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Cidolfas's Recommendations

Here's where I inflict my views on you. You've been warned!

Recommended Webcomics

I tend to prefer manga-style comics, simply because I like the art style, especially if it's done well. Being both a gamer and a watcher of anime (I wouldn't call myself an otaku, not for a large bell) my choices tend to revolve around one or the other of those hobbies.

***** Masterpiece
****1/2 Excellent
**** Great
***1/2 Very good
*** Good

One of my top three favorite webcomics, the drawing style is strong and professional and the script is really fun to get into. Not a lot happens action-wise, but I prefer to enjoy the loopy relationships between the characters, who are wonderfully well-defined. Gamers and animephiles will find a lot of in-jokes, but it's eminently enjoyable to anyone. A really amazing work of art. The only one whose books I've actually bought. B&WM,W,F*****
A brilliantly original comic about a troubled girl who's an aspiring writer, who's visited by a muse and dropped into a dreamlike subconscious which she must explore. Heavy on symbolism and incredibly deep, but with plenty of comic relief. Updated only half a page per week (if that).B&WMondays?*****
One of my top three webcomics, this is a Final Fantasy (the first game) parody that has gone way beyond the original game and is one of the funniest things on the web. Although it follows the basic outline of FF1, the vast majority of it has nothing to do with the original game, and simply follows the insanely over-the-top antics of the one-note FF1 characters created by Brian Clevinger. Done using sprites, but with quite nice effects.SpriteSa,Tu,Th****1/2
A captivatingly original take on fairy tales, which sees the Princess and the Pea, Puss in Boots, Red Riding Hood, and many more skewered in a story which is quite serious but nevertheless light-hearted. Great art that seems very "active" somehow, and fun dialogue and character designs. A real hoot!B&WSundays****1/2
A back-breakingly hilarious take on a Dungeons and Dragons party. Gleefully skewering all sorts of cliches related to D&D, webcomics, and narratives in general. The stories range from comically ridiculous to epic to poignant, and the characters are surprisingly three-dimensional (pun intended) and very likeable. Don't be turned off by the artwork; even though it's technically a stick comic, there's plenty of detail and the expressions are awesome.ColorMWF****1/2
A very interesting start on a fantastical story set in a nineteenth-century American hotel. The cast is well-defined and has a solid setup I last saw in an Agatha Christie novel. Updating quite slowly though.ColorEvery 2 weeks?****
A fascinating comic set in a semi-mythical Wild West, where demons, half-demons, and ghosts interact with humans, and a lone boy is caught up in a world he wants no part of. Can be heavy at times, but there's some comic relief involved (and it truly is relieving, at times). Crowfeathers is extremely mature, with bloody and often disturbing imagery, but it uses some masterful storytelling.B&WMonthly****
A whimsical fantasy that doesn't take itself very seriously. The cast is a little small but they have good chemistry. The art is in full color and very easy on the eyes. Recommended. It's been restarted recently though... the old archives are no longer available.ColorWeekly?****
College Roomies From Hell!!! is basically what happens when you take Friends, give several of them mutant powers, surround them with people who range from wacky to downright insane, and throw in stuff like blue mushroom drug trips, fighting Satan, and megalomaniacal villains. Although it starts as a gag-a-day strip, it eventually gets much more depth, and at this point nearly everyone is dealing with tons of various neuroses, which makes for a very interesting watch. Also one of the biggest webcomics ever, with literally thousands of strips.ColorM,W,F usually****
The adventures of a very strange girl in a very strange school. A stylistic masterpiece, the gothic art sort of reminds me of Lemony Snicket, the Addams Family and some of the darker children's movies. The story is intriguing, but very serious (perhaps "earnest" is a better word). It starts fairly bland, but gets much darker and far more thematically interesting as time goes on.ColorTu,Th****
Your standard fantasy buddy comedy - except that the buddies consist of a hell warrior bent on world domination, a half-dragon, a dark elf, a female assassin, and a snarky thief. Refreshing, and presents a pretty interesting world. Recent strips are in color!B&W/ColorWeekly?****
