While superheroes dominate print comics, they pop up less often across the webcomics landscape. But there are still plenty of great webcartoonists putting their own spin on superhumans, lampooning the superhero genre, paying tribute to it, and exploring what makes a person truly heroic.
Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag: Alison used to be a superhero. She is physically invulnerable, super strong, and can leap into a fifth story classroom through the window. But ever since she decided to hang up her cape and enroll in college, Alison has been trying to figure out how to be a good person in a world where people have superpowers—and she's not the only one. While Alison is beginning to understand that the world isn't simply divided into heroes and villains, some superpowered folks go to extremes to save as many people as possible.
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella by Justin Pierce: If you find yourself in dire straights, Wonderella is the last superhero you want coming to her rescue. She's hard-drinking, cynical, lazy, and only marginally a better than the supervillains she faces. But at least you'll die with one of Wonderella's witty quips ringing in your ears. Sometimes Wonderella lampoons superhero conventions, but frequently she turns her sharp tongue on aspects of daily life that just plain bug her.
The Young Protectors by Alex Woolfson and Adam DeKraker: Kyle is a fire-powered teen superhero with a secret: he's gay. On his first, tentative trip to a gay bar, Kyle is spotted by the Annihilator, a powerful, older (and handsome) supervillain. After the villain extracts a kiss from young Kyle, Kyle finds himself drawn to the Annihilator and wonders if the famous bad guy isn't really such a bad guy after all. But Kyle has a lot to learn, both as a superhero and as someone learning to have adult friendships and romances, and he'll have to grow up fast when a powerful threat looms over the world.
Evil Inc. by Brad Guigar: This pun-filled comic centers on a corporation run by supervillains, for supervillains. But things are a bit complicated for one employee, Miss Match, who is secretly married to famed superhero Captain Heroic. Some of the story lines deal with reality-altering phenomena, while others focus on the Match/Heroic household, where mommy is both a supervillain and the chief breadwinner. (Plus, Evil Inc. has a daycare.) And I suspect that Guigar may be a supervillain himself, making so many wonderfully corny jokes that his readers' eyes could permanently roll back in their heads.
Kiwi Blitz by Mary Cagle: Steffi Frohlich is the daughter of a famed mech designer, and when her father gives her a kiwi-shaped mech for her birthday, she decides to use it to fight crime. Naturally, there's a bit of a learning curve, but it's a largely joyful superhero romp filled with robot battles, illegal body modifications, and a bit of German swearing.
Propeller by Ricardo Mo, Henry Ponciano, and Alberto Muriel: Just because you grow up rich and have an aptitude for tinkering, that doesn't make you Tony Stark. When Rex depletes his fortune to assemble a physics-defying device, he finds his life playing out less like a superhero comic than like a crime movie, one filled with bank heists, mysterious blackmailers, and suspicious cops.
The Adventures of Dr. McNinja by Christopher Hastings: In the ludicrous world Hastings has built, it only makes sense that the main character is both a superhero ninja and a practicing physician (and consequently a terrible disappointment to his professional ninja parents). After all, he has to stand against a world where an evil unicorn, zombie Benjamin Franklin, astronauts mutated by radiation, cyborg bears, a crime boss who resembles the Burger King, and dinosaurs are simply part of daily life. It's a kitchen sink of action-packed weirdness, and it works.
Steve Rogers' American Captain by Robyn: This imagined diary comic was on our list of best new webcomics of 2013. It follows the life of the Marvel movie version of Steve Rogers while he's out of costume as he adjusts to life in the modern world and tries to figure out his place in it. It's particularly fun when the comic shows him interacting with his Avengers teammates and Pepper Potts, who bonds with him over art and dealing with Tony.
JL8 by Yale Stewart: Yale Stewart is magic. His comic, which imagines DC characters as eight-year-olds, manages to trade on readers' affection for characters from the Justice League and beyond while remaining accessible to people with only a passing familiarity with the comics. It's sweet and funny, and while it has been updating infrequently as of late, it's a treat whenever Stewart comes out with a new installment.
Dumbing of Age by David Willis: Okay, Dumbing of Age isn't strictly a superhero comic. It is, for the most part, a comic about students in their first year of college. It just so happens that one of those students decided to don a cape and mask and fight campus crime. The current arc explores what made her turn collegiate vigilante, and follows the other characters trying to learn her identity.
And here are a few superhero-themed webcomics that have either ended or are on indefinite hiatus, but are still worth checking out: The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks, about a young superhero just starting out; Tales of a Checkered Man by Denver Brubaker, in which an ordinary man becomes a masked vigilante in a city where superheroing is against the law; Manta-Man by Chad Sell, a sexy and silly webcomic about a bartender who can turn into a manta ray; God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Browne, about a crew of superpowered narcissists hired by NASA to keep farmers from launching themselves into space (supposedly a second series of the comic is in the works; the first is out in trade paperback); and Plan B, about a supervillain seeking revenge on her superhero ex-husband (currently archived in .CBZ format).