Skip to main content

Full Story Highlights: All Ages Webcomics

There’s no shortage of great all-ages comics online -- from Chris Baldwin’s Little Dee to Steven Charles Manale’s Superslackers, to Adrian Ramos’ Count Your Sheep. There’s even a collective now, Lunchbox Funnies, featuring a fantastic line-up of all-ages comics creators.

Why then was it so difficult to find appropriate stories to include here? Combing through Full Story turned up so few all-ages entries that I had to find and index additional stories just to have enough for this one article. The trouble was, while there is certainly a wealth of all-ages material out there, remarkably little of it is in the form of short stories or completed series. It seems all-ages webcomics tend even more toward the infinitely-ongoing format than webcomics in general do.

I suppose this shouldn’t be too surprising; from Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys to Captain Underpants and The Magic Tree House, literature for young people has always tended toward multi-volume series. This feeds into children’s natural tendency to latch onto particular favorite characters, devouring story after story about their fictional friends for as long as the publisher keeps them coming.

There is one important difference, however -- traditional series fiction for children tends to be episodic. If you pick up a Nancy Drew mystery, you get an entire mystery, beginning, middle, and end. Sure, there are dozens more Nancy Drew mysteries to read after you finish that first one. But every one of them is a self-contained story. The format of children’s series fiction is a very particular compromise between keeping kids coming back for more, while still providing a complete experience suited to short attention spans.

Of course, this is certainly not to say that this formula is necessarily superior to either the singular graphic novel or the infinitely ongoing strip. I just find it curious that a format that has consistently proven so commercially successful for children’s fiction in print is so little used in webcomics.

 

Salamander Dream

Hailey has a special friend: a salamander spirit whose stories transport her to magical worlds of imagination. Three times, she visits him, throughout the course of her journey from childhood to adulthood, until finally she has a story of her own she needs to share. The print version of this story was named one of the best comics of 2005 by Publishers’ Weekly.

 

 

Ghost Farm

  • Access: Free
  • Creator: Jessica McLeod
  • 24 pages plus title page.
  • Read this story

Where do ghosts come from? A lonely little vampire finds out when she decides to go shopping to find a friend. A short sweet tale by Jessica McLeod, Australian comic-creator and member of the collective Monster and Robot Industries.

 

 

Palaeobet

  • Access: Free
  • Colorist: Miguel Sternberg
  • Creator: Rosemary Mosco
  • 1 scrolling page.
  • Read this story

A simple alphabet book wherein each letter is represented by a different creature from prehistoric times. Cute and educational.

 

 

Ped X-Ing

Ryan Estrada’s record-setting 175-hour comic tells the story of three unusual friends: the dangerously accident-prone Tyrone Thompson, the insufferably indecisive Aki Akuyama, and the mask-wearing Chuck Just Jr. The three share a singular bond—every morning at precisely 9:27, they cross the street to their school together. That is, until the last day of school, before each is to go off to a different school. Saddened by the loss of their morning ritual, they decided to cross a different street…and then another, and another, until they finally realize that they’re hopelessly lost. And getting mugged. And that’s just the beginning of a wild and funny odyssey that includes exploding scooters, electric eels, trash barges, unexpected cheese, affectionate bears, and a wide assortment of ridiculous and exciting stunts that no one should try in real life ever.

Estrada later spun Aki off into her own ongoing series, Aki Alliance.

 

Addendum
Also worth mentioning are a pair of fantastic all-ages comics that haven’t ended yet, but that are showing signs of coming to solid conclusions in the foreseeable future: Raina Telgemeier’s Smile: A Dental Drama and Dave Roman’s Astronaut Elementary. The latter is already into its epilogue.

wow

lunarjarrett's picture

im so excited about this article. So many comics to read, so little time. The Ped-Xing looks very interesting and Hope Larson's work is always so beautiful to me. .

 

www.lunarboyland.com updated Tuesdays and Fridays!

www.lunarboyland.com updated Tuesdays and Fridays!

