by Kerby Rosanes . September 26th, 2012
Publishing content over the Internet is just a click away – from videos, music and photographs to text, graphics and software. The Web proved to be one of the most successful medium to showcase what the world and its people have. Another common type of publishing over the Internet is webcomics. Basically, these are comics published online. Although some are not well known and only a few became successful, some webcomics over the years did not only gave us a slice of entertainment but as well as creative inspirations in terms of design and how each graphic was made.
Some webcomics are published exclusively on the web while some especially the popular ones were printed over magazines and newspapers. The history of webcomics can be traced back to 1980’s when Eric Millikin’s Witches and Stitches, an unauthorized parody comic of Wizard of Oz was published on CompuServe in 1985. And in January 2007, there were an estimated 38,000 webcomics published.
Just like any other publication, webcomics are now covering various genres, styles, subjects and types ranging from traditional comic strips and graphic novels to avante garde comics. The success of each webcomic can be measured on how wide the audience reach is, how long it has been existing and how much it has influenced its readers. These success factors are achieved by good storyline, presentation and most especially great design. Good comic design is achieved through the combination of drawing skills, creativity and a nice concept executed through the use of graphic software like Photoshop, Manga Studio and the like.
Today in YTD, we will take a trip to the world of webcomics and pick some of them with the best designs that will let you bookmark their pages. We’ll be touring their world back from late ’90s and lets see how designing content and graphics for webcomics has evolved through time.
A webcomic from 2000 is the first on our list. Sinfest is written and drawn by American comic strip artist Tatsuya Ishida which first appeared in webcomic by January 17, 2007 but the first comic strip print appeared on October 1991 in some popular newspapers. A new strip is published daily in the Sinfest website. Althought the first strips appeared in black and white, the artistic quality especially the hand drawing of the characters are really impressive.
Sinfest | “Devil Booth 1, 2 & 3” | January 17-19, 2000 | (Source)
Published in 1,225 episodes from March 2, 2001 to June 1, 2010, the 8-Bit Theater is a webcomic created and published by Brian Clevinger as a completed sprite comic. The plot is mostly revolving the characters of Final Fantasy, a popular role-playing game in an exaggerated parody and humor.
Snippet from 8-Bit Theater Episode 1: “We’re going where?” | (Source)
A webcomic by R. K. Milholland, Something Positive which debuted on December 19, 2001 is characterized by a cynical tone and off-beat humor, including its portrayals of geeks, gamers, and goths. It received various awards like “Outstanding Character Writing” in the Web Cartoonist’s Choice Award last 2005 and “Outstanding Dramatic Comic” last 2006. Also, S*P has been nominated in seven additional categories spanning five years since 2002.
Snippet from “Something Positive” | December 19, 2001 | (Source)
Copper is a comic created by Kazu Kibuishi which began on April 2002 and enjoyed by readers in both print and web publications. It is in a regular squared format and done in full color except for the first issue. Although updates occur monthly at best – the comic has been really successful in terms of artistic quality.
Copper # 2 – “Big Robot” | June 2002 | (Source)
Taking place in the magical and medieval world of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, The Order of the Stick webcomic presents humor and satire through recounts of adventures. It began celebrating humor last September 2003 and was written and illustrated by Rich Burlew who drew the characters in full color stick figure.
The Order of the Stick #1 by Rich Burlew | (Source)
Another webcomic which focuses on video game culture is Penny Arcade, written by Jerry Holkins and illustrated by Mike Krahulik. The webcomic debuted in 1998 and is the most popular and longest running webcomic online with an estimated 3.5 million readers. The strips are updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Like most of the webcomics today, Penny Arcade is solely supported by donations but never failing to give quality strips in terms of graphics and character design not to mention the humor behind video gaming culture that it brings to their wide audience.
Penny Arcade – “Iconoclast” | September 21, 2012 | (Source)
Penny Arcade – “The Coming Aparkalypse” | September 24, 2012 | (Source)
Written by Blair B, Star Cross’d Destiny is a webcomic focusing on the anti-hero Juno and her group as outcasts from society and surviving the mob society of New Orleans. The comic follows the story that Blair penned way back in 1999 and revised in 2001. The unique element about the comic is that the graphic is a combination of Japanese manga and American comics styles with some photo manipulations on locations and backgrounds. The comic won the award for “Outstanding Dramatic Comic” in the Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards in 2005. The series ended last November 2009.
Star Cross’d Destiny – Volume 1 – Chapter 1 – Page 7 | (Source)
Nicholas Gurewitch created The Perry Bible Fellowship as a newspaper comic strip and a webcomic that originated in The Daily Orange, Syracuse University’s newspaper. The comics is characterized by childlike imagery or fantasy with sudden or unexpected surreal humor. Irony, religion, sexuality, war, science fiction are the some of the most common subjects. What’s unique in the art and design of PBF is that the strip design varies constantly.
PBF Comics – “Capital Punishment” | (Source)
PBF Comics – “Special Delivery” | (Source)
PBF Comics – “Baby” | (Source)
PBF Comics – “The Pacific Council” | (Source)
Created by Tom Siddell, the Gunnerkrigg Court is a webcomic launched in April 2005 updated three days per week. It has won numerous Web Cartoonists’ Choice Awards and has been receiving positive reviews about its amazing story telling and great artwork. The webcomic focuses on a fantasy and mystery theme including mythology from various traditions, alchemy symbols and theories. The artistic style was highly influenced by Anime and manga comics.
A page from Gunnerkrigg Court webcomic | (Source)
Guilded Age is a webcomic focusing on the story of five heroes who have come together to work for a common goal. It is a fantasy series characterized by conflicts between warring coalitions from centuries-old battles. The series is created by T Campbell, Erica Henderson and Phil Kahn. The series debuted last September 2009 and was positively embraced by readers who are mostly fans of role playing games and fantasy storytelling.
Guilded Age: Chapter 1 – Page 1 | (Source)
A graphic novel and webcomic created by Canadian artist Vitaly S Alexius, Romantically Apocalyptic is a crazy story of humor and adventure set in a physically destroyed and abandoned world. Using the superb skills in photo manipulation, digital art and green screen photography, Vitaly and his team created an extremely unique comic strips incorporated with funny and wonderful storyboard.
UPDATE: Other webcomics suggested by readers:
So there you have them guys! Have we missed a webcomic with unique art and design that you know? Then tell us something about it by commenting below. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus for more updates. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for everyday design news, content and freebies. Stay awesome everyone!