A webcomic rec list to go along with the fanfic rec list I posted a while ago. As with the other list, I've been picky about what gets posted here—I read a lot of webcomics and have many, many more in my "to read" bookmarks folder, and the ones posted here are the ones that I consider the best in that whole selection. (You're welcome to ask me about everything else I follow if you're curious about the ones that didn't make the list!) Some of these are fairly popular comics as far as I'm aware—I'm still going to list them just in case there are people who don't know about them yet—but hopefully it'll shed some light on some gems you've never heard of, too. I'll probably keep adding to this as time goes on.
The webcomics below are currently sorted alphabetically; I may come up with some other way to organize them later. I've listed any relevant information about each, including its approximate rating, genre, length, whether or not it's completed and any other notes or warnings. Some of these are quite family-friendly but others are absolutely not, so take care what you decide to investigate.
I'm also always up for recommendations from other people, so if you don't see one of your favorites on here and feel I have committed a heinous crime by omitting it then by all means use this page's comments to toss a link my way. I'll check it out when I get a chance (I don't read new comics that often, if only to avoid the inevitable 2 AM archive binge). Please also let me know if there are other things about these comics that you'd prefer I warn for or otherwise mention in the notes, so I don't accidentally get people invested in a comic that suddenly ends up making them uncomfortable, spoils something for them, etc.!
The Abominable Charles Christopher by Karl Kerschl
Read it here
Fantasy/Adventure/Humor/Gag Comic | PG/K+ | In Progress (Slow)
Charles Christopher is an abominable snowman who just wants to relax in the woods with the wild animals, but dark memories, lost friends, a call to destiny from a fearsome beast and a troublesome young human king are really complicating Charles's simple life. The Abominable Charles Christopher is an unusual but amazing mix of beautiful artwork, gag comics, awesome characters (and possibly the cutest ever silent protagonist), talking animals and what quickly turns out to be a very deep, twisting and emotional story. While a fair few of the woodland animal bits don't directly relate to the story, they're cute enough to warrant checking the comic out just for the adorable. Updates are slow while the author is working on his professional comics career (he's working on quite a few big-name comics), but they're well worth the wait.
It's also worth noting that the comic moved to Tumblr after some issues with the previous website, so if you have a Tumblr account you can keep up with TACC's updates that way. And also reblog all of the adorable, adorable animals.
Bird Boy by Annie Szabla
Read it here
Fantasy/Adventure | PG/K+ | In Progress
Bali has always been smaller than the other boys his age, and perhaps a little clumsier, too. When the elder hunters of his tribe forbid him from participating in the ceremony that will make him an adult, Bali sets off on his own to prove that he has what it takes. He just needs to survive the forest and its dangerous beasts, avoid the talons of the nefarious Rook Men, and perhaps come face to face with their great and terrible god... Bird Boy's setting and aesthetic are refreshingly far removed from most comics out there, especially typical fantasy comics, with a unique and enchanting artistic style to match. The creature design in particular is fantastic. This comic is beautiful, engaging and Bali is adorable—highly recommended. (Note: Earlier volumes of Bird Boy are no longer available for free online—only the most recent, currently-in-progress volumes are—but they can be purchased in book form.)
Cucumber Quest by Gigi D. G.
Read it here
Fantasy/Adventure/Humor | G/K | In Progress
You know that anything touched by Gigi D.G. (or Hiimdaisy) is going to be bright, colorful and just oozing with adorableness, and Cucumber Quest is no exception. The people of Dreamside are faced with the return of the Nightmare Knight and his Disaster Masters, and only the legendary hero and his magic sword can save them. Such a pity, then, that the hero turned out to be Cucumber, a timid homebody who would much rather study practical wizardry than go out villain-hunting. Honestly, he wouldn't even have gone at all if his weird, pushy jerkface dad hadn't made him do it. They're stuck with him, anyway, and so like it or not Cucumber, his adventurous little sister and their companions must travel through the seven kingdoms of Dreamside to defeat the Disaster Masters, restore the sword's power and defeat the Nightmare Knight once and for all. (Hopefully.) The setting and story are fun pokes at adventure video games, the characters are fantastic and it's hard to ask for anything cuter or funnier.
Drive by Dave Kellett
Read it here
Science Fiction (Space Opera)/Humor | PG/K+ | In Progress (Slow)
Drive is an intriguing space opera comic about the rule of the Spanish Empire over a large portion of the galaxy, the secret (and stolen) alien technology that allowed them to rise to power, the mysterious aliens who kiiiiiind of want that technology back or else, and the ragtag spaceship crew, featuring a tiny amnesiac alien with a special mohawk and latent spaceship-piloting powers, that get wrapped up in the whole mess. The art is cute, the alien species and societies are pretty damn cool and I enjoy the way the author intersperses the events of the story with "documents" from the Spanish Empire's records and other archives—it's a great way to fill in a lot of the comic's interesting worldbuildy gaps. This one sometimes also updates infrequently, unfortunately, because it's second to the creator's main, Sunday-funnies type of webcomic (Sheldon; not too bad if you're into the Garfield sort of gentle humor) and some of his other projects, but it should be moving a little faster now that he's set up a Patreon for it. I'm not normally big on sci-fi, but I make an exception for Drive—it's one of my favorite webcomics.
Lackadaisy by Tracy Butler
Read it here
Historical Fiction/Drama/Humor | PG-13/T | In Progress (Slow)| Notes: strong violence
Probably my favorite comic on the whole list, and given that that puts it above the likes of Cucumber Quest and Drive that's saying something. Set in the late 1920's in St. Louis, Missouri, Lackadaisy follows the staff of the Little Daisy Café as they struggle to keep their restaurant—and the bootlegging operation that fuels their floundering speakeasy, the Lackadaisy—afloat day-to-day. The Prohibition-era setting is well-researched, the artwork is gorgeous and done in a lovely sepia tone, the drama and the characters are excellent and the characters' expressions specifically are about the best I've ever seen. Also they're all cats, but honestly, what other animal would you cast in the roles of a bunch of adorable rum-runners, murderers and jazz musicians? Yeah, that's what I thought.
