The number one question that people ask me when the find out that I write about webcomics is, "What webcomic should I be reading?" But really, which webcomics you should be reading depends on the sorts of things you like. For example, if you like certain TV shows, then these webcomics may be for you.
None of these webcomics is exactly like an existing TV show — that would be boring but each one has some similar qualities. If you like certain aspects of these TV shows, then these webcomics are worth a read:
If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, try Gunnerkrigg Court by Tom Siddell
Gunnerkrigg Court isn't Sunnydale High. In fact, it's weirder. The massive industrial boarding school hides ghosts, minotaurs, and oddball robots and across the river lies a mystical forest packed with fairies and gods. At the heart of it all is Antimony "Annie" Carver, a girl with a strong connection to the mystical, and her best friend Katerina "Kat" Donlan, a born scientist. Gunnerkrigg Court starts out a bit on the silly side, but it gradually develops a rich mythology and a student body filled with secrets. And it's the more emotional arcs (particularly the current one) that make Gunnerkrigg Court such a page-turner.
If you like Farscape, try Spacetrawler by Christopher Baldwin
In the hopes of liberating a slave race called the Eebs, a group of extraterrestrial activists abducts six humans to serve as government representatives as Earth. As you might imagine, nothing goes quite as planned, and soon these motley humans aren't just far from home — they're also caught up in an interplanetary war. Warning: You will get far too attached to these characters and they will break your heart.
If you like Twin Peaks, try Broodhollow by Kris Straub
Like a small-town mystery where everything is more nefarious than it seems? Follow Wadsworth Zane, a neurotic encyclopedia salesman, to the quaint little town of Broodhollow. Broodhollow is the town of a thousand holidays, a place where (just about) everyone has a smile and there's a ritual for every occasion. Still, Zane can't shake the feeling that some calamity is about to occur. For the first time in his life, he may be right.
If you like Once Upon a Time, try Namesake by Isabelle Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton
In the universe of Namesake, the fantasy worlds from fiction are real, but they can only be visited by humans with certain names. Only girls named Dorothy travel to Oz; only girls named Alice journey through Wonderland, and so on. But when a young woman named Emma mysteriously turns up in Oz, she and her loved ones are thrown into a world of fantasy protagonists, the writers who jot down their stories, and a conspiracy that threatens the whole system.
If you like Powers, try Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan and Molly Ostertag
If you're less interest in Powers for the sex and violence than for the exploration of superheroes in the real world, dive into Strong Female Protagonist. Alison Green used to be a superhero, but she didn't retire because of some loss of superpowers. She just didn't feel like wearing a mask and a cape was the best way to save the world.
Now that she's in college, though, things aren't exactly easy for the former Mega Girl. Her celebrity status makes it hard for her to stand up to even the smallest injustice, and she still doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. And the only person who really understands her is a former supervillain.
If you like Game of Thrones, try Unsounded by Ashley Cope
Webcomics that explore fantasy realms are a dime a dozen, but few are as richly developed as Unsounded. Unlike so much of high fantasy, Unsounded isn't just set in some ersatz medieval England; her characters aren't dressed like something from a cheap production of Robin Hood and they don't all look white. And while there are some grand and vicious beasties populating her land, it's the humans that you really have to look out for in this world.
Sette Frummagem has been sent on a quest by her father, the king of thieves, and has been given a grumpy undead sorcerer, Duane Adelier, as her unwilling escort. They're a mismatched pair, and their journey gets even more complicated when they come across a group of child slavers who are using their quarry for some sort of dark ritual. If you're looking for a fantasy tale with black humor, characters you can invest in, and more to fight than monsters, this is one webcomic to sink your eyeballs into.
If you like Adventure Time, try Forming by Jesse Moynihan
Adventure Time writer and storyboard artist Jesse Moynihan develops his own weird world in his mindbending webcomic Forming. An eclectic creation myth, Forming blends Biblical and Greek stories with aliens and androids to create the weirdest tale of the origin of the world this side of Plato's Symposium. It is by turns cerebral and crude, brilliant and bizarre, and the artwork is like nothing you'll see in any other comic. A word of warning: While Adventure Time is an all-ages story, Forming is most definitely for adults. It's frequently NSFW.
If you like Attack on Titan, try Stand Still, Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg
As in Attack on Titan, the humans in Stand Still, Stay Silent (Minna Sundberg's follow-up to A Redtail's Dream) have lost the world. After a plague wiped out most of humanity, the remnants of civilization cling to settlements in Iceland, Finland, and Scandinavia. Ninety years later, few people have ventured into the "Silent World" and faced the monsters that live there. Now, an undertrained and underfunded research team is venturing out into the ruins. The comic's a slow burn, but it's worth it for the horrors that lurk in the places where humanity once reigned.
If you like Sailor Moon, try Agents of the Realm by Mildred Louis
There are plenty of magical girl webcomics out in the world, but there's something special about Mildred Louis' Agents of the Realm. We've got five college students with very different backgrounds, goals, and personalities, who discover that they're superheroes destined to protect two different dimensions. The mythology of the worlds is already a rich one, but it's the dynamic between our five magical girls that anchors this comic. Plus, the outfits are way cool.
If you like Lost Girl and Grimm, try Sorcery 101 by Kel McDonald
The supernatural gets soapy in Kel McDonald's long-running Sorcery 101. You've got a former prince who renounced his title and is bonded to a devious vampire. You've got his best friend, a former artist who went colorblind after becoming a werewolf. You've got demon mobsters, self-loathing vampires, demon hunters who tend bar at the local supernatural watering hole, unsuccessful necromancers, and impulsive teenagers who are just discovering the supernatural world hiding amidst the human one. It's great fun.
If you like Firefly, try Dicebox by Jenn Manley Lee
If you like to keep your science fiction low on aliens but high on human drama, take a journey with Griffen and Molly, a pair of migrant workers who hop from habitable world to habitable world in search of temporary employment. Sometimes the jobs are a little more exciting than they would have hoped, and as we travel with the two women, it becomes clear that they're both hiding secrets.
If you like Tales from the Crypt, try False Positive by Mike Walton
Mike Walton spins a variety of horror stories in his webcomics anthology: body horror, alien invasions, eldritch beings, trickster gods, unlucky serial killers, experiments gone awry, and vampires who feed on something worse than blood. Each story comes with its own uncomfortable twist. Pleasant dreams.
If you like Lost, try The Abaddon by Koren Shadmi
Ter arrives in apartment 262 with a locked suitcase and no memory of who he is or why he's there. Nothing is quite right in the apartment, either. His roommates are lunatics. Nothing works properly. And pink slime appears everywhere. What's going on? Fortunately, The Abaddon is a complete story and it does have some answers. Unfortunately, they may not be the answers Ter wants.
If you like Death Note, try Demon by Jason Shiga
I have to credit my friend Jeff Lester of the Wait? What? Podcast with coming up with this comparison, and it's a fitting one. Jason Shiga's perennial protagonist Jimmy Yee is an actuary who has decided that he has nothing left to live for. But when he attempts to kill himself, he discovers that he has a surprising supernatural ability. As with Death Note, the fun of Demon is in watching Jimmy fully explore his (incredibly violent) powers and using his superior intellect to outsmart everyone around him. And so far, there's no L holding him back.
Full disclosure: Shiga and I are friends and members of the Couscous Collective.