Here can be found links to a multiplicity of excellent comics, and possibly a few other things of interest.
Bob and George is the ancestor of all known sprite comics, in one way or another. There's at least one sprite comic that's older, but Bob and George popularized the method of illustration, for good or for ill. A vast quantity of sprite comic credit their inspiration to David Anez's work. I can only claim inspiration in a secondhand sort of way, having been inspired by comics that drew their inspiration from BnG, though I was unaware of it at the time.
But enough of me. Let's discuss BnG itself. The plot parodies the Mega Man video games, which told the story of a robot hero striving to defeat evil robots and fight for everlasting peace. Anez turned the whole thing upside-down with a mostly stupid hero, wacky Robot Masters, random science fiction plotlines, and liberal amounts of ice cream. Originally, these Mega Man comics were intended as filler for a hand-drawn comic about two superhumans, the titular Bob and George. However, when Anez discovered how much readers enjoyed the Mega Man comics, he found a way to bring his title characters into the pixilated world.
One of the things Bob and George is responsible for is the commonly-seen Author character, a character who pops up far more often than necessary in the average sprite comic. You can feel free to blame Anez for this, but the fact is, his Author is superior to the imitations, well thought-out, and avoids deus ex machina when possible. Since I've tried in my work to create an Author who isn't just a vehicle for the creator's fantasies, I owe a debt to the original, aloof Author Anez created.
Bob and George, during its seven-year run, delighted in running gags and hideously convoluted plotlines, usually involving time travel. The whole point is the absurdity of it all, of course- Dave Anez took a tongue-in cheek attitude to absolutely everything, including his crazy twisted plotlines. Even the ending is downright crazy. I can attest that over the course of reading BnG, I laughed out loud several times. You don't find that just anywhere. Why not try reading it through to the end?
Content notes: There's lots of swearing, including a few F-bombs, and some crude jokes here and there.
Narbonic tells the story of mad scientist Helen Narbon, her hapless assistant Dave Davenport, weapon-toting intern Mell Kelley, and a hyper-intelligent lab gerbil named Artie. You've got to hand it to Shaenon Garrity. Not only did she create a comic romp through the world of mad, mad science, but she developed an exciting cast of characters, as well as a thrilling story.
The art in the early days is quite rough, but once I read further, I was hooked. Helen's particular brand of mad science mixed with all the strange things that happen at Narbon Labs results in one heck of a tale. And the final storyline was just plain awesome.
Also, anyone who can come up with ideas like "Antonio Smith, Forensic Linguist" simply deserves a medal.
Content notes: Sexual stuff is discussed, but there's nothing shown on screen. Some minor swearing here and there.
A sprite comic.
That is to say, it's literally a comic about sprites. A serial story about the pixels that inhabit our video games.
As it turns out, these video game characters have a mind of their own. Creator Dan Miller calls it "the imprint." Sprites tend to act like the characters they were created to represent- in most cases, they begin to take on the qualities of human beings. They become capable of thinking about their own lives and their place in the universe.
And when these sprites find their way to a sprite civilization on the web, anything can happen.
What's awesome is that Miller uses this clever concept to explore issues of human nature, predestination, and what it means to exist. A thrill to read.
Also notable for its innovative method of displaying comics with next-to-no strain on your internet connection.
Content notes: Some swearing. Some extremely mild innuendo.
Currently Active Works
While Bob and George has made me laugh out loud, 8-Bit Theater is capable of making me laugh all over again when I'm rereading the archives. Now that's just plain awesome.
One of the handful of high-quality sprite comics that appeared not long after BnG began, 8-Bit Theater tells the story of a ridiculously inept team of "heroes" as they blunder around the world of the original Final Fantasy, destroying everything in their path.
There's dumb-as nails Fighter, and his bizarre obsession with swords. There's Black Mage, who despite being horrendously evil, is kind of the universe's chew toy. There's Thief, who can practically steal things that don't exist. And there's Red Mage, who solves all his problems by rolling dice and messing around with his stats. Meanwhile, increasingly disgruntled White Mage watches from the sidelines, hoping that these lunatics will find some way to fulfill their cosmic destiny as the Light Warriors.
That's not even mentioning the equally incompetent villains, the Evil Princess Sara, and the dangerously nonsensical King Steve. Definitely worth a read, even if you've never heard of Final Fantasy.
Content notes: Lotsa swearing, including a very loud F-bomb. Black Mage also has a tendency to become quite lewd, so there are some crude jokes there.
Like many comics, El Goonish Shive starts off very rough, but soon develops an engaging story and great bunch of characters. We start off with Tedd Verres, a wacky nerd with a transformation gun, and his pal Elliot Dunkel. There's also Sarah, who's interested in Elliot. Their lives become more complicated when a mysterious girl named Grace appears on Tedd's doorstep.
As El Goonish Shive develops, more characters enter, each with their own story to tell. What's interesting about EGS is that while a ton of crazy shapeshifting goes on, it's examined realistically and used for dramatic effect. That's why I enjoy it so much- the characters are richly developed, and I'm hooked on Dan Shive's story.
