November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

This is an update to a previous post here, thanks for the cumulative suggestions on that thread.  JUST so we're clear – this is open-sourced to everyone research for a possible article to appear next month at ComixTalk.  I don't endorse the list or the order at all; at this point I've tried to include all of the suggestions I've gotten and I also went through all of the comics ComixTalk has ever reviewed and pulled quite a few titles.

We're at the point where it'll be most helpful if you tell me comics you think should go on the list, where (what number approximately) and which comic should get bumped.  If you just want to change the order you can do that to but there'll be another post before the month's through asking for help with that.  

And it's always helpful to explain why.  Make a pitch for why any of these or any other comic is one of the 100 best.  We've had over 10 years of webcomic publishing — hopefully we can spotlight some truly outstanding work.

  1. Perry Bible Fellowship by Nicholaus Gurewitch

  2. Achewood by Chris Onstad

  3. Narbonic by Shaenon Garrity

  4. xkcd by Randall Munroe

  5. PvP by Scott Kurtz

  6. Penny Arcade

  7. Nowhere Girl by Justine Shaw

  8. Apocamon by Patrick Farley.

  9. Sluggy Freelance by Pete Abrams

  10. Argon Zark! by Charlie Parker

  11. American Elf by James Kochalka

  12. Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio

  13. Freak Angels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield

  14. Copper

  15. MegaTokyo by Fred Gallagher

  16. Leisure Town by Tristan

  17. Sinfest

  18. Scary Go Round by John Allison

  19. Something Positive

  20. The Journal Comic by Drew Weing

  21. Dresden Codak by Aaron Diaz

  22. Immortal by Dean Haspiel

  23. Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew

  24. Templar, Arizona by Spike

  25. The Adventures of Dr McNinja by Chris Hastings

  26. Minus

  27. Checkerboard Nightmare by Kris Straub

  28. SugarShock! by Josh Whedon and Fabio Moon

  29. Diesel Sweeties by R. Stevens

  30. When I Was King by Damian 5

  31. Cat and Girl by Dorothy Gambrell

  32. Space Moose

  33. Octopus Pie by Meredith Gran

  34. Three Panel Soul

  35. Irregular Webcomic!

  36. Bite Me by Dylan Meconis

  37. Dinosaur Comics by Ryan North

  38. Understanding The Process by Joe Infurnari

  39. The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl

  40. PX! by Manny Trembly and Eric Anderson

  41. Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee

  42. Demonology 101 by Faith Erin Hicks

  43. Fans! by T. Campbell

  44. 8-Bit Theater

  45. Roomies!

  46. Little Dee

  47. Same Difference by Derek Kirk Kim

  48. User Friendly

  49. Kate Beaton

  50. Fanboys by Scott DeWitt

  51. Sin Titulo

  52. Dreamland Chronicles by Scott Sava

  53. Bayou

  54. High Moon

  55. Gunnerkrigg Court

  56. Piled Higher and Deeper

  57. Bee Power/Droop

  58. Girls With Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto

  59. Night Owls by the Timony Twins

  60. Motro

  61. Back Stage

  62. IN HIS LIKENESS

  63. STREET CODE

  64. FISHTOWN

  65. Bob the Squirrel

  66. Kevin and Kell

  67. Mac Hall

  68. SuperTron

  69. Breakfast of the Gods

  70. Fear My Dear

  71. Street Code

  72. Dear Pirate

  73. Lackidaisy

  74. Zortic by Mark Mekkes

  75. The Lounge

  76. The Wandering Ones by Clint Hollingsworth

  77. Skinny Panda by Phil Cho

  78. Pokey the Penguin

  79. Ornery Boy by Michael Lalonde

  80. Eversummer Eve by Denise Jones

  81. Boy Meets Boy by K. Sandra

  82. Sabrina Online by Eric W. Schwartz

  83. Avalon by Josh Phillips

  84. Boy On A Stick and Slither by Steven Cloud

  85. Get Your War On by David Rees

  86. The New Adventures of Death by Dorothy Gambrell

  87. Chopping Block by Lee Adam Herold

  88. Piled Higher and Deeper by Jorge Cham

  89. Girly by Josh Lesnick

  90. Kid Radd by Dan Miller

  91. Alpha Shade

  92. Lizard by Dave Kelly

  93. Joy of Tech

  94. A Softer World

  95. The Last Kiss

  96. Errant Story

  97. Questionable Content

  98. Count Your Sheep

  99. The Devils Panties

  100. Inverloch by Sarah Ellerton 

Uncategorized

Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.