Due to the bumbling of a slacker angel, Ash wakes up one day as a girl; Emily wakes up to the fact that the last two years of her life never happened. Misfile follows the two trying to cope with these horrors. Although the boy-turned-girl bit has been done before, Misfile tries to be sincerely realistic about what Ash goes through, and makes some thought-provoking points. That's not to say there's no boob humor, but it's not as bad as it could be. The art is simple but effective. Some strong language and suggestive themes, but no actual nudity. Quite original and definitely worth a look!B&WMTWTF****
A sword-and-sworcery comic with a big grin, LinT follows ye olde stereotypes with some healthy love triangles and self-deprecation (though there's a serious storyline in there somewhere). The art and scripts start off quite amateurish (and black and white) but the current color comic is gorgeous stuff.B&W/ColorM,Th****
A fantasy comic revolving around Dominic Deegan, a seer and wizard, and his family and friends. Starting off fairly lighthearted, it gets very serious fairly quickly, but always has a bit of a quirky tone to it, particularly in the incredibly lame puns that keep getting tossed around. The characters are quite likeable and the art and world are nice, but it seems there isn't much actual character drama; the only time somebody doesn't like somebody else is simply because they're under a spell or totally misguided or something. Also, the good guys are capable of absolutely everything. Still, fun to read.B&W/ColorMTWTF***1/2
A fantasy story with a sort of League-of-Extraordinary-Gentlemen mishmash of myths and legends, the art is Disney-quality and the characters are colorful and varied. Unfortunately, most of the current story is exposition, but there's a lot of potential here. Currently redoing old stuff before going any further with the story.ColorTu,Th***1/2
Alien Nation with fantasy species: Elves, fairies, ogres and the like suddenly show up and try to integrate into human society, with little success. The comic follows Noelle, an elf who's desperately trying to fit in and stave off unemployment and homelessness. Uses "super-deformed" style for jokes, and looks like it should be much funnier than it is, but the artist doesn't have much comic timing. It does have its moments, and the setting is inspired, but it squanders a lot of its potential. It gets a bit better as time goes on, though, and is worth a read.B&WSundays***1/2
Another fantasy comic following a psychotic half-elf girl, a vagrant assassin, and a three-thousand-year-old elf in their travels in a richly designed world. The art is nice (though sometimes the details are too small) and the conversations are sharp. There are several threads being developed simultaneously which often overlap, executed nicely. Warning: Rated a capital R!B&WM,W,F***1/2
This is Webrunner's second webcomic, this time making fun of all those antiheroes (think Batman, Daredevil, Punisher). Not as laugh-out-loud funny as the others, but presents a cheerfully jaded view of the genre. In a departure for Webrunner, it contains some actual serious scenes as well.ColorM,F***1/2
Ctrl-Alt-DeleteAnother comic about video game-playing...people...stuff. Pretty funny, but sometimes way too bloody (though not as bad as VG Cats, which I absolutely abhor). Good art, though, and it's interesting how it pokes fun at game addiction, something that most gamers are loath to mention.ColorSa,M,W,F***1/2
Another fantasy comic, but fairly clichéd, about a set of adventurers going out to collect elemental seals and staves to fight a demon baddie. Told from an interesting viewpoint, and has nice art, but not particularly original and the dialogue is rather stale. I'm hoping it'll get better as time goes on.ColorTuesdays***
Sore Thumbs is a sort of overarching parody of everything, from games to politics. Some of the art is rather risqué, but the comics themselves are wonderfully over-the-top.B&WM,W,F***
A fantasy comic with some whimsy to it and some potential. It's still early days, though.ColorWeekly?***
I go here more to read Tycho's news updates, which are the most melodious I've ever seen, than to read the comic, which is generally crude and has blood and profanity in it. Still, it's a good place to go for info about games I'll never play.ColorM,W,F***
Nice to look at, with a cool story (which vaguely reminds me of Trigun transplanted into a fantasy setting for some odd reason). The dialogue isn't quite as sharp as some others on this list, and it isn't updated often, unfortunately, but it's a lot of fun.ColorSometimes***

