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Best Webcomics Ever (This Week) 1.29.12

If I’m counting correctly, this is the tenth Best Webcomics Ever (This Week) column, which means there are at least fifty exceptional webcomics that have been highlighted in only a few weeks time. I find it to be pretty impressive that there are so many free titles to read online that update on a regular basis. Check out all of the previous recommendations to see what titles have been featured so far.
Please continue to leave your suggestions in the comment section at the end of the column. I know many of you have left notes before, and I apologize for not getting around to some of the comics that have been mentioned. Keep leaving your recommendations and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. As far as this week goes, keep reading to see what five webcomics were a cut above the rest in my completely biased opinion.

I know I usually have more to say before starting out with the week’s list of great material, but this week I’ve got nothing for you. Just as well, though. This week’s picks are phenomenal.

Last week I highlighted different collectives who are progressing the evolution of comics online, but none have shown as much of a creative manipulation of the digital format as Patrick Sean Farely has with his new, horizontal-scrolling piece titled The First World. Farely has created a similar scrolling webcomic before with The Spiders, but this latest story is far more visually interactive, combining layers of motion as users continue on the journey. The tale is for adults-only, so it’s probably best to take this trip at home. There’s a convenient donate button on the site, so if you have the means, please consider encouraging Farely to create more with a little economic incentive.

More than just a webcomic, Moonless Age is the main title on the Drowtales network that has a forum, subscription service, and even a role-playing game. To try and explain the thirty-plus chapter series in a single paragraph is a bit difficult, but Moonless Age combines elements of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings with anthropomorphic animal characters resembling Final Fantasy-modded cats. If that sounds like your particular bag of entertainment, then you’re in luck — you can download .zip files of the series for free on the website and order printer versions if you so choose. Tip of the hat to all the talented people involved.

Out of all the webcomics I’ve read over the last few months, none have been as fun to read as Boxer Hockey. The basic plot of the series revolves around a team of players who professionally compete in a global sport that resembles a mixture of soccer and baseball, with said ball being some unfortunate frogs. A good portion of the updates are more about the relationship between the main characters than they are about the bizarre sport. And up until recently, most of the story was told in flash-back style, showing the development of the players’ friendship during their school-age days.

I hope we get to see an epic showdown in a giant stadium at some point during the series, but for now the in-fighting, gambling, and fixed games are enough to keep my attention. While creator Tyler Hesse might not have an animated series planned, I hope someone at Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon realizes what a unique property Boxer Hockey could be in the hands of the right development team.

Falling somewhere between The Oatmeal and The Far Side, Doug Savage’s online series of often single-panel jokes is the perfect example of what can happen when a talented creator puts time not only into the content itself, but also the layout and distribution, creating a simple and pleasant experience for the reader. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, webcomics need to take into consideration the format in which they are viewed, not only to make their art more presentable, but also to make sure the site is useful and can easily direct potential costumers to purchase your goods. Thank you, Mr. Savage.

Oh, you’re probably wondering why a series called Savage Chickens features cats. It usually has chickens. Except when it doesn’t, like in the image above. Chickens are funny.

Like the excellent Oglaf, Carolyn Main’s Sex Wizards is an often NSFW comedy set in a fantasy realm. But unlike the former, Main’s series focuses on two main characters, a knight who acts like a fraternity brother (the more I think about this, the more I think it’s historically accurate because knights were probably self-entitled jerks) and a wizard who is lonely, bitter masturbator (also historically accurate). Oglaf is often funnier, arguably drawn better, and contains more explicit scenes than Sex Wizards, but Sex Wizards is so uniquely silly and colorful that I can’t help enjoy it a bit more at times. Plus, tell me a “boner spell” wouldn’t be the first thing a king would command his mage to whip up. You can’t.

Thanks for reading! Really. It’s so much fun to do this each week. Hope you’ll leave your thoughts, suggestions, and whatever in the space below. Cheers.

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