funniest webcomics: a subjective annual roundup
December 22, 2014 3:06 PM   Subscribe

 
This list reads to me like an indictment of webcomics, but I guess funny is subjective.

(IMO: Best, if not exactly funniest.)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:26 PM on December 22, 2014 [4 favorites]


Gunshow is ending this year :( :(
posted by The Whelk at 3:28 PM on December 22, 2014


--Why is there a teapot in the bathroom?
--I DON'T KNOW, ASK BERTRAND BLOODY RUSSELL
posted by Wolfdog at 3:29 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Is fifty just too many? A good few of these are very, very bad.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:33 PM on December 22, 2014 [6 favorites]


While I will agree that many of these are pretty damn good, I could see that list narrowed down to the top 20 webcomics without too much trouble.

XKCD hasn't been really all that funny in a long time
posted by surazal at 3:37 PM on December 22, 2014


Question... Is this an example of that internet irony I keep hearing about?
posted by njohnson23 at 3:51 PM on December 22, 2014


I don't see Oglaf (nsfw) on this list, so I question its accuracy.


...and sexiness.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:58 PM on December 22, 2014 [28 favorites]


I was just about to comment on the lack of Oglaf as well. Easily my favorite web comic.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:58 PM on December 22, 2014


I saw some other Joan Cornella elsewhere, and cannot but think that he has stolen the crown of Cowboy Henk. Dark and absurd comedy are nearer than we think.
posted by Thing at 4:02 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Maybe I have a very different sense of humor than the folks at Pleated Jeans? Or a different definition of funny?
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2014


There is an Oglaf in the 2012 list.
posted by kyrademon at 4:11 PM on December 22, 2014


I made it about a third of the way through, but the constant not-funny wore me down. Is the joke knowing that these aren't actually funny or something like that?
posted by Dip Flash at 4:13 PM on December 22, 2014


*scrolls through* No Breaking Cat News? Your list is wrong.
posted by snwod at 4:13 PM on December 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


I saw some other Joan Cornella elsewhere

I made a post about his work last year after tripping across it and being super duper delighted; I feel like I've seen his stuff floating around again a bit more recently as well, on mlkshk probably. It's super great.

Not enough neglected satirical TV sci-fi fumetti in this list tho.
posted by cortex at 4:15 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Don't think it's a super-dry joke list, as there are a few gems like Hark! A Vagrant in there, which is still as excellent as it ever was.

Admittedly when you've hit The Oatmeal, Cyanide and Happiness, and that one whose sample just made a hash of a very old dad joke joke, I can see why you might wonder...
posted by ominous_paws at 4:16 PM on December 22, 2014


Possibly of related interest: The Nib's Funniest Comics of 2014. I'm not sure funny is the right word there, but it's a follow-up to The Best of The Nib 2014, where it's certainly not the right word.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:22 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I made a post about his work last year after tripping across it and being super duper delighted; I feel like I've seen his stuff floating around again a bit more recently as well, on mlkshk probably. It's super great.

I feel I should kneel and beg forgiveness, as that's probably where I saw it first.
posted by Thing at 4:25 PM on December 22, 2014


Oh god the shadow puppet one is splendid!
posted by odinsdream at 4:34 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


Gunshow is ending this year :( :(

what.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:34 PM on December 22, 2014


Could have done without the really racist 'cannibals' art.
posted by tavella at 4:38 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


I like Grant Snyder's stuff, but it's not funny.
posted by edgeways at 4:48 PM on December 22, 2014


A few of these are great but most of them look like they could have been drawn by the same 4 people. None of them are what I would call visually complicated or highly stylized, most of them seem to swing towards minimalism visually. Given the wide open nature of the web you'd hope to see wider array of styles and storytelling but it ain't there.
posted by doctor_negative at 4:55 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


This list reads to me like an indictment of webcomics, but I guess funny is subjective.

And even the Kate Beaton they chose for their list isn't one of her funny ones.
posted by Flashman at 5:23 PM on December 22, 2014


As a comics pedant, of course I have some to add to the list (and some of those on Pleated-Jeans' list show examples that are not the funniest, but just the most recent... that's a little lazy).

