One of the risks in following a new webcomic is that the story might never end. You might end up with a comic that goes on for years only to have the creator abandon it. But there are some great webcomics out there that have wrapped up their storylines instead of fading into oblivion, leaving hundreds—and sometimes thousands—of pages for us to enjoy.
Know a great finished webcomic that isn't on this list? Add it in the comments!
Top image from A Redtail's Dream.
If you enjoy offbeat fantasy stories (and wombats), try Digger by Ursula Vernon: There is a reason that Ursula Vernon's epic about a tough but tender-hearted wombat engineer lost in a magical antipodes won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story. The eponymous Digger has been magically transported far from home to a land of gods, demons, and religious fanatics and all she wants to do is get home. But along the way, she gets involved with a tribe of wisecracking hyenas, a deadly child, talking snails, and a statue of Ganesh. It's an oddball epic filled with striking art, with a heroine who is pragmatic and always tries to do the right thing, even when she's not quite sure what that is.
If you enjoy lovable mad scientists, try Narbonic by Shaenon Garrity: When technician Dave Davenport graduated from college, he had no idea that he'd end up working for the gerbil-obsessed mad scientist Helen Narbon and her psychotic intern Mell—but he figures it's no less evil than working for a software company. Garrity is endlessly capable of blending smart and silly humor, and her sense of genre savvy makes Narbonic a delight. If you're still hankering for more Garrity, check out her X-Files tribute comic Monster of the Week and Skin Horse, which she co-created with Jeffrey Wells.
If you enjoy snarky Brits getting into bizarre hijinks, try Bobbins and Scary Go Round by John Allison: John Allison has a knack for dialogue, creating characters who express their personalities through highly individual speech patterns. Towards the end of his run on Bobbins, he also showed a taste for the science fictional and supernatural, sending some of his characters into the Scary Go Round, a comic filled with alternate dimensions, robots, time travel, and zombies. Although he officially wrapped both comics a while back, Allison continued the Bobbins universe with Bad Machinery, in which a new generation of characters solve supernatural mysteries, and gradually began to weave his older characters into a new series of Bobbins strips.
If you enjoy Victorian flavored supernatural romance, try The Phoenix Requiem by Sarah Ellerton: Anya is a compassionate physician in training who has devoted herself completely to her work—at least until the mysterious and charming Jonas Faulkner turns up half-dead at the edge of the village she tends to. At the same time, a frightening plague takes hold among the villagers, and Anya must learn about Jonas' tragic past in order to help stop the supernatural sickness.
If you enjoy sharp-witted epic space adventures, try Spacetrawler by Christopher Baldwin: A group of alien activists kidnap a group of humans so that they claim their place on an intergalactic council and achieve freedom for a slave race—but the situation ends up being far more complicated than the activists originally believed. By turns funny, heartbreaking, and frightening, Spacetrawler is a complex character-driven drama filled with alien sex, body modifications, grand moments of selfishness and heroism, and the physical and psychological toll that war takes on sentient beings. Spacetrawler isn't the only completed webcomic Baldwin has under his belt; he's currently rerunning his earlier comics Bruno and Little Dee. He also recently launched a new scifi gag webcomic, One Way.
If you enjoy goofy historical fantasies with vampires, try Bite Me! by Dylan Meconis: Struck by a desire to mock A Tale of Two Cities and Interview with the Vampire in a single go, Dylan Meconis created Bite Me! a supernatural comedy set during the French Revolution. Claire is a wench who is turned into a vampire, and her lively, crass humor hardly endears her to the more refined vampire set. Meconis has also turned her interest in history (and theology) toward a more dramatic webcomic, her currently running Family Man.
If you enjoy fantasy world-building with a heavy dose of the surreal, try Rice Boy and Order of Tales by Evan Dahm: Evan Dahm started building the strange worlds of Overside and Underside in his dream-like epic Rice Boy, about a small creature sent on a mission by an emissary of God. The colorful world seen in Rice Boy is then put in stark black and white in Order of Tales, which features one of the same characters but is focused on the power and nature of storytelling, and how a guardian of stories might turn into a hero. Dahm is currently spinning another tale set in the same world, Vattu, about a nomad turned slave.
