Playlist: Webcomics

Take Stuff's hand and enter the wonderful world of online comics

If there's one thing the internet's good at it's giving new life to old analogue pleasures. Insulting strangers, for instance, or laughing at cats falling into bathtubs. To that list add reading comics. 

Handrawn cartoons have had a proper renaissance on the net, with a new, vastly bigger, audience now able to enjoy their timeless charms.  

Print a webcomic out, do a spot of home bookbinding and they’re just like real comics you didn’t have to go to the shops for! Or you could, y'know, read them online...

Either way, here's our choice of the best of them.


It's impossible to talk about webcomics without mentioning XKCD.

Randall Monroe's tales of 'romance, sarcasm and math' are a tri-weekly delight, ranging from dreadful pop-culture puns to epic tales of adventure in the distant past that unfurl frame by frame over four months.

The art is basic at best, and you'll need to understand graphs to get half the jokes. But what elevates XKCD over its competitors is Monroe's endless curiosity and passion for explaining the world. He'll make a side reference to cartography and then you'll spend three hours on Wikipedia reading up on the differences between map projections. And enjoy it.

No comic has become a bigger part of the fabric of the web.

Read XKCD here

Never Mind The Bullets

This interactive production from Microsoft won't win any awards for narrative - it's a run-of-the-mill tale of a wild west shootout. But when you see it moving, you'll understand why it earned a place on this list.

It uses the parallax scrolling capabilities of HTML5 to deliver an extraordinarily kinetic experience - cigarette smoke curls lazily into the air, assailants sneak up behind characters and bullet casings tinkle on to the ground.

Best of all, the whole thing can be customised to add extra dialogue that you can share with a friend. Now we just need to see the same technology applied to a real comic. 

Read Never Mind The Bullets here

Diesel Sweeties

One of the longest running entries on this list, Richard Stevens' webcomic depicts a world where robots and humans fall in love with each other.

It began in 2000 and for the first few years the format was pretty fixed, but since then it's expanded into more varied configurations - including the occasional animated panel.

It's perhaps not so immediate as some of the others on this list - you'll need to follow it for a while to get some of the irony-laden subtleties and grow to appreciate the characters. But soon enough you'll learn that everyone has their hang-ups and emotional handicaps. Especially the robots. 

Read Diesel Sweeties here