Ardra's still going strong...

Ardra (http://www.ardracomic.com ) is a rather overlooked little comic that I created and write. It's about an eccentric scientist named Dr. Ardra Renelsior and her twin girls, Eileen and Lenore, whom she's raising as a sort of lifelong scientific experiment. It's more of a social satire than a science comic, though.

It's pretty friendly for all ages. No nudity, practically no swearing (beyond Della's tendency to say "bloody hell" on occasion), and very rare instances of really cartoony violence. We tend to go a little more high-brow on the jokes, too...no toilet humor.

I was the original artist (big mistake!) before Trevor Adams, original artist of Least I Could Do took over. He lasted a few months, and then Fesworks (P.S.I.) took his place.

Ardra tends to go between long story arcs (like the one we just completed) and shorter, three-to-five strip storylines, with occasional one-shots thrown in, particularly for holidays or other special occasions. But it really has no end in sight...I could keep it going indefinitely!

Suggest a Story Thread

This is great, I appreciate folks posting stories that fit the bill!

The following URL is actually a forum thread for just this purpose -- if you could cross-post your suggestions there, it would be very helpful. The thing is, we're not always quick about getting stories added, so it helps to have a permanent archive of suggested stories.

http://www.talkaboutcomics.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=286377#286377

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

The Return of Dr. Dragonwagon

MHPayne's picture

http://www.girlamatic.com/comics/dragonwagon.php?view=archive&chapter=84...

It's a fairy tale:

In the old fashioned sense, so I'd call it "all ages," and it's a finished story, too.

Mike

 

GAAK is a self contained

GAAK is a self contained story (with artwork by Monique MacNaughton) about four misfit kids--geeky Zach, tomboyish Jemmy, wisecracking Chubs, and genius nerd Plato--growing up in the small suburban town of Eden'sVille, Maryland who deal with all the trials and tribulations of being kids from bullies, to pain in the butt siblings, peer pressures, school--Not to mention invading aliens from outer space bent on conquering the earth, wiping not civilization as we know it, and meeting the original cast of "Star Trek". GAAK is actually arranged in chapters like a book, though it's hard to tell online. Each chapter is exactly 60 pages long. It's actually written in wrap around style. Meaning that it starts toward the end of the story, jumps back in time two weeks and shows you everything that happened beforehand right on up to where the comic began before finishing. Three of the four chapters are completed. The fourth and final chapter is coming to an end. Dee G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

Overlooked yet again...

GAAK is and always has been an all ages webcomic for lovers of 50's style creature feature movies ("The Invaders from Mars", "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "Earth vs The Flying Saucers", etc), 80's style Spielberg movies ("ET", "Goonies","Gremlins", "Close Encounters", etc), with a little Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks" thrown in for flavor. Dee G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

G.A.A.K: Groovy Ass Alien Kreatures It's like The Goonies meets The Invaders from Mars. Updates on Mondays.

How is GAAK structured -- do

How is GAAK structured -- do you have self-contained stories, or is it a continuing series? If it's self-contained stories, then that's definitely something I should be adding to the Full Story index.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments

Astronaut Elementary

CameronCN's picture

Well, Dave Roman isn't around to do this himself right now, so as a loyal reader I will just do it myself. Astronaut Elementary is NOT ENDING! The 'Epilogue' is just for this chapter. Another chapter will follow after a short summer break. That is all.

I did sort of suspect there

I did sort of suspect there was more Astronaut Elementary down the road. Still, with a chapter titled "Epilogue," I'm sure you can understand my confusion. =)

Do you know offhand if the new chapter will be a direct continuation, or if it will work as a self-contained story? Because what he's done so far certainly works as a self contained piece. If future chapters will also stand well on their own, then this could be exactly the sort of format I was discussing above.

PictureStoryTheater.com:Fables & Fairy Tales

TwentySevenLetters.com: Experiments