The Foreword

I admit that I have a bit of a thing for comics. Nearly all cultures have strong traditions of linking stories and art, be it for entertainment or transmitting information. The styles differ tremendously, of course; we write legends into constellations and asterisms, illuminate manuscripts, scrawl on alley walls, and fill cathedrals with elaborate tales in colored glass. Rising literacy rates have not decreased our artistic impulses, but allowed us to more skillfully combine words and images to tell a story.

There are some hugely talented authors and artists out there, and many of them offer their work for free online. My favorites can be found here (if it’s in bold, I couldn’t live without it). All have excellent art, quality stories, and are PG-13 or friendlier, so knock yourself out!

The Goods

  • The Abominable Charles Christopher – This artist seems to combine Waterson, Kelley, Miyazaki, and Lewis, with an element of Hergé. I get a kick out of the advertising skunks.
  • The Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage – Victorian mathematicians ragin’.
  • Battlepug – If you like (or like to disparage) pugs, Tarzanian heroes, and action comic tropes, look no farther.
  • Bird Boy – Gorgeous Norse and Northwestern designs to flesh out solid stories.
  • Derelict – The best in post-apocalyptic boating.
  • Digger – A wombat engineer who dug a tunnel into a different universe and now has to deal with gods, hyenas, and vampire squash, among other things. Now complete, it remains among the best comics out there, and probably my favorite. (up for Eisners this year!)
  • Der Familienvater – Also known as Family Man, this is a great comic about a young scholar out of favor with his own university and religion being given a rather unorthodox second chance.
  • The Forgotten Order – a cursed dreamer and a young witch.
  • Girl Genius – The rip-roaring adventures of a young spark, Agatha Heterodyne, as she takes on Jägers, clanks, mysterious occult forces, and Europe’s overlord (s), sometimes all at once! It’s a Foglio creation, so you know it will be better than good.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court – A wonderfully strange adventure that makes you pull out your Bullfinch’s with regularity.
  • Hark! A Vagrant – Kate Beaton is perpetually amazing.
  • Hero: A Story – Italo Calvino meets Antoine de Saint Exúpery as a young boy goes in search of a city. Gorgeous artwork, enchanting characters, and sensible philosophy. Doesn’t update often, but quite worth the wait.
  • Kaspall – An off-world detective story told in a great idiom. I can’t pigeon-hole it, which tells me it’s doing things right, and it’s drawn by an engineer! Woot! She also has a completely different (yet similarly awesome) comic called Spare Keys for Strange Doors. You should read that, too.
  • Lackadaisy – Bootlegging cats in prohibition St. Louis.
  • A Redtail’s Dream – A delightful story of an exuberant Finnish fox spirit who accidentally stops time, and the boy and his dog who are recruited to set things straight. (This evolved from a daily exercise, so the art is a little sketchier for the introduction.)
  • Runewriters – There’s bound to be a few miscasts. You can’t say it perfectly every time.
  • Thistil Mistil Kistil – fun for the Norse mythologist.
  • Two Keys and Todd Allison & the Petunia Violet– Two lovely titles on mangamagazine.net (which is free, btw). In one, an ex-PI-turned-restaurateur  gets shanghaied into a new investigation by a pretty, manipulative, blonde noir dame. In the other, a girl decides to investigate her introverted biochemist neighbor.
  • Unsounded – Gaht Dang! Amazing story, palpable world, brilliant art, and  all populated with the wildest characters. Not for the faint of heart.

Because I can only write so many introductions, here’s the rest of the eye candy: 

 Bad Machinery , The Bean , Dresden CodakFey Winds  , Monsieur Charlatan , MGDMT , Namesake , Next Town Over , PhD ComicsPower Nap , Shiver Bureau , Skin Deep , Spera , Spindrift (not always PG-13) , Toilet GenieTrue Magic   , Widdershins , The Wormworld Saga

There are also many pretty things completed or on hiatus:

Antagonist , Astray3 , Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name , Kukuburi  , The Locked Maze , The Meek (not always PG-13) , Metrophor & Mixed MythShatterlands , Two Rooks

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