Finished Webcomics

A webcomic about a demon in high school. It's definitely not what you think it is. The art tends towards the heavy-handed (and several of the male characters look pretty much the same), but the story is extremely powerful, with super dialogue. Highly recommended!B&W****1/2
A hilarious take on the "magical girl" genre (not really a spoof, since it doesn't often mock the cliches of that genre), but with surprisingly few anime influences. Instead, these are three sixth graders infused with a generous helping of American hipness. I love the dialogue and the kooky art style (the expressions are awesome) and the comic timing of the artist/author is excellent. The three really sound like junior high students, which makes it easy to identify and laugh with them. Highly recommended!B&W****1/2
One of the first webcomics I ever read, and still one of my three favorites, this lampoons absolutely everything lampoonable about RPGs and remains resolutely funny as hell. The art starts off pretty horrid, but gets much better towards the end (though still not exactly professional quality).Color****1/2
In the near future, in a dystopian Britain, the world has been plunged into eternal winter (that's right, global cooling, not global warming, with a nod to Narnia). Like Faith's other comic, Demonology 101, this packs strong art and a real flair for characters and direction. The thematics it presents are intriguing and I'm hurting to see what happens next in the story. Started off color, but once it became free it's black and white. Warning: Nudity.Color/B&W****1/2
A sci-fi taking place in the near future, where people get Mad Scientist Syndrome and Mars is a huge collective mind of people. Extremely thought-provoking, with plenty of action and humor to keep the ball rolling. The rants are funny and informative; a lot of research went into the story, which is neat.Color****
A wildly inventive fantasy comic starring a pyromaniacal half-elf-half-goblin, a demonic and frequently inebriated horse, and a female sphinx (possibly the most physically interesting protagonist I've ever seen). It takes fantasy parody out the other side, featuring Cynematiks as a magical force and Plot Points as ancient artifacts. The art leans towards the amateurish (backgrounds are a rarity) and the writing is slow to take off, but it gets going after a while and you won't look back.B&W (some color)****
A sprite comic following an original game character named Kid Radd. Although it's humorous, at times it takes itself a bit too seriously; however, the result is an extremely well-thought-out world where everything works fairly logically. An interesting read.Sprite***1/2
A Megaman sprite comic which, while not always hilarious, is pretty entertaining. Don't even try to keep track of the story, I don't think even the artist has everything straight; but it does involve alternate futures and pasts, alternate alternate futures and pasts, and a lot of parodying of the original games.Sprite***1/2
A comic about an anime club. The art style isn't all that artistic, and the story tends to be a little wild and far-fetched, but it has some good areas. Having never actually been part of an anime club, it's an interesting look into the whole deal (although few anime clubs are attacked by sunglasses-wearing thugs or infiltrated by spies). Its sequel is Stand Tall, which so far is even more ridiculous than its predecessor.Color***

Dead Webcomics

Written by Webrunner and drawn by Ian of RPG World, this is a parody of space shows, is one of the funniest things I've ever seen (seriously, there are a whole bunch of comics that literally had me gasping for breath out of laughter), and has tons of potential, but died pretty quickly. Color*****
Ghost 2138Set in the year 2138, revolving around a rather loser-like guy named Alex who suddenly finds himself thrust into really crazy stuff. Features a non-anime cat-lady! Great dialogue and story, but be warned that this is a very mature comic, including swearing, violence, and some nudity, though none of it is gratuitous. I really would have liked to see how this continued. Unfortunately it seems to have disappeared. 8-(B&W****
A really great graphic work involving a fallen angel and a sort of alternate Earth. Gorgeous, haunting art and a captivating story. Updated quite sporadically, though. Unfortunately hasn't updated since 2006.Color*****
A sci-fi about a too-big-for-his-britches cop and his unwilling part-time job stopping anti-android terrorists. The characters are three-dimensional and quite entertaining, and though the comic is pretty funny, with a lot of craziness, there are some very solid questions asked. Though it's clear who the good guys are, the villains are surprisingly nuanced. Basically a comedy with some seriousness thrown in.B&W****
Another manga-style comic, this time in a dead-on parody of "buddy fantasy" anime shows like Slayers. Very funny and shiny to look at, too. Some of the jokes fall flat, but the parodies themselves are solid enough to keep it going. There are 3 manga books out, too. Hasn't updated since 2007.B&W***1/2
An RPG parody comic in the vein of ADVENTURERS! Not quite as funny, but nicer to look at. Dead, unfortunately.Color***1/2
A girl from a rather sad home life is pulled into a fantasy world as a result of too much curiosity. Has quite some potential, but ends before it really starts getting good. I've always loved storylines like this (it's what made the first Harry Potter so delightful for me). Although it's no longer a webcomic, it's being prepared for publication.B&W***1/2
An extremely promising tale about a boy who crosses over to another world as a result of a bus accident. Great art and snappy dialogue. A shame it's dead.Color***1/2
A pretty cute comic with nevertheless a serious undercurrent. By the same author as Undertow. Currently on "temporary hiatus" (since July 2005); here's hoping we'll see some more in the future.B&W***1/2