Content notes: It honestly depends on what you consider objectionable. There are transformations across gender and species. There's also frank and realistic discussion of homosexuality. Swearing is relatively minor.
If BnG is the grandfather of sprite comics, Sluggy Freelance is the grandfather to all the webcomics across the Internet. It's been running since 1997, which is pretty old for the Internet, and it's still going.
Torg is a lighthearted, generally nice guy. Riff is his tinkering, invention-happy buddy. Together the two of them go on all sorts of absurd adventures. Then there's Zoe, who does her best to put up with them, and Gwynn, who's perhaps a little too involved with books of dark magic.
There's also a ditzy ferret, a shapeshifting alien, a crazy swordswoman who's after Torg's affection, and a homicidal bunny rabbit who slays holidays.
It's rarely missed an update in all that time, so there's a lot of comics in the archives. Once you get into it, though, you'll have a blast.
Content notes: Some amount of swearing and the occasional crude joke or two. A couple of storylines parody bloody horror movies.
The worlds of Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog are both well known. Both are common features of sprite comics across the net.
But RyanMC dares to go where nobody has ever gone before. He takes these two worlds, and utterly blends them.
No character is too obscure to make an appearance in Two Evil Scientists. The author brings zillions of interesting figures from Sonic and Mega Man history into the comic, and what's more, weaves each one into an interesting story. The core characters are, of course, the evil scientists Wily and Megaman, whose maniacal schemes range from convoluted to clever to downright crazy. It's up to Sonic and Megaman to stop their plans, and in the meantime deal with other villains that crop up along the way, including Metal Sonic, the Yellow Devil, King, Omega, and the quirky duo of Buzz and Joe.
It should be noted that TES has over 1000 comics in its archives, no easy feat for a sprite comic. Anyone interested in Sonic or Mega Man should check this one out.
Ryan also has another comic, Chrono Crossover, which does something similar, but on an even grander scale, incorporating Chrono Trigger, Metroid, and certain obscure Megaman and Sonic characters.
Content notes: Some swearing.
A delightful little comic that recently premiered about the wacky lives of Nintendo characters. It mostly centers on Kirby, but mixes in other series as well to show the wacky things that could happen in a game like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, where Nintendo universes collide.
What I love about Brawl in the Family is its clever sense of humor. Matthew Taranto constantly creates clever ideas about the world of Nintendo and posts them in comic form. A charming, delightful little comic strip.
Content notes: Absolutely nothing to be concerned about. Just wacky humor.
Oh man. It is simply impossible to describe Homestar Runner.
Suffice it to say that more than ten years ago, a couple of guys made their own children's book. Little did they know that this would eventually lead to a mind-bogglingly absurd website where two brothers posted crazy cartoons making fun of anything and everything.
The primary characters at homestarrunner.com are Homestar Runner, a dim-witted athlete who never seems to know when he's being made fun of, and Strong Bad, a surly, self-obsessed wrestleman, who often tries and fails to make Homestar miserable.
While there are many other toons as well, by far the primary feature of the site is Strong Bad Email, in which Strong Bad reads a random viewer's email, makes fun of said email, and then uses the opportunity to create crazy shenanigans and ramble on about a random topic. These emails have given birth to all sorts of crazy spin-off ideas made up by Strong Bad, including Trogdor the Burninator, 20X6, Teen Girl Squad, and Sweet Cuppin' Cakes.
But all this simply cannot describe homestarrunner.com. The zaniness of the humor is overwhelming. No idea is too absurd for the Chapman brothers (the Brothers Chaps) to embrace. Seriously. My words can only take you so far. You must experience Homestar Runner for yourself.
Content notes: You'll hear the word "crap" a lot, but nothing worse. A bit of gross humor.
The Pokémon anime shows one version of the Pokémon world- but what about a deeper examination? One that uncovers the dark side of the Pokémon world? One that tries to answer all the lingering questions and delve into the deepest mysteries?
That's exactly what Gemma Bright, aka CAAT, has done with Pokémon Rebirth. Rebirth seeks out the mysteries of the Pokémon world and brings light unto the darkness.
Rebirth could be described as a massive fanfiction work, but fanfiction isn't quite the right word for it. The scope of CAAT's vision is far too broad, her ideas too bold, and her storytelling too exquisite for such a classification.
Rebirth is composed of several different stories, each with their own subsection, that describe different aspects of CAAT's Pokémon world. The primary tale is Ultimatum, featuring Cory Wilson, whose seemingly typical Pokémon journey leads him into a world of supernatural power and the darkest depths of Team Rocket.
Ultimatum has since concluded, but it's still an exellent read, and many other tales that intend to reach beyond Ultimatum are active right now.
Any Pokémon fan who's ever wondered about the secrets of the Pokémon world, or sought a more thorough interpretation, will undoubtedly enjoy Rebirth.
Content notes: Some swearing.