Last May, Caitlin Rosberg wrote a feature on the differences between digital comics and webcomics, and how an online environment wildly alters what comics are and can be. (For a deeper dive into the evolution of sequential art and concepts like the infinite canvas, we’d recommend Scott McCloud’s Reinventing Comics: How Imagination and Technology Are Revolutionizing an Art Form.) But this development has also led to some cognitive dissonance; Paste once published year-end lists celebrating the best webcomics only a few years ago. Now we don’t. Why? Because print and online have never been so confusingly enmeshed, with creators like Emily Carroll, Farel Dalrymple and Ben Towle straddling that tight rope, or in some cases, crossing over to print completely. Some works that were only available online are now exclusively in print, or have transitioned to third-party hubs like comiXology.
That said, online comics remain the perfect gateway into the world of sequential art. We wanted to create a resource for anyone attempting to spread the comic gospel, with (save a few) completely free works that carry the same caliber of quality as mainstream print publishers. In the following list, we’ve curated specific picks from those aforementioned year-end lists while adding 20-plus new webcomics to look into. And we know: there are a lot of webcomics, so this is just the beginning. If we’ve missed your favorite, let us know on our Twitter feed.