Recommended Authors

Although I sometimes venture into other genres, I spend most of my time reading comic fantasy and urban fantasy (i.e. stories taking place in the present-day "real world" but with fantastical elements). I find the first immensely entertaining and the second eye-opening and intriguing. Anyway, here's a list of the authors I recommend and why.

NameGenreBest BooksDescription
Armstrong, KelleyUrban fantasyBitten, HauntedArmstrong's books always have strong female protagonists who are in some way supernatural (so far there's been a werewolf, a witch and a ghost). The characters and dialogue are sharp and interesting and the plots are strong; it's neat to see how the various supernatural areas mix and match throughout the series. Definitely one to watch.
Asprin, RobertSort-of-comic fantasyIs that a trick question?Robert Asprin is the Clive Cussler of fantasy. His Skeeve (MYTH) books are so deliciously, groan-worthily corny that you read them with a sort of horrified curiosity at what'll happen next and what silly jokes will accompany it. Skeeve is, depending on the author's mood, either a sneaky thief, a naive greenhorn, a Churchillian leader, or a master strategist. Very few people in the books are actually bad, and the jokes and puns are so cheesy that you have to laugh. It's like cotton candy for the brain.
Brooks, TerryUrban fantasyRunning with the DemonAlthough Brooks' main claim to fame is the Shannara series, I've actually never read them due to my aversion to straight fantasy. However, his (currently) four-book Word/Void series is some of the most powerful stuff I've ever read; it really gives me shivers, and is one of those rare reads you just can't put down. I also recommend his Landover series, which is a bit more lighthearted (though comedy really isn't his thing) but still retains some of his depth.
Butcher, JimUrban fantasyThe Dresden Files seriesButcher's Harry Dresden is an awesome protagonist, and his books are a very cool cross between fantasy and film noir. Harry is a funny and entertaining first-person narrator, and the actual stories, though starting off slowly, already show more promise and twists than your average anime plotline. Highly recommended.
Card, Orson ScottScience fictionEnder's GameCard's Ender series (which starts with Ender's Game and divides into two streams) is populated by geniuses in the near and far future, and his writing is incredibly deep; there are epiphanies on every second page. I prefer the Shadow novels, because the ones taking place in the far future actually get a bit too ponderous for their own good. He's also written various one-off novels which, to me, haven't got the powerful punch of Ender's Game, but still are solid pieces of work. I haven't managed to read his Alvin Maker books. Interesting trivia: Card wrote the insults for the swordfighting in Monkey Island.
Duane, DianeUrban fantasy/sci-fiThe Wizard's DilemmaDiane Duane's Young Wizards series is a startlingly original take on the fantasy genre, presenting spellcasting as a combination of cajoling and programming. There's no deus ex machina; everything has a reason and an explanation, meaning it's more like sci-fi than fantasy. Although it's billed as a youth series, it tackles some very deep issues with some very nuanced characters. Her two "cat wizards" books are also extremely creative. Haven't read her other stuff.
Fforde, JasperLiterary fantasy?Lost in a Good Book, Something RottenJasper Fforde's books deliberately blur the line between fiction and reality, and are some of the most refreshingly original tales I've yet read. One series (Thursday Next) takes place in a sort of alternate 1985 in which airships, Neanderthals, and giant companies vie for our attention, along with an inspired world that takes place inside fiction itself. His Jack Spratt books, on the other hand, are mysteries in a world where nursery rhyme characters (and aliens) live and interact with humans. It's not laugh-out-loud funny, but there's plenty of excellent humor, and it's so inventive you'll be longing for more.
