Monday, July 16, 2007

The Best in Online Webcomics

I've been doing a lot of trolling on the web, reading online webcomics. It all started last year when I went to Otakon and met Bill Holbrook, writer and creator of Kevin and Kell, an online webcomic set in a world where humans have been replaced by intelligent animals of all species. Kevin Kindle, a six foot tall Rabbit, meets Kell Dewclaw, a female wolf, over the internet. They fall in love and get married, pissing off both of their families. Kevin's family disowns him, so he takes on Kell's last name.

Since this is not a first marriage for either of them, they combine their families (Rudy, a half-wolf, half-fox, is Kell's son from her first marriage, and Lindisfarne, a female hedgehog is Kevin's adopted daughter from his first marriage) into one, and then have a daughter of their own, Coney, a carnivorous rabbit.

Much humor derives from family dynamics (Ralph, Kell's wolf brother, keeps trying to kill Kevin throughout most of the first few years of the strip, with a hilarious lack of success) and Kevin's job in the computer and internet field. (He started as the SysOp of the Herbivore Forum, branched out into a business called Flea-Bay which became "Mating" and finally started his own ISP, Hare-Link).

Other webcomics I enjoy include Partially Clips, a webcomic that uses commercial clip-art, repeated three times, with different word, thought or dialogue balloons to tell a joke.

Catena Manor is an updated-weekly comic about a bunch of thinking, humanoid cats all living in the same house, located in Southern California. Despite their essentially humanoid form, they still have a great deal in common with regular cats.

Doc Rat is a webcomic from Australia, following the title character, Doctor Benjamin Rat, in his job as a clinic Doctor caring for a wide variety of patients at his practice. Also on call are his staff, and Phil, a gorilla who runs the local pharmacy, all of whom have to deal with the doctor, and his wacky patients.

Never Never is a comic about a lad named Arthur who has been chosen by the sword Excalibur as the new Pendragon, or leader of the world. Unfortunately, Arthur is still in school, and even though most adults don't realize that faeries are still around, the faeries have come together to help Arthur against the forces of the Evil Abyssians... pity most faeries have brains only slightly less flighty than birds, and the attention span of a goldfish.

Another comic from the same man who created Never Never is Suburban Jungle, a comic about a Tiger gal named Tiffany, a model who is waiting for her big break by temping. Along the way she discovers love isn't easy to come by and dodges the attentions of males that she doesn't want.

One comic I found funny from the start is Sluggy Freelance. Once you have read the ongoing adventures of Riff, Torg, Bun-Bun, Kiki, Aylee and the rest, you'll keep coming back for more! As Bun-Bun would say, "Bite me, Nerd-Boy!" ;)

The other two comics I have been reading a lot of as of late are Code Name: Hunter, about a secret British agency (on a world of animals) that keeps the recently resurgent magic from harming the citizens of Britain. The art is excellent, and the stories and characters engaging. This one is a must-read.

The last is called "Inherit the Earth". When Rif the Fox and his companion, Rhene, discover a wolf cub washed up on the beach, they take him to their home to help him recover. When he can't remember his name, they call him "Sandy", and set out to find out more about him and the strange instrument that washed up with him on the beach. While this is also a "world of animals"-type comic, the style here is more animal and less "Humans in furry suits".