While Comixology has become the de facto digital comic book/graphic novel site, there’s a wider range of popular sites in the webcomic and comic strip space. Below are some of the more popular webcomic sites.
GoComics is a site run by Andrews McMeel Syndication, a traditional newspaper comic strip distributor. Like most media in recent years, they’ve shifted to putting a greater emphasis on their online operations, including GoComics.
GoComics features a mix of traditional newspaper strips (such as “FoxTrot”), reprints of classic strips such as “Li’l Abner,” political cartoons, and some webcomics.
Unlike the sites listed below, some of GoComics’ drawbacks probably expose its traditional newspaper comic syndicate origins. GoComics doesn’t offer an RSS feed for comics, which I don’t view as user-friendly. It also doesn’t offer an app for mobile devices, and (from a few strips I checked) doesn’t offer a mobile-friendly reading experience. I had to pinch and zoom on my phone to read a few sample “Jump Start” and “Heart of the City” strips.
The one advantage of GoComics is its deep comic strip archive. Still, I prefer to read “FoxTrot” (and a few other strips) on the creator’s own site, which is more user-friendly.
Hiveworks is a site featuring webcomics, as well as a few comic books that’ve gone the webcomic route (such as “Atomic Robo”). The listed strips are generally hosted on their creators’ own sites. Hiveworks also runs an online store offering webcomic creators’ merchandise.
The site also offers a rating system for strips (based on DC Comics’ old ratings system), running from “E” (all ages) to “M” (mature, ages 18+).
Popular webcomics available include “Girl Genius,” “Check Please,” and “SMBC.”
Webtoon is a South Korean website that hosts webcomics (both Western ones and Korean ones translated into English) in the webtoon format—a Korean digital comic strip format that’s vertical, making it an ideal format to read on devices like smartphones. Between that and its popular app, Webtoon has grown into a major webcomic force, including some animated media spin-offs. Webtoon also has produced a few animated series in conjunction with Crunchyroll.
Many of the strips’ genres are sci-fi/fantasy, slice of life, and/or romance (heterosexual and LGBTQ).
Tapas is another Korean webtoon site, offering English language webcomics and digital prose novels. Most of the genres are slice of life, sci-fi/fantasy, or romance. Some strips are free, while others require paying to unlock full access.
Like Webtoon, Tapas also offers an app for Android and iOS devices.
Tapas has recently moved to hire some Western comic veterans, including recently naming a former DC Comics editor as its new editor-in-chief.
Finally, there’s various webcomics creators that opt to self-host their strips on their own sites, either exclusively or in conjunction with one of the sites listed above. “Questionable Content,” “The Joy of Tech,” “Diesel Sweeties,” and some others do such.
Photo by Liz West (Flickr / CC BY / cropped from original)