29 Comments

  1. I do not get some of your top choices, the art isn’t that great, the story is not outstanding and the humour isn’t distinguished from anything else. What makes narbonic, achewood, xkcd or most of those top comics so good. I just don’t get it. Whereas a funny comic with amazing art, decent character development and an actual plot like Supertron is way down the list. 

  2. Apart from "Irregular Webcomic!" and "A Softer World" I could not find any other photocomics on your list. (Well, at last any more I could recognise by title…). Yes, I know they are a niche product, there are only very few really good ones out there and photocomics with real actors seem to be even more rare. 

    But here are three you should take into consideration! They are the best ones I have found so far – one for each genre: 
    Fantasy: Dark Red 
    Horror: Night Zero 
    and Superheroes: Union of Heroes 

    Even if you do not like photocomics in general – you’ll have to admit that these three all have really high values concerning how they are produced. By my point of view they are ground-breaking for future generations of photocomics.

  3. Please take a second to explain your reasons for any comic you’re suggesting.  If you just list a bunch of comics that actually isn’t all that helpful.  I mean it’s not completely worthless – I don’t want to overlook anything and naming comics does help with that, but if no one is explaining what is "great" about the webcomics they propose then there’s not much to go on to actually write up this research into an article.

    So thanks for comments so far but please — more comments that explain the greatness of the webcomics you’re listing.

  4. I say Melonpool deserves a spot in the top twenty. It’s one of the trailblazers, having started in 1996. Troop’s a master of both the daily and longer Sunday newspaper styles. Artwork’s consistently pleasant, humor’s generally amusing. All in all, it’s a body of work any cartoonist would be proud to have produced. Plus, he drew the Walky characters better than Willis did during their first crossover.

    I’d recommend dropping SugarShock! from the list. Yes, it’s by Joss Whedon, and as we all know the man can do little wrong. But the fancy navigation bugs me (click the next button at the bottom of the page, the new page slides into view–but I’ve then got to scroll back up to see the first part of the page, thereby ruining any surprise they may have had). Also, the whole MySpace/Dark Horse site strikes me less as comics for the web as it does advertising the print editions.

    Dilbert should be on the list. Adams was one of–if not the very–first cartoonists to adopt the web as a home.

    I can’t believe Makeshift Miracle hasn’t been mentioned yet. Sure, it’s been five years since it ended, but I’ve never seen anyone work with color to set the mood quite like Zubkavitch did.

  5. Oooh, nice list.

    I’m kind of ashamed of myself, there are a ton of strips on hear that either never heard of, or haven’t gotten around to reading yet. BAd comics fan, bad!

    Still, there is one comic that jumped right to my mind that I think deserves a spot among the top one hundred is Rice Boy  by Evan Dahm. It’s really a very under appreciated work. It has very simple art, but it’s very well done. Each creature in his world, from main heroes to one panel throw away characters is full of imagination. The story is a classic hero tale that could be used to teach literature students about arcetypes.

    Also it’s a completed work with a really strong ending, something you dont’ see too much of on the webs.

  6. Hey – just wanted to say thanks for considering me one of your 100.  To be on a list with that much friggin talent, not to mention quite a few friends.. I was honored to say the least.

    Good luck on the further compiling and thanks again.

    James Hatton – inhislikeness.com

  7. Oh!  And how stupid of me not to recommend someone:

    Out of nowhere, I do believe Rosscott’s THE SYSTEM (http://www.rosscottinc.com/) is not only new and innovative, but is a nice and natural evolution of the ‘minimalist’ genre of webcomics.

    It is a bit on the young side as far as this list goes, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a looksie and a consideration.

    Also Dead of Summer is pretty fantastic as far zombie strips go.

    Finally, I must also agree with someone who listed Paradigm Shift by Dirk Tiede.  Not only is he amazingly artistically talented – his comic is an intense action adventure.

  8. Hmmm – I’m not sure what the criteria for this list is supposed to be but, at the moment, I can see a number of titles on that list which seem to be there solely by virtue of their longevity.  I won’t name names (people in glass houses and all that!) but there are several comics there which I’d say have become very stale and uninteresting.  Is it right we should still consider them among the "greatest" just because they once happened to be better than the rest of the (then) fairly limited competition?

