The Beginner’s Guide to Reading Webcomics

So you want to get into webcomics, but you don’t know where to start? No problem! Here are five tips to welcome you into their wonderful world.

Don’t let the starting art/writing put you off

Webcomics are, by and large, an amateur medium, and most webcomic creators start out with far less experience than in the print industry. Additionally, webcomic creators are unpaid, making webcomics almost exclusively passion projects that creators work on out of their own pockets in their spare time. But whether it’s an art student looking for practice or a creator with great ideas who has no drawing experience, it’s essential not to be put off by the initial webcomic art. . Going back to the first strip of a comic, especially a long-running comic, can sometimes be extremely shocking. Styles change, illustrators hone their skills, designers gain more time or focus and add color. It’s still worth enduring that early-slice oddity for what lies beyond.

Try different types of webcomics

As with any support, there are many, a lot kinds of webcomics, from iconic gag-a-day publications to GIF-laden surreal epics to beautifully illustrated indie passion projects. If you’ve ever tried to access webcomics and were disabled because, say, xkcd or Questionable content or Homestuck It just wasn’t your thing, don’t worry. There are webcomics in all shapes, sizes and genres. For me, art is a huge selling point, so I tend to lean towards projects that look more visually polished. For others, the genre may be more important, or the characters, or just the ease of navigating the comic book website. Find a cut that suits you.

Take note of the update schedule and backlog

Everyone reads a little differently. Luckily, with webcomics, there are a wide variety of delay and update schedules, so when you get into the habit of reading them for the first time, you can pick a plan that’s right for you. Want to read ten years worth of comics over a long weekend, then get started with a regular, frequent schedule? Choose a comic with a high comic count and an MF or M/W/F update schedule. Just want something you can check out once in a while and have a good laugh? Check out a gag-a-day strip in your genre of choice, or one with truly gorgeous art that only updates about once a month. Doesn’t matter how often you update, as long as there’s good art and story? Don’t worry, there are plenty of sporadically updated webcomics with epic storylines unfolding from years.

Find a reading format that works for you

Not all webcomic sites are easy to navigate. Luckily, more and more webcomics are becoming available in multiple formats through different hubs, which means if you just can’t stand reading stuff on Tumblr, you can probably find the same comic hosted on a hub like Tapastic as well. . And while it may seem counterintuitive, you don’t even have to be on the web to read a webcomic. Many mainstream webcomics (and, thanks to sites like Kickstarter and Patreon, a growing number of independent comics) are available in collected print volumes. Some of the most common can be found in bookstores or libraries, though for lesser-known webcomics you may need to seek out obscure indie presses or keep an eye out for limited-time Kickstarters.

To know where to find them

There are a number of places where you can find new webcomics to read. A good place to start is comics hubs like Hiveworks or Tapastic, which offer plenty of current, quality webcomics in one place. Even better, sites like this often allow you to filter by genre categories such as fantasy, slice of life, or romance to help you find the type of comic you’re craving. The webcomic creators themselves are also a great source. For comics with a dedicated website, especially long-established comics, you can often find a links page or sidebar listing other webcomics the creator enjoys. And even if a comic hasn’t been on the air for a long time, checking the creator’s social media (especially Twitter) is often a gold mine for fantastic, unknown indie webcomics in desperate need of love. Indie comic creators are often each other’s strongest supporters, so find out who they’re boosting the signal for and you’re sure to find some good stuff.

Good reading!