Scott Meyer's rotoscoped Basic Instructions is still a consistent laugh.
Even with an ever-worsening title, Bug Martini still usually accomplishes a funny punchline in 3 of its 4 frames.
A Zillion Dollars is overpriced but still funny.
Hubris is the side project of a cartoonist with a newspaper strip AND it has longrunning continuity that you need to get into to understand some of the characters, but it's still a good laugh (and funnier if you've ever shopped at Dick's or Big5).
An even funnier continuity comic (and one I really recommend reading from the beginning) is the Conspiracy Friends (I'd explain the plot but THEY would kill us both, y'know?).
And umpteen years of storylines and title changes hasn't kept John Allison's Scary Go Round/Bobbins/Bad Machinery from still being one of the funniest British exports (except when he takes a break to do year-end music reviews).
I don't think Arg is any less funny than it was when it made the list last year.
Tree Lobsters gives 'cut and paste photocomics' a GOOD name.
Doghouse Diaries sometimes does "your basic xkcd" comic better than xkcd.
Jon Rosenberg's Scenes from a Multiverse has slowed down its updating but still delivers the funny when it shows up.
Happle Tea is thoroughly random (and that's a good thing here).
And I still enjoy the Savage Chickens (even if the 'post-it-note' style has gotten old).
For me, the funniest 'cat comic' is Two Lumps, while the 'non-cat talking animal' that has charmed me is Flatt Bear.
Matt Lubchansky's Please Listen to Me is consistently funny and often pointedly true, but he's also a regular at The Nib, along with R. Stevens of Diesel Sweeties (which is still top-drawer) fame, and others already on the list.
I love 'graph/chart humor' so I recommend Coolness Graphed, Indexed and Truth Facts.

Among the 'dead-tree' comics also published online (and frequently reblogged all over) Bizarro is still the best single-panel silliness (even if it's slipping some, but it'll be 30 years old next month(!!)), but Wumo is catching up fast (also getting into LOTS of papers in a short time, proving there is still hope for the funny papers).

I'm sure I'll come up with more later...
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:25 PM on December 22, 2014 [19 favorites]


No Breaking Cat News?
posted by jeather at 5:27 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


The Holy Ghost of Perry Bible Fellowship looms large.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:22 PM on December 22, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hey, yeah, PBF has updated TWICE in the last week! Father Christmas and Matched. It's a Winter Solstice Miracle!!!
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:30 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I didn't look at the linked roundup but, instead, at oneswellfoop's list. And, while I appreciate his efforts at pulling together better choices, the nine that I visited did not make me laugh. More of a chin-stroking "uh-huh, I see where the artist is going with that..." The art is interesting, but the material just isn't funny to me. Despite the variety in styles and characters, it feels samey from one strip to the next (which is a reason why I'd previously given up on finding funny webcomics), e.g., that two-beat pause after the penultimate line in the last panel to wait for the kicker. As with slam poetry, it may just be a form that doesn't work for me. Thanks anyway for posting them.
posted by the sobsister at 6:46 PM on December 22, 2014


A lot of greeting card type humor.
posted by batfish at 6:56 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


TheWhiteSkull: "I don't see Oglaf (nsfw) on this list, so I question its accuracy."

I CURSE YOU TO AN ARBITRARY LIST OF FUNNY COMICS, YOU COCKS.
posted by boo_radley at 6:59 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait, John Allison rebooted Bobbins?!?!?!?
posted by davros42 at 7:00 PM on December 22, 2014


A few of these are great but most of them look like they could have been drawn by the same 4 people.

Yup. I understand that trends in comics, like any kind of popular art, come and go, but many of these tended to cluster close to one end of the 'Lego Movie←→Has obviously taken a life-drawing class at some point' axis. Apparently it's all about the newspaper-strip-style gags with your Fisher-Price toys.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:15 PM on December 22, 2014 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed; general metacommentary on folks not commenting the way you like is probably more of a metatalk thing, and if that's not what you're aiming for it's best to make your objections more clearly about the subject/content of the post than about other people commenting in the thread.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:16 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


Wait, wait, wait, John Allison rebooted Bobbins?!?!?!?

More like resumed it. When he checks in with the adult members of the cast, he'll do it with one or two strips under the Bobbins banner.

Allison also just finished an excellent limited series called Expecting to Fly that gives Shelley, Ryan, and Tim a shared adolescence in the mid 90s. (It's presented as a yellowed period comic book from "Scary Go Round Comics," complete with ads for other SGRC titles like Robert Cop, Folk Trio, and Politburo '44. Eventually the gag progresses to a sneak preview from an upcoming issue of NEMS, a long-running comic book about the financial misadventures of Brian Epstein.)
posted by Iridic at 7:33 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


When I was still on Reddit I used to see all the comics in this list show up pretty consistently on /r/comics. So there are a lot of people who actually do find them funny.

I don't know what to tell you, I'm as confused as you are.
posted by narain at 7:44 PM on December 22, 2014


My 16 year old son has posted many of these on his facebook page.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:57 PM on December 22, 2014


What, no Whelk? /scroll for originals.
posted by buzzman at 8:14 PM on December 22, 2014


RIP PLIF forever.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:40 PM on December 22, 2014 [2 favorites]


I liked PLIF, mostly, and this one was probably my favorite, but it started to fade near the end with the sock puppet thing. And some of the cartoons are replaced with CENSORED signs in the archives, WTF?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:19 PM on December 22, 2014


Read PLIF in it's entirety and regret not one moment. Probably saved my mind during tier one support days of yore. /me goes of to practice not being a monk.
posted by envygreen at 9:21 PM on December 22, 2014


Lordy what a lot of lame webcomics though with the inevitable sprinkling of quality. www.jspowerhour.com is an actually good one, fyi, by the ever-wonderful Abby Howard. And, holy shit, Oglaf.

