WCCLS libraries have been tirelessly working to add more ebooks and e-audiobooks to our collections, so that readers can keep reading from the safety of home. But sometimes, that book you really want still has a long wait before you can get it, and you just need something to read right now. In addition to that, if you like to read graphic novels, borrowing them in ebook format can take some getting used to. If this sounds like the story of your summer, I have a solution to hold you over until your long awaited holds arrive: webcomics!
Webcomics are an amazing little corner of the internet where all kinds of authors and artists can post their work and play with ideas and art styles that you don’t see as often in published graphic novels. They’re also a great opportunity to find new and upcoming comics creators you haven’t heard about, especially diverse and marginalized creators that face more barriers to getting their work published in print. Because webcomics were created specifically to be read online, you don’t run into the awkward formatting problems that sometimes happen when converting a printed comic to a digital format. Best of all, webcomics are often free to read right on the web! Sounds amazing, right? Read on to find out where to get started reading some of the best webcomics available for teens.
Graphic Novels That Were Originally Webcomics (And Still Are!)
As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman
Gorgeously illustrated in colored pencil (Gillman says she used up roughly 1.33 pencils per page), As the Crow Flies follows Charlie, a Black, queer, 13 year old girl who is the only BIPOC at a Christian youth backpacking camp. Gillman dives into issues of belief, identity, and finding one’s place in the world. Start at the beginning here: https://www.melaniegillman.com/comic/01-25-2012/
Cucumber Quest by Gigi DG
This charming fantasy comic follows two bunny children, a gentle older brother who wants to go to school to learn magic, and a feisty younger sister who wants to learn swordplay and save the world. DG’s world is bright and colorful and enchanting, and her characters are hilariously loveable. Get started reading from the beginning here: http://cucumber.gigidigi.com/cq/page-1/
Check Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
This delightful comic about college hockey is one of my all-time favorites. If you’re not into sports you may think you wouldn’t like this one, but you would be wrong, my friend. Ukazu’s characters are unexpectedly sweet and their strong relationships with their teammates will suck you right in and make you more invested than you thought you ever could be in a fictional college hockey team. Read from the beginning here: https://www.checkpleasecomic.com/comic/01-01-01
Discover New Webcomics and Artists
If you’re looking to discover some new or lesser known series, websites like Hiveworks are a great place to discover tons of webcomics all in one spot. Be sure to use the rating filter to weed out adult content: the Teen filter will just show comics geared for ages 12+, while the Young Adult filter is for teens 16+. Get started browsing their comics for teens here: https://hiveworkscomics.com/home/age/teen
Whether you feel like you’ve read everything on the graphic novels shelf, or just want to read something new you’ve never heard of before, webcomics are a great resource for anyone who is interested in comics and graphic novels, or wants to get started. Some of my absolute favorite books started out as webcomics, and I’m still discovering new favorites all the time. Do some exploring of your own, and you’ll find some new favorites too while you wait for your next library book.
Sabrina is a Portland native who loves the rain and proximity to the beautiful Oregon coast. She reads widely but most enjoys SFF, manga and comics for all ages, and is obsessed with fitting an audiobook into every spare second she can for maximum reading time. When not absorbed in a book, she enjoys crocheting, video games, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her dogs.