Welcome to this month’s webcomics roundup! While last month we were nestling down into long cozy narratives for fall, it seems like this month we are similarly seasonal, with some spooky recommendations for you just in time for Halloween. You probably want monsters and demons and cannibals, right? We’ve got those and more in this month’s roundup, but most of all, what strikes me in this month’s roundup is that we have a variety of forms, from long vertical scrolling webtoons to horizontal three-panels to changes in standard formats. Whatever your viewing preferences, here they are!
Youngchan Hwang & Carnby Kim
Sweet Home follows 18-year-old high schooler and aspiring hikikomori Hyan Cha in the aftermath of a terrible accident that kills his immediate family. On his own, he moves into a studio apartment in a huge apartment tower and wonders if it’s even worth it to keep on living. Lucky for him, that’s when an outbreak of “monsterization” hits Seoul—people turning into monsters for completely unknown reasons. Various bands of survivors form around the apartment, and their stories eventually converge in interesting ways while they try to avoid being killed by their monsterized neighbors.
The tension in this is really delicious, as demonstrated in the header image above, and the horror imagery is eerie and gross in turns. The monsters form in part based on traits their human hosts had, which leads to lost of creepy ways they attack, too. The comic juggles a pretty big cast but keeps most of the flashback reveals for Hyan Cha, grounding the narrative around his survival and telling us about other characters as it becomes necessary. The comic is a great read for a spooky month, and I would especially recommend it to fans of the manga Parasyte. —Kat Overland
Updates Sundays and some Wednesdays
With Knights-Errant on hiatus for the last 9 months or so, I’ve been sadly lacking webcomic content in my life. Recently, however, a good friend of mine (and past contributor to this site!) suggested I pick up a webcomic called Banquet. It was pitched to me as “gay demons adopting a human son” with a touch of cannibalism, so I basically threw myself at my phone to bookmark the homepage immediately. I haven’t been disappointed so far: Banquet follows the Beast King of the Pit, Hadrian Vespatian, and his bodyguard and lover, Bernard, as they stumble on a human toddler who has mysteriously fallen into hell. Cute demon dad family drama ensues. Each page of Banquet is jam-packed with elaborate detail, building out the demonic underworld around Hadrian and Bernard and setting up some delicious court drama for readers to look forward to. It doesn’t seem to be too stuck to its release schedule, but it checks so many boxes for me that I can’t even bring myself to care. —Heather Wells
Wonderella has been missing since March. After what Pierce explains has been a very busy 2018 that included a wedding and other domestic upheavals, Wonderella is back. Well, actually, Wonderita is back. There’s a monstrous alien attacking the city, but Wonderella is nowhere to be seen. It’s Wonderita’s time to step up and she does so to colourful effect.
It’s been a long time since I read Wonderella, so this is a fitting return for all of us. I love the new crisper, cleaner art, and the lettering format. And Pierce’s switch to a longer, full page format leaves lots more room for all that punny goodness. —Wendy Browne
Content warning: sexual assault and rape.
If you haven’t been following Rachel Smythe’s smart, modern retelling of the story of Hades and Persephone, the months of August, September, and October should come equipped with a trigger warning for sexual assault and rape. They aren’t constant topics, but, much like the flashbacks that can accompany the aftermath of traumatic events, they make repeated appearances. Smythe handles everything with care, but it all hits quite close to home. I suspect the reverberations will continue to be felt for quite a while to come.
Jealous jock Apollo talks his way into Persephone’s bed over her repeated protests in what far too many readers will recognize as an incident of date rape. Meanwhile, Hades is dealing with the fallout from Persephone’s unexpected stay in his castle, with several more senior goddesses rallying to the young goddess’s defense. —Laura Stump
Olivia Jaimes (most recently)
This month, I finally braved the wilds of RSS-unfriendly GoComics.com in order to start reading Nancy. I am…not an early adopter. I wait until a comic is collected into a trade before I buy it. I still have a phone that fits into one hand. And while Olivia Jaimes has been getting more and more acclaim for months now for her excellent rejuvenating work on the strip, it was the new “Sluggo is Lit” collection available from my pals at TopatoCo that really clinched it for me that this was a strip I should be reading regularly. And I was right! In the classic three-panel structure of a newspaper comic, the characters of awesome smart kid Nancy, her aunt Fritzi, and funny kid love interest Sluggo shine. The jokes are wide ranging in content, from childhood interactions to musing about the nature of language evolution, and they are gentle, even when they are self-referentially pointing out the three-strip structure. —Emily Lauer
Updates 3 times per week
EGS is one of those webcomics that’s been around forever, but doesn’t often attract the attention of anyone but the long-time fans. It started in 2002 as a slice-of-life high-school comic, but it soon became about other things. The core cast has expanded from two characters to roughly a dozen, and the primary thing that ties them together is magic, especially transformation magic. Unusually, the comic has featured strong, positive trans themes since well before the creator really understood what that meant.
One of the original two characters, Elliot, was magically cloned, but in female form. Ellen, the clone, was lovingly embraced by Elliot’s parents, and she’s been a main cast member ever since. She’s been dating a girl for many years now. Tedd, another main cast member, has a scientific approach to magic and has been creating gadgets that cause temporary transformations (quite often gender-swapping ones) since early on. Just recently, Tedd realized some things about this interest and changed pronouns to “she.” There are indications she might be nonbinary. Her long-time girlfriend, Grace, is an alien squirrel girl shapeshifter.
There’s a lot going on, and the early storytelling is a bit rough, making it tough for new readers to pick up, but the companion comic, El Goonish Shive: Newspaper, is easier to pick up, since it is an out-of-continuity, lighthearted series of jokes and stories using the same characters. Just recently, Dan concluded a Pokemon parody story in which all NYC Pokemon are Grace, the alien shapeshifter. The main comic has delved into a “popular girl” character coming to terms with harsh realizations about how she’s treated people and allowed herself to be treated, which is an unexpected form for a story of self-discovery and identity. As a trans reader, EGS has been a great source of comfort and satisfaction for a long, long time. I highly recommend it. —Annie Blitzen
Whether it’s different ways to interact with the world of EGS, or choosing between a long-running webtoon saga or a daily newspaper strip, webcomics creators can select different forms to best meet the needs of the story they want to tell.