Ten Great Webcomics Turned Books

Posted by Hilary Lawlor

I know what you’re thinking: why would I read the book versions of these comics when I can get them for free on the internet? Trust me, I thought that, too. But the reasons are: 

A.) Books are awesome! You can hold them in your hands and cuddle them and sit them with you at the breakfast table and argue with them about finances and…

B.) The creators frequently put comics into the books that are not available online, so you can ONLY read them if you get the books. And…

C.) Supporting artists by purchasing their books and merchandise is great! It feels awesome! It feels like tummy rubs and cheesy popcorn! You should do it sometimes, is what I’m saying.

1.Hark! A Vagrant (Kate Beaton): As I have stated before, there is something crazy going on in Canada that allows for every single Canadian resident to be able to create awesome comics. This is true and I did not make it up.

Kate Beaton is a perfect example,and her comic, Hark! A Vagrant, is hilarious and great. I bet you didn’t know that you wanted to read a comic about Chopin and Liszt hanging out, did you? Well, you do. And now, you can!

2. Hyperbole and a Half (Allie Brosh): You know all those weird thoughts that you have when you’re alone? What if they were illustrated in Microsoft Paint and given a blonde ponytail and unnervingly large eyes?

That’s what Hyperbole and a Half is, and it’s fantastic. Creator Allie Brosh (not Canadian, but Californian, which is pretty close) explores topics as dark as debilitating depression and as light as insane pets with the same deft humor.

3. My Dog: The Paradox: A Lovable Discourse About Man’s Best Friend (Matthew Inman): Most of you, I’m sure, are familiar with the fantastic webcomic The Oatmeal. Matthew Inman has been continually hitting home runs with this comic since he started it in 2009. My Dog: The Paradox is his third book out of five (soon to be six, what with his ridiculously successful Kickstarter project for a book about Exploding Kittens that I will totally read), but it’s my favorite because it so perfectly captures the relationship between humans and dogs. All the bittersweet things about living with pets, in one neat, hilarious little package. Sounds good to me.

4. xkcd: Volume 0 (Randall Munroe): Who would’ve thought that a few panels about stick figures frequently talking about science things would become one of the most popular webcomics on the internet? Me. I would have thought that. Because it’s awesome. Randall Munroe’s xkcd is funny and relatable, proving that it doesn’t take a massive artistic talent to create a workable comic. You just have to be, you know, super funny and intelligent. Easy-peasy.

5. Dinosaur Comics: Feelings Are Boring, Kissing Is Awesome (Ryan North): I LOVE Dinosaur Comics. I love the idea of a T-Rex and his smaller dinosaur friends walking around, saying incongruous and hilarious things. I know that everyone else loves it, too, and that’s why the comic is so popular and people read creator Ryan North’s books, but I love it… a lot.

It’s probably because he’s Canadian, they’re all Canadian. I think the real thing about Dinosaur Comics that pushes it over the edge for me is that the dinosaurs in the panels look like they’re taken from an educational kid’s book about dinosaurs. Their expressions are always “RAAARRRR,” even if they’re saying “I appreciate your honesty” or “pancakes are the best!”

6. Forming (Jesse Moynihan): Forming is the first of a trilogy collecting Jess Moynihan's webcomic of the same name into printed volumes, and if you haven't stumbled across his work online, it's pretty amazing. Moynihan took every creationist fable and mythical creature you've ever known and mashed them up to create one huge, fabulous, blasphemous battle royale.

7. FreakAngels, Vol. I (Warren Ellis): Showing his readers that children really ARE the future, Warren Ellis created this awesome webcomic about 12 psychic kids who accidentally flood the entire world, and then, 23 years later, are still dealing with the ramifications of their actions and defending themselves against one of their kind who has turned against them. It's post-apocalyptic, but it's not about zombies, and it's not set in a weird, futuristic version of the United States! Whaaaat?

8. Soppy (Philippa Rice): I will preface this book with a warning: Do not read it if you are sad about relationship things. Philippa Rice has created a comic that encapsulates all of the adorable and wonderful things about being in an everyday, boring relationship with someone, and it is so sweet and funny and great in every way. She wrote it about her own relationship, and that fact, along with the simple art and red-and-black color scheme only serve to make it a thousand times more endearing. It is great, but DANGEROUS for those of us with only Meg Ryan movies, tissues and ice cream to heal our heartbreak.

9. Ice Cream & Sadness (Rob DenBleyker, Kris Wilson, Dave McElfatrick): No, this is NOT more about relationship sadness, it is Cyanide and Happiness, hands down one of the funniest comics on the internet! Cyanide and Happiness is frequently violent, often intelligent, and always hilarious, and this book is the perfect example of all of those great things. Similar to xkcd, the art is simple, but the characters are slightly more fleshed-out (think stick figures with rectangle bodies), and the tone is often a bit angrier.

10. Nimona (Noelle Stevenson): This one is particularly exciting because it hasn’t even been PUBLISHED yet, but the creator of the webcomic Nimona, Noelle Stevenson (CANADIAN) is putting out this book in May and I can’t WAIT. It’s about this shape-shifting teenage girl who endears herself to a supervillain, and they work as a team and do awesome and occasionally very adorable things together! It’s so great, it’s just SO great.