I like webcomics because they’re so easily consumable. All you need to do is go to a web page on the Internet, and you’re going to be entertained for hours. Most webcomics don’t come with the baggage of comic books. There’s no 50-year-old history to keep track of, easter eggs to find, footnotes to devour or multiple parallel universes to figure out. Someday I want to get started reading real comic books, but until then webcomics will do just fine.
And to me, a geek who isn’t exactly social, webcomics provide a strange peeping hole to a different world. Webcomics, after all, are a commentary on the topic they’ve chosen. And while they’re funny, they’re also enlightening. I’ve learned so much about the programmer culture from XKCD and about the corporate work culture from Dilbert. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that The Oatmeal has motivated me a couple of times or that Hyperbole and a Half gave people an outlet to deal with something as complicated as depression.
Webcomics these days are more than just Garfield comic strips. And if you’re willing, I’ll help you out get started exploring the wonderful world of webcomics.
XKCD is a comic every geek knows, or at least, should. It’s short, strong, and to the point geeky humor that’s sometimes a bit too truthful and a bit too harsh.
If you’re at all interested in the world of tech, following XKCD can give you a whole new perspective on things. The subtext in the poignant comic strips leaves a lasting taste in your mouth. May it be about human readable passwords, being wrong on the Internet or anything in between.
XKCD’s spin-off called What If? is just as interesting.
2. The Oatmeal
The Oatmeal is the stark opposite of XKCD but oh so enjoyable and funny. Oatmeal comics are usually long, graphical and are related to the broader Internet culture. When it comes down to it, Oatmeal is very good at constructing a narrative – be it to tell a personal story or to raise millions of dollars for a museum for Nikola Tesla.
3. Cyanide and Happiness
Let me just say this right away – Cyanide and Happiness is not for everyone. They specialize in dark humor, and if you’re easily offended when it comes to religious or gender issues, you should probably stay away from Cyanide and Happiness.
On the other hand, if you’re not, C&H makes for a very entertaining read.
Dilbert is a comic strip that’s been running since 1989. The comic takes a satirical look at the office work culture. Dilbert, the title character, is a micro-managed engineer. I’ve never worked at a corporate job, but I’ve learned a lot about that culture from Dilbert. And as I’m just a spectator, it makes it easier for me to laugh from a distance.
5. The Joy of Tech
Whenever there’s an Apple event, a Microsoft keynote, or some obscure Google news, I wait for The Joy of Tech comic the next day. They never fail to deliver. The Joy of Tech always provides an outwardly view on the topic. It can either be satirical, or they take the news and just run with it. If you’re deep in the tech news cycle, The Joy of Tech should be on your RSS list.
6. Hyperbole and a Half
Hyperbole and a Half is almost an anti-webcomic. It’s more of a blog with supporting pictures drawn in comic form. These pictures are intentionally not well done.
Another way Hyperbole and a Half is different from other comics is its nature. The comics usually tell the personal story of the author, Allie Brosh.
It’s a shame that the comic isn’t actively updated, but I’ve mentioned it here because the back catalog is still something you should go through. Allie’s two posts, Adventures in Depression Part 1 and Part 2, have been a breath of fresh air when reading about this issue on the Internet.
7. Fredo and Pidgin
Fredo and Pidgin falls in the Cyanide and Happiness camp. The humor is very much crude, sometimes vulgar. But if you like that sort of thing, F&P will manage to make you laugh at almost all times.
F&P’s signature humor style is taking something you’re familiar with and then basically turning it over its head. This fast, largely unexpected twist usually leads to a burst of laughter. Some of the best F&Ps are not safe to be embedded here, so I’ll just link them below.
8. Poorly Drawn Lines
I’ve only recently started reading Poorly Drawn Lines, and I’m a fan already. The content is similar to Fredo and Pidgin – crass and funny.
9. Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade started as a comic about video games and the culture surrounding it. These days you’ll find PA comics about all kinds of stuff. Microsoft HoloLens? Check. Bullying on Twitter, yes please. Music piracy? Of course.
10. Questionable Content
Questionable Content is different from most comics on this list. For one thing, it’s chronological. You’ll witness events stretched out across a couple of days. And it talks about general things in life. It’s not specifically about tech, but because of the times we live in, that’s a part of it. You’ll find QC’s commentary about all things pop culture: dating, relationships, jobs, life and all that jazz.
And A Lot More
There are many more webcomics worthy of your attention out there. If you Google it enough, you’re going to find a comic about your specific interest in no time. To get you going, here’s the bonus list: Dinosaur Comics, Hark! A Vagrant and Ctrl+Alt+Del.
What’s your favorite webcomic? Share with us in the comments below.