Over 130,000 people attended the 2019 Comic-Con International: San Diego, and the number has increased each year ever since the first convention in 1970. Directors and actors from famous superhero adaptations have used this event to endorse and announce exclusive details for their upcoming projects. As the convention’s popularity has grown, it has evolved into much more than just a place for idolizing print comics. Now it also boasts a new, emerging style of comics: webcomics.
Webcomics have been gaining traction within the last few decades because of technological advancement and the rapidly growing electronics industry. Replacing the formality of print comic books, webcomics digitalize classic comic book stories and allow every artist and storyteller to share original works by publishing them through a website or mobile app. Popular platforms include Webtoons, Tapas” and Manga Here.
Think of webcomics as the YouTube of the comic world, where comic book patrons can enjoy their favorite still-life chronicles in a much more convenient manner and discover new graphic stories all in one place.
For those graphic novel fiends, here are 5 original webcomics from five different genres that you need to start reading right this minute:
1. Thriller, “Sweet Home”
An irony within its name, “Sweet Home” tells a story anything but sweet. With over 5.1 million likes on Webtoons, “Sweet Home” is on its 82 episode and updates every Monday.
The central conflict of the story takes place during an apocalypse, where a deadly virus has devastated the human species, transforming them into monsters from the inside out. Hyun, the young protagonist, and a group of unlikely heroes team up to try and save the outside world before the monsters wipe out all humanity.
Creators Youngchan Hwang and Carnby Kim utilize dystopian and apocalyptic imagery as a means to convey the detriment of strong human desire. They explore psychological ethos, such as greed and selfishness, and illustrate these characteristics as physical monsters, emphasizing the ugliness of the demons within.
The comic is colored with dark hues, which fits perfectly with the ominous and hopeless nature of the storyline. In order to create maximum creepiness, the monsters within the humans are drawn without eyeballs and smiles bigger than their faces. It will give you goosebumps.
Before creating “Sweet Home,” Hwang and Kim worked on another series of the same genre called “Bastard,” which you should also check out if you’re craving more amazing, suspenseful webcomics.
2. Horror, “Melvina’s Therapy”
Creepy doesn’t begin to describe “Melvina’s Therapy.” As a therapist, Melvina helps her clients overcome their deepest fears and traumas. However, it’s all an act. In truth, she uses her clients’ torments as vaccinations for her own fears.
Each chapter of the comic focuses on a different patient and their traumas. The black and white illustrations enhance the sinister aura of the storyline. Although lacking in color, each illustration is drawn with thin strokes, allowing the creator to pay more attention to details in each panel.
A. Rasen, the creator of “Melvina’s Therapy,” developed the story as a therapeutic process of his own. “I am explaining personal experiences,” he said in his acknowledgment, “because I want to help end ridiculous social stigma surrounding mental health.” For his first professional project, this dark and twisted plot really delved into the deepest corner of human mentality.
“Melvina’s Therapy” has a total of 81 episodes with over 1.1 million views, receiving a 9.69 rating on Webtoons. A. Rasen is currently working on another horror and mystery comic that he hopes will be published sometime this year.
3. Sci-Fi/Fantasy, “DICE — The Cube That Changes Everything”
Fate: an unpredictable probability that shapes your future. But what if you have the power to control what changes and what doesn’t?
Dongtae gets bullied, but his classmate Taebin is handsome, popular, and dates the prettiest girl in school. One day, Dongtae gets the chance to change his life with the help from Dice, a powerful game that does anything the players wants, even changing their status in real life. Dice has the ability to give you superpowers and control your fate. But at what cost?
In “DICE — The Cube That Changes Everything,” Author Hyunseok Yun takes the idea of gaming addiction among adolescents to a new level. Blurring the lines between the gaming universe and reality, the story discusses the opportunity costs of having the ability to control fate.
“DICE” is on its fourth season with over 200 episodes. Each update of the ongoing series excites readers with Dongtae’s adventure in a realm of the realistic game.
4. Romance, “Super Secret”
Ryan and Emma have been best friends and next door neighbors since childhood, with their bedroom windows facing each other. This might sound like something straight out of a Taylor Swift music video.
However, Ryan has a super secret: He is not human. He’s a werewolf. In fact, none of his family members are human. They’re all different kinds of mythical creatures. The story follows Emma and Ryan as they navigate their relationship from friendship to romance while overcoming Ryan’s super secret.
With colorful and bubbly illustrations, Eon, the author and creator, takes on this classic YA trope and reimagines it through a new lens. The story divulges the trials and challenges of a relationship where two different worlds collide, human and mythical, as well as describing the butterfly sweetness of first love, offering the perfect balance of romance and fantasy.
“Super Secret” has a total of 140 episodes and is a binge worth the time. An immersive story unlike anything else, it takes you on an emotional journey that will surely make you laugh, cry and worry.
5. Comedy, “Boo! It’s Sex”
A true testament to its name, “Boo! It’s Sex” is a creative reinvention of sex education. The comic surrounds four young girls, who are entering their first year of college and moving into a house for the first time.
Upon moving in, they discover they actually have a fifth roommate: a harmless and buoyant ghost named Tara. Little did they know, their new home was once a sorority house with a dark history, where Tara, a former member of the sorority, died from an unfortunate accident.
Despite the mysterious backstory, it does not drive the plot of the comic. “Boo! It’s Sex” aims to teach young adults everything they need to know about how to stay safe and have fun as sexually active college students.
The story follows these four roommates as they navigate their college life and discovering love and identities. Tara teaches the girls everything from the basics of contraceptives to the complex nature of hook-up culture. Unlike any other uncomfortable birds-and-the-bees talks from parents, the comic eliminates the awkwardness and replaces it with a twist of lighthearted comedy.
Creators Daniella Crosetto and Monica Gallagher research deeply into every topic for each episode, making each read truly enjoyable and informative. It’s the sex education that we all need but never got.