The Property of Hate by Sarah Jolley – Ongoing series
There’s something whimsical about going off to a dangerous dreamland with an incompetent, anthropomorphized TV set. At least, there is in The Property of Hate. The main character (a boy simply known as the Hero) is whisked away by a talking TV named RGB to an emotions-based wonderland, where he must stop the end of the world. The colorful art, unique world and memorable characters make this comic a joy to read. My only complaint is regarding its loads of expository dialogue. You know when 8-year-olds ask “Why?” about everything? Imagine that the answer to every “Why?” was a complicated issue of world building that would go and on and on. This kind of explanation should not be reserved for dialogue, but in action or imagery. This is admittedly easy territory for any adventure fantasy to veer into (and you have to remember that the main character is a kid), and the world of The Property of Hate is so enjoyable to look at that you don’t mind so much. It’s childish and it revels in this. The reader does, too.
Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart – Completed series
The 2010 winner of the Eisner Award (often thought of as the Oscars for comics) for “Best Digital Comic,” Sin Titulo is a surreal mystery in which a man (Alex Mackay) searches to understand a recurring dream that haunts him, as well as the mysterious life of his grandfather. The events that follow the death of Alex’s grandfather are a psychological journey that blur the lines between dreaming and reality and lead to the unraveling of everything that Alex knows. The comic spends lot of time establishing mood and character, but never becomes tedious. The calms and squall lines of the plot are expertly placed so that the quiet parts give you a chance to breathe and let the more exciting stuff set in.
The character development can seem contrived at times, but the complexity of plot, setting and the resulting mood more than make up for it.
Prague Race by Petra Erika Nordlund – Ongoing series
If you appreciate the kind of hand-drawn art in which you can see the care of every pencil mark, this is the comic for you. Prague Race follows three young adults: the outgoing Leona, the overly-anxious rich kid Colin and the kind-hearted Miko as they descend into an underworld of magical beings. The art style is an interesting combination of Disney energy and Tim Burton cute-creepiness. As opposed to The Property of Hate’s direct transport to another world, Prague Race is more of a slow burn when it comes to bringing in the strange world. This is one of those stories that you’re either going to hate or love depending on how you feel about the characters, as there is a great deal of focus on the dynamics between characters. Thankfully, I find the characters quirky and loveable, but it all depends on your taste.
Ghost Blade by Wang Ling – Ongoing series
For stunning digital art, look no further than Ghost Blade. This webcomic tells the story of the fall of a kingdom in a fantasy world and the contemptuous relationship and general spite between humans and supernatural angel-like beings. The lore of the story isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, but the art of the comic and the emotion conveyed through this art bring new life to a story you’ve heard several times before. My biggest issue with this comic (prepare for the nitpickiest of nitpicks) is the font. The font is more fitting for a chat session with your BFF than it is for a grand tale of a crumbling kingdom.
So, if you love fantastic artwork and epic story and you choose not to care about font (supposedly because you don’t have your priorities straight), then check out Ghost Blade.
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton – Ongoing strips
I originally got into Hark! A Vagrant because of the series of Macbeth parody strips a friend had showed me. Then I spent hours pressing the “Random” button on the website, endlessly entertained by everything Kate Beaton had to offer.
Her work mostly consists of short one to four panel strips that reference history, literature, and pop culture in general. Whether you love literary references or Top Gun references or just like laughter and joy in general, you’re bound to like Hark! A Vagrant. It may be the only non-series on the list but it’s bound to take up the majority of your time – it’s that great!.
— By Erin Penney