As the author of an online serial story, I like to read as many Web comics as possible for ideas on story, pacing, posing, angles, composition, etc. I frequently discover new ones, so I will mention them here, along with a capsule review. Forthwith, some of my favorites:
Alien Loves Predator. Preston [the Predator] and Abe [the Alien] are two bachelors living in New York, as played by a Predator action fig and an Alien action fig respectively. I like this comic because it uses figs and also because the early strips contain hilarious jabs at city life [especially about riding the subway]. The strips have drifted away from NYC absurdity and toward slapstick stupidity, but it’s still one I read religiously.
The Order of the Stick. My second favorite Web comic consists of a bunch of D&D characters having Epic Quests with plenty of humor and fourth-wall comments. I admire the control of the complex storylines, as well as the consistently upbeat and refreshing humor. This comic demonstrates that humor doesn’t need to be at someone else’s expense.
Action Figure Diary. 1:6 action figs talk to their human owners. It’s a cramped, four-panel format, but the writing is consistently good. Again, it’s more humor at no one’s expense.
Toyville. Toys that know they’re toys fight evil toys and make wisecracks. Worth it for the constant self-deprecation and admittedly outrageous plots, this sporadically produced series also contains the largest collection of figs you’re likely to see in your life.
9th Elsewhere. I follow this one for the story, in which the depressed, introverted heroine gets stuck in her subconscious. With the help of her flighty muse, she must learn about her own strength so she can wake up and live a good life. A firm grounding in psychology and a graceful following of small plot points make this one a gem.
And…finally…two new ones that I found recently:
Imaginary Friends. Widowed toy salesman struggles with older son who doesn’t speak and wants to draw monsters and loud younger son with many imaginary friends. Written economically with great characterization, this comic is drawn with a very cinematic feel. Besides the subject matter, I also appreciate the author’s handling of the “camera.”
Dreamland Chronicles. In this bubble-gum-bright adventure, a college boy goes back to his dream world after 6 years to discover that his dream friends have grown up. The gentle humor is perfect for all ages, and the CGI-generated characters look like cute 3-D models. You have to see the art in order to admire its rich, deep backgrounds and cartoony expressiveness.