Excerpt shared with permission from the author, Mahnaz Dar. The article first appeared online at School Library Journal.
Looking for ways to keep your comics-loving kids and teens occupied? These free webcomics promise to eat up hours of time.
Audrey’s Magic Nine
Written by Michelle Wright and illustrated by Courtney Huddleston, Francesco Gerbino, and Tracy Bailey, this webcomic, now a series of graphic novels published by Farthing Press, centers on a black orphan adopted by a well-meaning but clueless suburban white couple.
Breaking Cat News
House cats Elvis, Puck, and Lupin report on such breaking news stories as “The people are missing!” and “There’s a box with a towel inside it on the kitchen table.” Georgia Dunn’s hilarious webcomic, with its feline’s-eye view of the world, is also being published by Andrews McMeel as a series of graphic novels.
In GiGi D.G.’s video game–esque tale, adorable Cucumber the bunny and his sister Almond go up against a series of baddies. A vibrant palette, nonstop action, and a bizarre cast of friends and foes make for immersive reading. Also available as a series of graphic novels published by First Second.
Andrew Hussie’s wildly popular webcomic follows John Egbert, who on his 13th birthday plays a video game that unleashes the apocalypse. Available in print from Viz Media.
Ozy and Millie
Two anthropomorphic foxes navigate the world in this sweetly snarky webcomic, now a graphic novel published by Andrews McMeel, by Dana Simpson, creator of the best-selling “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” series. Enjoy the archive, or check out reruns on GoComics!
Scared by the Bell
Though being the new kid is never easy, it’s especially hard for Peter, an average kid whose classmates include a mummy, a pumpkinhead, and a skeleton. Creator Dylan Campbell updates this hilariously creepy webcomic every week.
Still reeling from the loss of his mother, Jonas escapes into his vivid daydreams. After making his way through a portal in his grandmother’s strange painting, he finds himself lost in a fantasy world, unable to return. Daniel Lieske’s arresting comic series has also been published in print format by Lion Forge.
As Per Usual
Dami Lee’s self-deprecating webcomic details her quest “to be a real lady person,” from dating woes to FOMO in the age of social distancing. The graphic novel Be Everything at Once, available from Chronicle, collects many of the entries in her webcomic.
As the Crow Flies
Two outsiders endure microaggressions on a Christian backpacking trip and find solace in each other. Melanie Gillman’s contemplative, poignant webcomic was published as a graphic novel by Iron Circus Comics and won a Stonewall Honor in 2018.
Bird and Moon—Science and Nature Comics
Whether naturalist and science writer Rosemary Mosco is describing how to distinguish a dolphin from a porpoise, offering improvements on bird species (like hummingbirds that are 10,000% bigger), or urging readers to join the fight against climate change, her abiding passion for the natural world comes through loud and clear in this delightfully quirky webcomic. Available from Andrew McMeels as Birding Is My Favorite Video Game: Cartoons About the Natural World from Bird and Moon.
When a happy-go-lucky former figure skater joins his college hockey team, hilarity ensues, but so do lasting friendships and even a burgeoning romance between protagonist Bitty and team captain Jack. Ngozi Ukazu’s webcomic has garnered a loyal fan base, and the graphic novels, published by First Second, are just as popular.
What became of Alice, Wendy Darling, and Dorothy Gale after they returned from Wonderland, Neverland, and Oz? Though few believed their stories, the three girls meet and find kinship in one another. Andy Weir and Sarah Andersen’s enchanting webcomic–turned–graphic novel (published by Ten Speed) will inspire readers to write their own fan fiction.
Hamish Steele’s webcomic centers on an amusement haunted house with a mysterious portal that entices demons, ghosts, and angels.
Deep Dark Fears
Fran Krause creates mordantly funny yet tender comics based on emails submitted by readers detailing the absurd but deeply resonant fears that plague them (What if, while walking over me in bed, my cat steps on both my eyes? What if, when I take off my goggles, the suction yanks out my eyes?). Two graphic novels, Deep Dark Fears and The Creeps, based on the webcomic have been published by Ten Speed.