If you enjoy short horror stories, try Split Lip by Sam Costello: Sam Costello is an omnivorous fan of the horror genre, which is clear from the collection of stories he has written in his anthology series Split Lip. Employing a different artist for each story, Costello explores serial killers, Lovecraftian cosmology, bugs, aliens, body horror—anything that will keep you wide awake all night.
If you enjoy innovative storytelling, try Problem Sleuth by Andrew Hussie: Andrew Hussie uses interactive fiction as the inspiration for his MS Paint Adventures comics, the most famous of which is the wildly popular Homestuck. Problem Sleuth is the one completed adventure, however, starting out as a simple parody of text adventure games with a film noir flavor and evolving into something much stranger.
If you enjoy long-form mysteries with a dash of Lynchian weirdness, try Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart: Inspired by a seemingly supernatural vision from his childhood, Cameron Stewart created a trippy story about the nature of memory, self-identity, and what sons can inherit from their fathers and grandfathers. Alex is discontent man who discovers a photo of his grandfather with a mysterious young woman, but as he tries to track her down, he finds himself occasionally transported to an island with a dead tree. As he tries to understand what's happening to him, his life begins to unravel as he is caught up in an unnatural conspiracy.
If you like to watch government agents battle extraterrestrial threats, try It's Walky! by David Willis: Like John Allison, David Willis likes to play with the same set of characters, although he plays out their dynamics in different universes with very different plotlines. It's Walky! follows his gag strip Roomies!, casting his characters as agents of SEMME, an organization dedicated to protecting Earth from aliens. Many of those same characters pop up in Willis' ongoing comics Shortpacked! and Dumbing of Age.
If you enjoy gorgeously rendered mythological settings, try A Redtail's Dream by Minna Sundberg: After an irresponsible fox spirit traps their Finnish village in the realm of dreams, a boy and his dog must travel through the dream world and convince the village leaders to direct the villagers back to the waking world. But first they have to help the leaders accomplish the tasks they want to finish in their dreams. Sundberg recently launched a new comic, the post-apocalyptic Stand Still, Stay Silent.
If you enjoy angsty post-apocalyptic dramas, try Freakangels by Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield: The Transmetropolitan and Global Frequency writer brings us a tale of post-apocalyptic Whitechapel that asks, "What if the Midwich Cuckoos grew up to be twenty-somethings?" After flooding England, the Freakangels have set up a haven in Whitechapel, where they try to use their skills to bring back some semblance of civilization. But it's hard to save their encampment when they have to deal with infighting, jealousy, and threats from within their own group.
If you enjoy Buffy-inspired stories that blend the supernatural and the ordinary, try Demonology 101 by Faith Erin Hicks: Demonology 101 is the first comic made by Faith Erin Hicks, who has gone on to produce a number of stellar comics like The Adventures of Superhero Girl and Friends with Boys. This early comic focuses on a teenaged demon raised by humans who has to deal with both high school and intrusions from the supernatural world.
If you enjoy video game-inspired comics (and/or Atomic Robo), try 8-Bit Theater by Brian Clevinger: Brian Clevinger (writer of Atomic Robo) used video game sprites to illustrate his comic, which started out as a parody of a wide range of classic video games, but gradually focused more and more on Final Fantasy. Clevinger is also responsible for the hilariously depressing webcomic Warbot in Accounting.
If you enjoy spacefaring comedy, try Starslip by Kris Straub: What happens after a military starship is turned into a spacefaring museum? Starslip recounts the adventures of a crew whose mission is cultural but whose ship is still capable of military operations. Straub is a prolific webcomicker, having most recently created the horror comic Broodhollow.
If you enjoy celebrations of geeks and fandom, try Fans! by T Campbell and Jason Waltrip: When the science fiction and fantasy fan club at this college isn't watching movies or playing RPGs, they're saving the world from threats straight out of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. Fans! is an affectionate tribute to geeks of all stripes, but it's also a rich epic about the growth of its characters and their worldviews. Campbell is another big hitter in the world of webcomics; his latest comic is the high-fantasy tale Guilded Age. I'm also particularly fond of his (completed) Betty-and-Veronica-sans-Archie webcomic Penny and Aggie, with art by the stellar Gisèle Lagacé.