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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 

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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. 

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

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...

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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!

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

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.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Andrew-TLA's picture

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.

TRU-Life Adventures: http://www.tru-lifeadventures.com

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

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.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

I did do explain why, sorry  I didn not do at first.

PLEASE explain why you're nominating comics for this list.

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

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.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

 What about nemu*nemu?

http://www.nemu-nemu.com/

 

Also:

One Swoop Fell - http://oneswoopfell.com/

Calamities of Nature - http://www.calamitiesofnature.com/

KawaiiNot - http://www.kawaiinot.com/

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Hey...what happened to Dreamland?

Did we get bumped?

:(

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Dreamland is #52 on the rough draft.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

DOH!

Thanks.

Can you believe it? I missed my own comic while reading this? But saw it on the OTHER page.

Ugh. Of course...flattered to be on. But figured it couldn't hurt to ask if I was bumped.

:)

 

Thanks

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Ron Phillips's picture

Several comics I would have commented on have been listed by other readers. It's a hard list to compile for sure, so kudos for trying.

Two comics I've been enjoying for a while and are on opposite ends of creative style are Bellen by Box Brown and Wondermark by David Malki.

I'm a frequent reader of PVP and I think the purpose of the strip was that it always aspired to be a syndicated strip and therefore follows that model closely. While it's not the best of the best, obviously, it does deserve recognition because of it's longevity and because Kurtz is one of a few on the list who actually makes a living from the strip.

While I consider myself well read, there are several on the list I've never heard of. Are they all still active?

Here's a couple more. Not sure how to place them:

Sequential Art by Philip M Jackson ... love the comic
Looking for Group by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza
VG Cats by Scott Ramsoomair
Apple Geeks by Mohammad Haque & Ananth Panagariya  ... I like it for the Apple Geeks Lite strip

Ron Earl Phillips, Fabulist
http://www.ronearlphillips.com

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

To add, I think the comic I listed did evolve a bit the genre they are from. PVP, though lasting a long time, is tired same old jokes that I would find in newspaper. The strips I did list add something new and not same old tired ground of popular culure injokes that I mostly do not get from not being native to those things, or native to US

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

John Baird's picture

Overall I see the list split into two halves: the bottom 50 should be the comics that are solid, well written, and popular, but don't necessarily innovate on the webcomic model. Dreamland Chronicles falls into this - it's a good comic, but it's certainly not the only strong fantasy comic around. Newer webcomics like Three Panel Soul and Errant Story would also go here as their legacy hasn't been determine yet.

The top 50 should be the innovators, the trail blazers, the influencers. Webcomics from when all the webcomic creators around could fit in a medium sized living room comfortably. Sluggy Freelance, Roomies!, Piled Higher and Deeper, and Goats are just a few that come to mind from that period. I'd also put in newer comics that put twists to the old forumla, like xkcd and Templar.

Copper should be #1. Scott McCloud acknowledges it as one of the best, which is suitable justification in my mind. Fans! should be in the top 10, maybe even #2 - Campbell explored numerous forms and techniques in that comic that makes it a technical and storytelling high water mark.

Penny Arcade, MegaTokyo, and 8-Bit Theater should also be in the top 10 for their pervasive impact by influencing virtually every comic of their genre that followed: gaming, manga-style, and sprites. They weren't the first of their kind on the net, but they had the greatest impact. Kevin & Kell has (I think) the distinction of being both the first furry webcomic and the most influential.

Comics that were the first but didn't have huge impacts - Polymer City Chronicles (the first gaming comic), Where the Buffalo Roam (the first webcomic?), Doctor Fun (the first webcomic?) - should go in the second quarter (25-50). I suggest having Buffalo and Dr. Fun share the same spot since which came first is a matter of dispute.

You might want to consider "body of work" placements - one rank for every webcomic a certain person has done. Otherwise, Willis might get on the list 3 times for Roomies, Walky, and Shortpacked. And by the FSM we don't need his head getting any bigger. XD

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Excellent comment - thanks for the thoughtful response.

I don't want to do an artificial split of the list like you propose.  Both of those criteria are relevant to the list but I don't think you can split it up like that.  All comics have both their artistic and entertainment qualities as well as any historical or cultural relevance. 

I also very much want to stick to comics as opposed to creators.  That doesn't always work (think of creators who don't sharply delineate their projects) but I don't think you need to mix together Willis' various projects, for example -- you can look at each one to see if its something you'd want to put on the list or not.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Horribleville/Gun Show instead of Droop/Bee Power for KC's active work.

Absent from the list but worth noting:  Family ManThe Zombie Hunters, Dead Winter, Last Blood, Sorcery 101

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Explanation: Listed these five because they have exceptional artwork in addition to being interesting long-form stories that have always been long-form stories, rather than stories evolving out of gag strips.  Listed the first part because Bee Power/Droop is not KC Green's active work anymore.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

You're obviously defining "webcomics" as "web-only comics," as there's no comics listed that also have a presence in the print world (except for the PBF and a couple others, actually). I certainly think this stance should be justified before any discussion of the actual comics on the list begins. So: what is your reasoning for this? What is to be gained, if anything, from drawing a distinction between "web-only comics" and "comics that are on the web but also in print?" I ask because i want to know, not because i have already made up my mind as to the value of this stance.

WHAT IS A WEBCOMIC? DOES IT MATTER...

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

No... I haven't set out any rules - there's only been two posts on this subject; you can read them.  So no definitions have been put forward.

I don't really want to turn this into a debate over what is a "webcomic" or not (although you're welcome to start another post on the subject here) -- I'm looking to see  if the community of readers at ComixTalk can help me come up with a really good list of 100 webcomics.  I think it's the kind of thing that could really show the strength of the medium at this point in time. 

So I don't have any major objection to a print/web comic; heck most comics on the web worth reading (most but not all!) have a print presence too.  But all the same be ready to throw out some reason why to include it if you nominate comics that are strongly associated with a paper format.  I mean Peanuts is on the web but I'm not entirely convinved it would make sense for it would be on this list.  But I remain ready to be convinced by the strength of the arguments to this thread...

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

You listed Street Code two times.

I think the Top 25 should include:
Bayou
High Moon
Freak Angels
Girls With Slingshots
Fishtown
Perry Bible Fellowship
XKCD
Achewood
Lackadaisy
Piled Higher and Deeper

I do not like PVP, I do not think it of best quality.

Re: November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Commas man, commas! :)

No comment will go unread, but a little explanation of why you like comic x and why you're not so keen on comix y will go a long way. 

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

November 14th DRAFT version of 100 Greatest Webcomics List

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Schlock Mercenary

Goats

Jack

Shortpacked!

Red String

Butterfly

Stuff Sucks

Anders Loves Maria

Nine Planets Without Intelligent Life by Adam Reed

Beaver & Steve

Starslip Crisis

Sheldon

Evil Inc

Greystone Inn

Zip and Lil Bit

Paradigm Shift is written and drawn by Dirk I. Tiede

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.