Ninja Mafia, which he has taken over, reformed and now uses it to do Good Deeds. Of course, the ninjas who are used to the old way of doing things aren’t so fond of this do-goodery, especially because it means they’re mostly out of work. But Sam and his small band of dedicated employees persevere to do battle with hamsters, robot clones and brand mascots (Fig Pig. Terrifying. Gross). There’s a lot of back story to get through if you’re really keen, but you can start at the beginning of Sam and Fuzzy Fix Your Problem and pick up the thread from there without any worries. A new character gets introduced here, and she makes a good audience surrogate, asking all the questions a newcomer to the comic needs answered. Sam and Fuzzy is updated on regular Mon/Wed/Fri schedule.
Questionable Content by Jeph Jacques – questionablecontent.net
Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran – octopuspie.com
XKCD by Randall Munroe – xkcd.com
Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell – gunnerkriggcourt.com