“Socrates should have written comics.”
― Mark Waid
I love comics. Newspaper strips played a major part in introducing them to me. After the elders were done with reading, I would attack the newspaper on the table to read the comic strips. My favourites were usually ‘Peanuts’ followed by ‘Calvin and Hobbes’. You can view the entire list in my older blog post.
I discovered comic books in the latter part of the 80s. I used to read a lot of Lee Falk’s ‘Phantom’ and ‘Mandrake the Magician‘ series. Comics historians consider them to be the first superheroes since they were published in 1936 & 1934 respectively. I also read a number of local comics (Tinkle, Chacha Choudhary).
Over time, the television medium became more popular & I switched to cartoon shows for viewing the adventures of super heroes (Batman, Birdman, Space Ghost etc).
Later I switched to reading Japanese Manga online. But I still missed the quick humour which a few comic panels would give.
I discovered Dilbert on a newspaper clip. Wanted a lot more of his humour. Found the comic online & have been watching it for the last 7 years – even traversing older records (it started in 1989 !) to see the smart but lazy Wally & poor Asok navigate through the corporate life. Since its based on the life of software engineers, I find a lot of similarities in it about some aspects of work.
Around 8 years ago, I discovered xkcd. It was the first webcomic I read. It was funny, complex and one could learn a lot from it – ranging from jokes to philosophical concepts to science to programming concepts. My favourite ones are those which challenge the old routines of life.
Another great webcomic that I found back in 2009 was Abstruse Goose. I found it to be similar to xkcd in some ways – smart ideas, insight into life. But it was funnier. Unfortunately the unknown author stopped publishing new strips a few years back (5?) though the comics still exist online (he must be still paying the hosting charges !).
Recently I found the ‘Perry Bible Fellowshop’ comics. Its an award winning series which went online around 11 years ago. Unlike the other comics, it has less text & the illustrations easily convey the humour. Plenty of lessons of life here.
I have been following these webcomics regularly. Some of them like xkcd, use the online medium really well by using interactive comics (click & drag, moving images etc) to give the user a better experience.
If there are better webcomics out there, do drop a comment.