Holt, TomUrban comic fantasyThe Portable Door, Ye Gods!, Open Sesame, Odds and Gods, Only Human, Snow White and the Seven SamuraiTom Holt is always entertaining, with some absolutely cracking metaphors and a hilarious, over-the-top writing style. Unfortunately his actual stories sometimes suffer; almost all of them tend to fall apart at the three-quarter mark into fair nonsensicality. He tends to have either male nerds or competent, ice-cold females as his leads, and usually veers away from the quintessential "happy ending". His best work is the JWW Wells Co. series, starting with The Portable Door, which is like an adult Harry Potter in a cubicle farm. (The other books in the series don't quite reach the cohesiveness of TPD, but are still a lot of fun.) Most of his stuff is just pure manic entertainment, but you will happen across the odd deep thought here or there. The only book of his I read which I really hated was Valhalla, which is depressing, confusing, and seems rather pointless.
Huff, TanyaUrban fantasySummon The KeeperHuff's done a wide variety of fantasy material, both straight up and taking place in the real world. My favorite books by her are the Keeper series, which has a consistantly parodic and humorous mood (she's one of the only genuinely funny American fantasy writers I've yet read). Her novels about vampire sleuths are also pretty good, but not really my cup of tea.
Moore, JohnComic fantasyThe Unhandsome PrinceJohn Moore (no relation to the CFRB talk show host) writes small, whimsical books taking place in an unspecified alternate past, and takes great glee at shooting potshots at fantasy stereotypes. Sure, that's been done before, but he brings a new mode to it. Moore is extremely restrained, and tends to have his characters in on the joke while not entirely raging against the machine. There are plenty of anachronisms, supported by protagonists which often are surprisingly common-sensical. Great time-wasters.
Pratchett, TerryComic fantasy/Urban fantasyWyrd Sisters, Interesting Times, Hogfather, Small Gods, Night Watch, Going Postal, Johnny and the Bomb, Good Omens (with Neil Gaiman)Ah, Pterry. The man is an amazing genius. His books are not only extremely funny, but also replete with all sorts of insights and surprising characters; you'll consistently find interesting turns of phrase and unusual ways of looking at things. He pulls no punches and keeps the story going at a brisk pace. Re-reading every book at least once is almost required. Although his main baby is the Discworld books, which at this point number more than 30, I also recommend the three Johnny books, which take place in modern-day England and have a very original protagonist and a neat style. Good Omens is also an absolute masterpiece. Seriously, if you're going to read one author, this should be it. Don't let the rather bland style of his earliest books stop you, because they get better very very quickly.
Rankin, RobertUrban comic fantasyThey're all nuts.Robert Rankin is insane. He writes works of genius, but they are also insane. Most of his books take place in good ol' England, except that they generally involve Heaven, Hell, other deities, and a variety of whatnots. His writing style is hilarious; a constant contrast between Bible-style grandiosity and low-class slang. He constantly breaks the fourth wall, and has an extended love affair with running gags. Consistently entertaining.
Rowling, J.K.FantasyHarry Potter and the Sorceror's StoneOK, let's get this out of the way. J.K. Rowling is not a particularly good writer. Style-wise, she leaves a lot to be desired. But the truth is that none of that matters, because she's a masterful storyteller with a seemingly unending fount of great ideas, and her books suck you in and keep you dying to find out what happens next. Definitely not just for kids.
Snicket, LemonyNo idea.All of 'em, pretty much.Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" is that strange creature, a book that's most definitely meant for children, and never tries to talk to them as adults, but which is still quite entertaining for us grown-ups. Snicket's dark sense of humor pervades the novels, and his novel explanations of words his readers may find difficult don't get old. His books are full of mysteries, and truth be told the mysteries don't seem all that important; it's not like people are trying to take over the world here. But they're just so damn mysterious (and the clues he lets slips are so cryptic) that it keeps your attention. Not for everyone, but I think you should try it before you dump on it.

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