It’s nice to be home.
This is Miyu, the latest addition to our cast. You can imagine the sort of tribulations an oni transwoman goes through when doing cam work.
Some might think it’s a bit late in the month for a retrospective post, but to that I say “yeah, whatever.” Lots of great things happened in webcomics last year, and I wanted to share some of the coolest ones I started reading in that time. Some of them actually started last year, and some of them have been around for a while, but I only just started reading them. I read a lot of comics, so this is just a subset of what I’m checking out on a weekly basis. So, in no particular order:
SAKANA - described as “A thrilling tale of two socially dysfunctional brothers working at the largest fish market in the world, and the things they must do to get paid, make friends and date ladies,” Madeline Rupert’s SAKANA draws on her own time in Japan. Rupert’s style is lively, and her skill with lines makes the black and white (no toning) art pop. Bonus points for non-straight characters!
Yellow Peril – Jamie Noguchi is a metal music playing, dumpling loving, Kamen Rider otaku. He is also a super talented artist who puts out a great MWF comic that often incorporates those same subjects. Focused on three office workers who leave an evil corporation to start their own design firm, it features a great cast of supporting characters including a battle chef, a gay martial arts porn star, and a zen bubble tea guru. Bonus points for non-straight characters and sex workers!
Check, Please! - The first Tumblr comic on the list! Ngozi Ukazu celebrates hockey bro culture in this truly heartwarming comic about a gay freshman on a college hockey team, and how he finds his place within the tight-knit team. Learn new things about hockey and ogle cute boys simultaneously!
Best Friends Forever - BFF is the tale of the complicated high school relationship between Teddy, an effeminate brainiac, and Vincent, the football star who is a little out of place at the wealthy private school. The artist, Mickey, has gone through some incredible style experiments while working on the comic, and has more than proven their skill at telling a nuanced story with rich emotions.
Monsterkind – Taylor C. has been creating vibrant artwork for a while now, and Monsterkind was a much-anticipated launch. It follows Wallace, a human social worker living in a district filled with monsters. The monsters themselves, especially Wallace’s neighbors, are wonderful complex characters. The story is just getting underway, and it’s showing a lot of promise. It’s no surprise I love the whole idea behind this comic.
Perish the Thought – This comic just got started, but the fun, expressive style, and the goofy, macabre sense of humor has hooked me immediately. This is Esa Ryngin’s first solo comic, and it has a ton of potential.
Validation – Christian Beraneck and Kelci Crawford have come together to make a great comic about Ally, a girl who is trying to stay happy through the constant complications of being a transwoman. I really appreciate the frankness of the story about the difficulty of being trans* both in our small comics world, and the world at large. The art has a great tactile feel that I’ve missed since the switch to digital.
Oh Joy Sex Toy – You are probably already reading this comic! Erika Moen launched the new sex toy review comic last year and it is the perfect venue for her. The illustrations and writing are inclusive to a variety of bodies and genders, which makes it a great resource for queer persons. She has also reviewed my buddies over at the Crash Pad Series!
Go Get a Roomie! – Francophone Chloé C. is the mastermind behind this sex- poly- and kink-positive comic about the relationships of Roomie, a sort of urban nomad who ends up in the beds of her ever-widening pool of friends/drinking buddies. The writing is deep and loving, with fun meanderings into fantasy worlds and fables. Highly recommended.
You Suck - I’ve been following Josh Lesnick’s comics for more than a decade now, and his latest NSFW venture is brilliant fun. Anna, a stoner college student and closeted bondage pervert, has a whole new life thanks to the succubus that has latched onto her like a puppy. Lesnick’s cartoon-influenced style does wonders for telling this strange, sexy tale.
Battle Dog - Andrew Duff and Matt Cummings team up for a beautiful satire of a magical girl fantasy series. I can’t speak highly enough of Cummings’s art, that gives the comic a fantastic Saturday morning anime feel. Princess Wyra has inherited the magical weapon of her family, and is destined to do battle against her evil necromancer brother, but she doesn’t have to be excited about it.
Paranatural – The Activity Club is a mysterious school group where young students use enchanted artifacts to combat monsters that only they can see. It may sounds like a standard action anime, but Zack Morrison’s impeccable comedic timing combined with his skill with colors made it difficult to put down until I had worked through the entire archives.
Rachael & Penny – Rachael Amps is devoted to being a rock star 24/7, which plays hell on the life of her mousy, British manager, Penny, which is only made worse by her lovesick crush on the trouble-making musician. Lauren Zukauskas has one of those art styles that just grabbed me instantly. As a whole, the comic gives me fond memories of Blue Monday and Hopeless Savages, but has an identity all its own.
Kyle & Atticus – Sfé Monster is a dynamo. While working on this great comic about a genderqueer teen and his robot, he also launched Eth’s Skin (which didn’t make it on this list technically because it started in 2014, but go read it NOW), and is editing the Beyond anthology. His art is clean and beautiful, and he packs SO MUCH interesting detail into his wide shots, which is a soft spot for me in any comic. Anyone who combines queerness and mythical creatures is clearly a cool person in my book, which is a great lead-in to…
Skin Deep – I am like 80% sure that I followed Kory Bing’s furry art back in the day, but in 2013 I rediscovered her work on Skin Deep, an amazing story of mythical creatures living disguised as humans. I really appreciate the layers that the story works on as an analogy to queerness, from closeting to coming out to finding a supportive community. It’s not just interesting as an analogy, however. Bing has created a truly fascinating mythical world with characters that I instantly loved.
Steve Rogers’ American Captain – picking up on one of my favorite aspects of the movieverse Captain America–that he’s an illustrator–the creator, Robyn, has gone a step further and made an ongoing series of Steve Rogers making a traditional American autobio comic as a method of dealing with his traumatic life. The art and tone are spot-on, and I love how the characters simultaneously stay true to their movie personas while also gaining much deeper dimensions than action blockbusters allow.