I really enjoyed the last column I wrote that featured some comics found on the internet. Some of them are “webcomics” and some of them are just comics on the web.

Stem Sell page 1

Stem Sell page 1

Stem Sell by Ryan Ferrier, Ger Curti and Lara Maruca

Forgive me for featuring a Challenger Comics story again, but their site really is home to some of the best genre comics I’ve read in ages. The fact that so many of their titles are online and free is exceptional, and I picked up a couple printed titles from their table at Emerald City Comic Con this year. Stem Sell is an ugly, weird and insanely creative short story about blood, sex and rock-n-roll. It’s so fun to read a story that keeps your attention but teases ahead so effectively. You won’t know exactly what’s going on until the very end, but you’ll never feel lost or misdirected. My only complaint is that the lettering is quite small, even for the large images, and at times can be a strain to read.

Panel 4 from 3 Snake Leaves

Panel 4 from 3 Snake Leaves

3 Snake Leaves by Emily Carroll

It’s not often that a comics artist uses the hypertext medium to their advantage. Most comics posted on the internet are comics that would look better printed on paper. Not so with Emily Carroll’s 3 Snake Leaves. At first glance it just seems to be a series of images, but the story is designed for scrolling, not for page turning. Carroll’s art is beautiful, and her use of the medium is inspired. Be sure to look for the secret hovers, and don’t settle for just one ending. It’s also quite easy to get lost in Carroll’s website full of other comics and artistic goodies.

RL 2

RL 2

RL Book 2 by Tom Hart

I am recommending book 2 of Tom Hart’s memoir about life before and after the death of his almost-two-year-old daughter, Rosalie, but I would also recommend that you read RL Book 1. I’m not sure it matters which you read first, but why not start at the beginning. These books are the closest I’ve ever come to crying while reading a comic, and I challenge you to get through either without feeling a tightness in your throat and water rushing to your eyes. I can only assume that as a cartoonist, this is Hart’s best way to cope with the loss of his daughter. And if I could tell him anything, it has helped me understand what a deceptively enormous thing having a child can be. Hart’s displays true bravery here, and the other bits of nonsense I’ve written about in this post seem pointless in comparison.

The Hound's Tale page 3

The Hound’s Tale page 3

The Hound’s Tale by Ian Densford and Alec McGovern (Sorry for the weird, direct link.)

The Hound’s Tale isn’t perfect. It could use a lettering consult, for one. A few pages in and your eyes will be tired from squinting at the tiny bubbles and deciphering the odd fonts used. But that won’t matter. Because you won’t be able to stop reading it. The Hound’s Tale is a fever dream equal parts fairy tale and monster movie. A young boy and his enormous dog named Clifford Huath must defend a forest from a giant creature with four legs and an attitude problem. Along the way he befriends a few scoundrels and warriors, and together they hatch a plan to lure the creature away. There’s a deeper mystery here provided by the odd bookend chapters, and I hope to read more of this story soon. The Hound’s Tale has been around for a few years, but I only discovered it recently. I might have to track down one of the printed editions.

Blade Runner adaptation

Blade Runner adaptation

1982 Blade Runner adaptation by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Dan Green, Ralph Reese and Marie Severin

This, of course, isn’t really a web comic. It existed 31 years ago in printed form, but I’ve never seen a copy. I’d love to have one, even if it is adapted from the original cut of the movie, awkward voice-over and all. To be honest, the awkward voice over works quite a bit better in comics form, although I still think it diminishes Deckard a little bit. In any case, this is a fun stroll down memory lane. It’s not great, but worth scrolling through. I wish the scan were a little better. How fun would it be to have a cleaned up, remastered, hardcover edition of this?

You know, I’m not even halfway through the queue of comics that I have tagged in my Pocket account. I think next time I’ll write about something that was actually, you know, on my shelf. But there are so many good things out there on the internet, some of them (such as Emily Carroll’s “3 Snake Leaves”) that are best enjoyed in a browser.