Oh, and Order of the Stick is fantastic, and quite often very funny; at nearly 1000 strips it's getting kind of dense now, though.
posted by Sebmojo at 9:37 PM on December 22, 2014


I feel like I just went through the hipster versions of Wizard of Id.
posted by happyroach at 11:50 PM on December 22, 2014 [3 favorites]


Part of the problem is that once you set up a box labelled "funny" and then look for comics to put into it, you're probably going to leave out everything but the newspaper-style context-free gag-a-day strips. But some of the best (and often funniest) comics I know are those where the humour comes from the characters and the context and the story. Those don't fit too well into the "funny" box.

Another part of the problem is that a lot of the comics in this list have no sense of timing. They'll take too long to get to the punchline (e.g. #3, Lunar Baboon, which doesn't need panels 3-5), or will keep talking afterwards (e.g. #5, Liz Climo, which doesn't need dialogue in panel 2), or just have too many dang words and panels for a one-note joke (#12, #40, #41). They remind me of a guy who tells you a joke and then sticks around going, "Get it? Get it? Funny, eh? It's funny!"

Anyway! Let's talk about comics that are good! I'll second a lot of oneswellfoop's recommendations:
  • Basic Instructions continues to amaze me at how he consistently manages to fit four different punchlines into a single four-panel comic.
  • Scary Go Round/Bad Machinery/Bobbins are charming, off-beat, full of personality, and really funny in that understated British way.
  • Happle Tea is great at doing mythology the way Kate Beaton does history.
  • Savage Chickens is basically corny humour done right, and I like it a lot.
I haven't read the others on oneswellfoop's list (thanks for the recommendations!), so here are a few of mine: posted by narain at 12:07 AM on December 23, 2014 [7 favorites]


I hadn't heard of extra ordinary before and I like it a lot despite the main character looking just like the Cat and Girl girl and there being a cat in it.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:50 AM on December 23, 2014


I dunno, the sample comic they excerpted for #2 made me giggle out loud.
posted by eugenen at 6:48 AM on December 23, 2014


A late entrant from Wondermark.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:17 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]




Too many people focusing on how these are not funny, and not enough people bothered by the uniformly terrible art.

(Joan Cornella is an exception to both, but he is also a professional artist.)
posted by dgaicun at 10:47 AM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, I was highly neglectful in not including Dinosaur Comics and Dr. McNinja and Pandyland (Chainsawsuit and Nedroid are on the original linked list but so is Happle Tea, so duplications are inevitable) as well as Cat and Girl and Junior Scientist Power Hour (although Abby Howard is getting most of her attention now from her mostly-scary-slightly-funny Last Halloween).

I was considering doing an FPP about Francesco Marciuliano's flood of Christmas -themed funnies at Medium Large, including a semi-animated 'holiday special' video: "The Elf Who Lost His Hand in a Tragic Toy Factory Accident", but let me just leave that here.

The Dumm Comics kinda-collective was started as a sideline by some animation artists to do comics, with each designated one day of the week and it's for the most part hit-and-miss, with artists quitting and others joining at a confusing pace, but I still enjoy the last of the original participants every Thursday, Katie Rice (with Luke Cormican)'s Skadi, which is good for a nasty giggle even when it's in a 'serious' story arc (now with it's own domain).
Then there are the popular "sitcom" webcomics (as I call the 'slice-of-life-with-20-something-single-main-characters' comics), of which several are good enough to make my 'read regularly' list, but too story-heavy to make a gag-based 'funniest' list. Still, SOME people would love the cynical, dark humor of the ironically-titled Something Positive, but it needs ALL the TRIGGER WARNINGS (current story arc is about "dad's Alzheimer's").
There are lots of comics mixing the funny with Fantasy (Oglaf and Order of the Stick, as mentioned earlier), SciFi or Superhero tropes. So MANY 'funny superhero' comics (The Tick, what hath you begotten?!?) but the funniest and LEAST story-arc-dependent has to be the (currently haitusing because printed books are being made) Non-Adventures of Wonderella.
And my list of "funny graph/chart comics" was missing the brainy/funny Surviving the World.

And it must be noted that several of the comics on the linked lists have "Bonus Panels" with secondary punchlines that add to (and frequently outdo) the original gag; one that's doing it with EVERY strip is Mr. Lovenstein (scroll down and just mouse over the blank space below the comic)

And about the uniformly terrible art, blame xkcd and Cyanide & Happiness, the first ones with major success using rough stickfigure characters, followed by The Oatmeal and Hyperbole & A Half, and after that it was "it takes you more than three minutes to draw your comic? lame."
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:21 PM on December 23, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you know how many useful, productive things I was (allegedly) going to get done, before I saw this thread with all its fascinating, amusing, insightful webcomics?

I had a whole list of them. They were sub-categorised and colour-coded.

Now all that potential achievement is gone. I hope you're all pleased with yourselves.

That's all.
posted by The Zeroth Law at 6:02 PM on December 23, 2014


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