Schools in the United States have been closed for – Well, it’s been a while now and more than likely your student is bored (or has been). Rest assured. Here you’ll find a handful of comics you can read right now – most of them for free or almost free. Sure, there are plenty of business and graphic novels out there that are absolutely excellent, but if you need a reprieve now, don’t feel like having something shipped home, or want a long story, can -even if you want something you can read with your quarantined student, we’ve got choices aimed at a range of ages and interest groups.
Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Read it here: https://teadragonsociety.com/
Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill isn’t just an Eisner Award-winning comic, it’s also adorable in every way and completely free to read online. The all-ages comic is set in a fantasy world where an apprentice blacksmith named Greta learns to care for tea dragons from a pair of shop owners – and the friendship of their shy ward. It’s a bit swirling Studio Ghibli with standard fantasy elements, but the result is something totally unique. It’s hard to underestimate how comforting Tea Dragon Society is and these colors and character designs are more than enough to keep any quarantined student busy. At 46 pages, it’s a short read, but O’Neill also has a sequel called The Tea Dragon Festivalsome other stories like Aquicorn Cove, Princess Princess Ever After, Dewdrop, and some stuffed animals if you feel like it.
Softies by Kyle Smeallie
Read it here: http://www.softies.net/comic/1
It’s one of the funniest comics I’ve read in a long time and, admittedly, perfect for the quarantined student who is becoming increasingly aware of the fragility of the planet. At C2E2, C. Spike Trotman describes this book as Calvin and Hobbes meets Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, so let’s start there. Our main character, Kay, is one of the only survivors of Earth after the sun explodes, but she is quickly picked up by the space junk collector, Arizona. At first they try to figure out the mystery behind Earth’s destruction (there is no longer any trace of it and therefore no proof that it ever existed), but the story quickly turns into Kay doing coping with the loss, while getting into the hijinks she craves. his new dino-lizard pal, Arizona. Smealie’s writing and art are sharp, endearing and honest. You should read it, your child should read it, and you should pre-order the next physical version of Iron Circus.
As the crow flies by Melanie Gillman
Read it here: https://www.melaniegillman.com/comic/01-25-2012/
As the crow flies follows Charlie, a black and queer teenager as she sets off on her Christian summer hiking trip – which is followed and led almost entirely by white people. For those who relate to Charlie’s experience of constantly feeling altered and excluded, As the crow flies is cathartic and supportive. For those who haven’t shared her experience, it’s a push to understand how language, attitudes and platitudes affect others, even when those repercussions are unintended. Melanie Gillman writes and draws the journey, underlined by fluffy colored pencils and subtly expressive characterization. This is another good comic to read with your quarantined student, especially to discuss some of the themes presented along the way. (You can also grab the physical edition of Iron Circus).
Witch by Ariel Ries
Read it here: https://www.witchycomic.com/comic/page-1
Witch is a webcomic by Ariel Ries about a magical realm where hair length is directly correlated to magical prowess. The Ignatz-nominated comic follows a young witch named Nyneve who struggles with the decision to align herself with the sinister Witch Guard, or fend for herself and defend herself. It’s a heartfelt story about finding yourself in a society that feels determined to pit its people against each other, with themes of identity, rebellion and newfound friendship. It’s a good read for all ages and even comes with content warnings from the creator with specific page numbers. Ries still continues the 364-page story with updates on Tuesdays and Fridays. Also, if you’re a fan of his more recent work with ShortBox, cry wolf girl (I’m sure) you get a really amazing look at how his art style has developed over the years. The physical edition is also available from Lion forge.
demon street by Aliza Layne
Read it here: https://www.demonstreet.co/comic/1
Devil Street, by Aliza Layne, it’s 591 pages of magic; two kids fighting monsters and hanging out with kids (and sometimes monsters). It’s cute, it’s fun and it has wonderful colors. The story begins as Sep (short for Septimus – but don’t call him that) finds himself wandering the titular street, far from our reality and into one filled with – well, demons. It takes him a while to meet his new friend (and badass) Kate, but once he does, this comic is a slippery slope down a chasm in time. demon street suitable for all ages, and while demons may seem creepy, Layne’s designs gently straddle the line between creepy and cute.
Shonen Jump is probably one of the best deals for comic book subscription services. For $2.13 per month, you get access to over 10,000 manga chapters, as well as regularly updated titles. The service offers a wide range of genres ranging from slice of life to romance and, of course, to action/adventure series, that’s where my bias lies. So, a few recommendations:
my hero academia is the closest thing to the Western Cape and Cowl comics. Instead of powers they are called quirks, pretty much everyone in the world has one, and mangaka Kohei Horikoshi apparently refuses to say no to any idea that stumbles through his brain. Characters can be super strong, have the abilities of a frog, remove objects from their bodies, have headphone jacks for earlobes, or literally be a little bear so smart he’s allowed to live in society human. This series is a phenomenon for a reason, and more than likely your quarantined college student is already a fan of the anime. The most recent season aired its finale a few weeks ago – but the series continues for hundreds of chapters here on Shonen Jump.
And, of course, Shonen is home to Akira Toriyama dragonball. It’s a bit more mature than My hero academia, but an undeniable classic for readers who like action, drama on top and waiting dozens of pages for Goku to charge an attack.
One final note about Shonen Jump: if you’re going this route, the mobile app is by far the best way to read. The Viz Media website is a bit tricky to navigate, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between what’s available with your subscription and what requires a separate checkout. The app also keeps track of which chapter you left off, whereas the browser version doesn’t seem to.
This service is in fact one of the best platforms because it is completely free, as long as you have a library card. Many libraries are closed and those that are open are working with significant changes, but with Hoopla you can access everything you could normally do – and more – online. It stays up to date with unique numbers and when you borrow it benefits the creators. It is available as an app or in your browser.
Hoopla’s selection, as you’d expect, is extensive. You can expect to find Bendis and At Pichelli’s initial run on Miles Morales, the recent Superman: Up in the Sky, Avatar: The Last Airbender, a wide range of Archie securities, woodcutters, Saga, And much more. So if your quarantined student misses their regularly scheduled new comics, even from the biggest publishers, Hoopla is the best option for even the most voracious readers on a budget.