The creator's full-time job is demanding and so updates have slowed considerably, but when comics do appear they are 100% worth the wait. In the meantime, why not tide yourself over by browsing through Tracy's other Lackadaisy artwork (beautiful) and the extra Q&A/backstory/silliness-for-silliness'-sake side comics (hilarious)? (You should also totally check out some of the strips as voice-acted by ProZD.)
MS Paint Adventures by Andrew Hussie
Read them here
Fantasy/Adventure/Humor | PG-13/T | Multiple comics in various states of completion | Notes: several animated and flashing gifs/Flash panels, strong language, strong violence, hard-to-read text in some portions
I'm sure you've all at least heard of Homestuck by now, whether or not you've actually succumbed to the temptation/pressure to read it. It's definitely not for everyone (and I realize that the fandom managed to scare off or irritate quite a few people at its loudest point), but in spite of the apparent silliness and annoying trolls and text colors Homestuck really is a fantastic example of amazing, amazing worldbuilding. Sure, it starts off as a deceptively simple "text adventure"-style comic about some nerdy kids who get sucked into a video game, and I will also admit that it starts slowly and is mindbogglingly long—set aside several days to read through the archive if you're interested—but if it strikes a chord with you as you start to see all the tiny details and connections, you'll probably be hooked. The later Flash animations and "games"/interactive panels are also phenomenal, full of easter eggs and great dialogue and fantastic music, so if nothing else you might be interested in just reading up on the story/setting and then looking through those.
Of course, I titled this section "MS Paint Adventures", not "Homestuck", so this means I'm also recommending that you check out Hussie's older comics as well. The only one I've actually finished is Problem Sleuth, but PS is absolutely marvelous in its own right and comes heartily recommended. Problem Sleuth is also much, much shorter than Homestuck, so if you're looking to read something shorter than War and Peace it's probably a better choice.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Read it here
Fantasy | PG/K+ | Completed
Nimona is a young shapeshifter who dreams of becoming a supervillain, and she gets her chance when she signs up as the squire of the bitter former knight Lord Ballister Blackheart. Blackheart isn't so sure about this arrangement, but she won't go away so he figures she might as well make herself useful. It can't go that badly wrong, can it? Nimona is a relatively quick, self-contained read at about 11 chapters and was recently completed, but in spite of its short length it packs a ton of silliness and character and tension (and occasionally sharks) onto every page.
Rice Boy by Evan Dahm
Read them here
Fantasy/Surreal/Adventure | PG/K+ | Multiple comics in various states of completion
Vattu is the name of the currently ongoing story, but the site itself is named after the first comic, Rice Boy, and there's another called Order of Tales as well. Evan Dahm sets all of his comics in a fictional world called Overside, and he's done a wonderful job avoiding most of the typical fantasy cliches, creating some bizarre and fascinating races and cultures and putting together a pretty damn beautiful world. The whole setting is often surreal and confusing—he's doing a ton of worldbuilding but you have to figure out and experience a lot of it yourself, which makes for some gaps but not in a bad way. Vattu, the story of a young fluter warrior taken from her tribe as a slave and preparing to lead a revolution, seems to be going into the most detail yet about some of Dahm's invented cultures and individual locations. It's not as off-the-wall as Rice Boy or Order of Tales, but the story is incredible and it is highly, highly recommended.
Romantically Apocalyptic by Vitaly S. Alexius
Read it here
Science Fiction/Post-Apocalyptic/Humor | PG-13/T | In Progress | Notes: some artistic nudity, some gory-looking images
Something has gone wrong and the world has ended, the planet locked in a nuclear winter and the last vestiges of humanity struggling to survive in the crumbling ruins of civilization. It all looks terribly bleak and dramatic, but then you realize that those last remaining humans include Zee Captain and his "loyal" "minions" and you can't help but break into a smile. Romantically Apocalyptic combines an engrossing post-apocalyptic setting and great sci-fi story with lots of dark humor and gratuitous silliness, all presented in an absolutely stunning style that blends digital painting with real-world photography. It's worth a look just to browse through the visuals alone.
I will warn you now, though: RA can be confusing if you only look at the pictures. Some of my personal bewilderment may just be down to me being a touch slow on the uptake, but as far as I can tell it's pretty tricky to understand without additional reading. There is a wiki (labeled "ANNET" in the menu) that will be extremely helpful in explaining events and backstory as you work through the archive, and recent comics have "journal entries" added in the author's comments beneath them that properly clarify what's going on (although those don't always go up on the same day as the comic itself so you may have to check back a few days later) that you should also try to keep up with. The journal entries can get a bit longer than the text you'd expect from a comic, too, so it might be worth thinking of RA as less of a webcomic and more an illustrated piece of prose fiction. The story is shaping up to be very interesting even though it is a little difficult to find and initially very difficult to follow, though, so you should definitely give it a shot.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner
Read it here
Gag Comic/Science/Miscellaneous | PG-13/T | In Progress | Notes: strong language, sexual situations (though not generally graphic)
SMBC is a strip comic about science, sex, aliens, religion, science, history, sex and graph jokes. I guess you could say that some of the content is roughly along the lines of what you'd see in xkcd, but a little less technology and a little more history? Something like that. It's often silly but also often very intelligent and darkly humorous. Sometimes it gets pretty racy, but it also gets pretty full of graph jokes so I guess it balances out. Except when the graph jokes are racy, anyway.