    It’s a subjective thing, obviously, but for my money, there are many webcomics better than almost all of those currently on the list but which for some reason are seldom mentioned anywhere.  For example:

    The Dreamer.  Excellent artwork and an intriguing adventure story set (mostly) during the American War of Independence.  As a sign of its quality, it has recently been picked up for publication by one of the larger print companies.

    Simply Sarah.  One of the very few lesbian themed webcomics which is not angrily feminist, or childishly slapstick.  A very sensitive little romance with consistently high production values and genuinely accessible to all genders and orientations.

    Shades.  If there’s a rule against suggesting your own comics, I didn’t notice it and I apologise for this one immediately!  As the writer, I’m obviously biased as far as the story and dialogue are concerned, so I shan’t cite those as reasons (even if I do think they’re a notch above some of the other super hero fare out there!) Hey – I admitted I was biased!  The artwork is not by me, however, and I can honestly say that – even if it were not in my own comic – I’d consider it among the best on the web, traditional enough to suit the genre but consciously avoiding the slick high-gloss look of current mainstream output.

    Digger.  A fantasy tale of a wombat and her assorted companions.  Considering none of the characters in this are human, it’s a testament to the writing that we can so readily empathise with them.

    Purgatory.  SciFi story using 3D poser graphics which is superby rendered, with a story that encompasses political intrigue, ground-based warfare and epic space battles.  Periodic releases of supplemental background info reveal a backstory with the kind of depth associated with genre classics such as Dune.

    Brat-halla.  The adventures of the Norse Gods during their kindergarten years.  Not just funny – often very witty too.  And the artwork is always pro-quality.

    The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo.  Some of the most highly individual and yet eerily evocative artwork on the web, with a story of Edgar Allen Poe’s alter ego (the Poo of the title) as he journeys through his own nightmarish Wonderland.

  9. I’m not convinced about Dilbert – Scott Adams DID put his email address on the comic very early on but I don’t recall any big web push until much later.  I don’t think in terms of the web Dilbert is much different  than any other newspaper comic in terms of historical significance.  In fact – I recall Doonesbury hitting the web with a unique site quite a bit earlier.

  10. Without commenting on specific titles (we all have our own tastes!), that’s where I was coming from, too.  If very average strips keep making it to the top of the lists of "the best" or "the greatest" then this gives a very poor picture of what webcomics can do. 

    I appreciate that some of these titles have been around for years and were perhaps innovative in their day but, if you look at a list of the greatest 100 movies, you’d no longer expect to see, for example, Intolerance or Battleship Potemkin up there at the top.  They may well be in the list somewhere, lurking near the bottom, but with improvements in technology, increasingly sophisticated audience tastes and the industry’s ability to attract better talent than it could in its early years, so many films have since surpassed them.

    The same is true of webcomics.  Many of those in the draft list just aren’t "great" by the standards of the best comics being produced today.  Acknowledge the early pioneers for having led the way, by all means, but newcomers to webcomics are not going to be impressed if they believe they’re the best we’re capable of offering.  There are so many better comics out there and we are doing a disservice to all webcomics if we simply keep trotting out the names of the comics that were considered "great" back when the internet was in its infancy.

  11. Battleship Potemkin (heck even Birth of a Nation) do still wind up on such lists though.  Also please remember this was a working draft, not in a particular order (amazed how many people fail to read the article(s) and just scan the list).  While I’m not sure this effort is going anywhere at this point, still I’m curious — which better comics out there do you have in mind?  I have no pride in this current listing — I would truly want any list to include comics that represent the best of the webcomics medium…

  12. Hey, Mr X – I did spot that this was a draft list and I did make some suggestions accordingly (in my ealier post!) You can read my reasons for each of these above, but the names again (with links this time!) are:

    The Dreamer

    Simply Sarah

    Shades

    Digger

    Purgatory

    Brat-halla

    The Surreal Adventures of Edgar Allen Poo

    And, yes, I did acknowledge that some of those golden oldies would still make it into the top 100 … just that you’d expect them to be lurking near the bottom of the list these days, rather than still monopolising the top slots! 

    Anyway … each to his own!

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