Somewhere in the space between graphic novels and surfing the web is a pastime all men can enjoy: reading webcomics. When you think of webcomics, your mind might go to things like Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal—short jokes that you can laugh at on your lunch break. But some webcomics are serial in nature, like graphic novels, and can weave stories that will make you laugh, cry, and feel the enormous weight.
If those are your schtick, this is the list for you. These 10 webcomics that every guy should read will do more than just give you a chuckle. They have serious substance—and sometimes, serious reading material. Pull out your favorite notebook and make a list--you're not going to want to miss these.
Homestuck is a comic by MS Paint Adventures that starts weird and gets weirder. In it, a couple of friends accidentally bring about the apocalypse by playing a beta version of a video game. The webcomic is over 8,000 pages long and took 7 years to complete, so if you’re taking this one on, be ready for the long haul. But you know a webcomic is great when servers have crashed due to fans overloading it to read it. If you like video game tropes and time travel, you’ll love Homestuck.
Daughter of the Lilies
Manticores, goblins, and cannibalistic elves are what you’ll find with Daughter of the Lilies, a webcomic in which a monster-hunter falls in love with a monster. It has high-quality pages and a beautiful storyline. If you take mental health seriously, this webcomic, which looks at things like anxiety in a new light, is sure to interest you.
If you’re looking for bright humor, adventure, and audience interaction, look no further than Paranatural. In it, Max and a group of middle-schoolers called the Activity Club play games, fight bullies, go up against ghosts, and unravel mysteries. The webcomic reads like old adventure cartoons you might have watched—sort of a Recess meets Teen Titans ordeal. Meanwhile, Morrison includes alt text on each page and will chat with their readers on Twitter and Tumblr, so you can get real interactions with the author/illustrator of this fun comic.
The Last Halloween
If you like monsters, and comedy and horror smashed into one, The Last Halloween is a webcomic you’re going to love. One of the most appealing aspects of The Last Halloween is how much the main character, Mona, does not want to save the world. Her monster friends encourage her—with more than a few nudges—to do what needs to be done. It’s super gory, so maybe not one to share with the kids, but a great read.
What do you get when you combine philosophy, science, technology, and death? Dresden Codak is an exploration of just that. Combining dark, gloomy artwork with touches of dry humor, the steampunk-sci-fic webcomic series is told over a series of long arcs, with the current, longest-running ark being Dark Science. It won the 2008 Web Cartoonist’s Choice Awards for Outstanding use of Color and Outstanding Use of the Medium. But for guys, its most important attribute is the intrigue of time travel that it continually explores.
Action. Humor. Blood-curdling screams. Power Nap has everything you could want from a webcomic. In a world where the need for sleep has been eliminated by a pill called Z-Sup, Drew Spencer, allergic to the pill, tries to function. As he tries to hold down a job that demands excessive hours while still needing to sleep and wanting to have some sort of life, the line between reality and fiction become blurred—for Drew and the reader both. The comic descends slowly into something more and more bizarre and enticing, with the potential insanity of the main character a serious driving force in the tension. This comic is perfect for those days when you think, “Man, how much more could I get done if I didn’t have to sleep?”
If you really appreciate sound world-building, Unsounded is the comic for you. A fantasy-adventure webcomic that starts off with Sette, the daughter of the Lord of Thieves, trying to carry out a mission for her dad, Unsounded explores a fascinating world with multiple fictional cultures that feel as real and vivid as any culture you’ve encountered. Dark and disturbing, the webcomic is peppered with Sette’s foul wit, making the actual horror of the events occurring easier to take in, but no less disturbing.
What would you do if you suddenly found yourself pulled into an alternate universe you didn’t understand? That’s what happens to Fiona in Supernormal Step. A character from our universe, she finds herself pulled into a supernormal universe. As she tries to find her way home, she’s pulled in different directions by two political parties she has no interest in helping. If you’ve ever felt like you don’t really belong, you’ll appreciate the issues Fiona faces in Supernormal Step.
On the surface, Guilded Age looks like a regular, RPG-based webcomic with a team of adventurers who start a guild. However, the more you read it, the more you realize something else is happening. They may be more than adventurers—they may be players in a game. Rife with intrigue, Guilded Age manages to draw you into a plot with potential conspiracies beneath the surface without losing its humorous edge.
Gunnerkrigg Court is the story of Antimony Carver, who begins attending school at Gunnerkrigg Court after the death of her mother. It explores her relationship between the people of the Court and the creatures of the forest, who have been separated by a great chasm for over a hundred years. Antimony acts as an emissary between the two groups while uncovering the mysteries that both the Court and the Forest hold from each other and themselves.
There are more amazing webcomics for guys to read than we could possibly discuss in one blog post. However, these ten are particularly engaging. If you’re the kind of guy who likes to explore the intrigues of the universe, these are ten amazing webcomics to start off with that you should be sure to read.