Comics have always been a booming industry. It seems like a few decades ago traditional comics were everywhere. Kids were breaking their bags just to get the latest issues, and anywhere you looked there was someone reading a comic book. Later on, it became a little less popular, and now they have seemingly disappeared, but actually, they have just shapeshifted. Comics are still insanely popular they’ve just gone digital. There’s no need to carry a comic book around when you have easy access to them through your phone.
Comic artists have taken the internet by storm, and the public has eaten it all up. It makes sense, after all, internet content has always been pretty visual and insightful and well, what’s more visual and insightful than a comic or a graphic novel? It’s almost like the internet and internet culture were made specifically for the comic book industry.
While comics were almost exclusively long, serial, stories with drawn-out plots, the internet has given way to a different -more succinct- way of telling stories. We’re now living in the golden era of the single panel comics. The stories are short, the characters are simple, and the continuity is almost non-existent, yet they are charming, funny, and amazing. If you’re ready to follow some of the wittiest and more creative comics available, this is where you’ll need to start:
If you’ve been online for the past 5 years, you have seen this comic, even if you didn’t really know it was a comic. It was created in 2005 by Randall Munroe, an American cartoonist/engineer. XKCD is not a traditional comic, for starters, almost all of its characters are indistinguishable (they’re just stick figures), and it doesn’t really follow a plot line. What it does is poke fun at pop culture, romance, and life in general. Even so, it has gathered quite a following and today the strips can be found almost anywhere.
This comic is an Instagram success story. Ketnipz is an anthropomorphic bean musing about life, and is hand-drawn by Harry Hambley, a Welsh teenager. Hambley developed his character after growing bored with the more realistic paintings he used to do. His character has become huge thanks to its colourful drawings, but also because it offers a positive outlook on life, while also tackling depression and hardships. It’s become so big, Hambley is now collaborating with Instagram and even has his own clothing line.
This web series by Alex Norris is charming, adorable, fun, and relatable. It’s a panel comic in which a shapeless blob encounters a situation that ultimately makes him go “oh no”. It can be as simple as trying to follow a recipe or avoiding falling into a serious relationship. Though it started as a sort of mini satire of common gags in comic, it has gone well beyond that. The blob is insanely relatable in its misadventures and preoccupations. Norris has described it as a “celebration of failure”, and that’s exactly what it is but in the most delightful way possible.