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Why Are Most Popular Webcomics So Terrible?


I'm about to write an article about this for my website (potentially going into greater depth), but seeing as no one goes there, I'd really like to strum up some discussion on this terrible terrible topic..


I'm always amazed at how dreary and bland most of the popular webcomics are.

Video Game humour is tolerable in small doses, but using cookie cutter comic-formula to lash out at things which were designed for the sole purpose of having fun strikes me as inane.. I'll be bold and say that anybody over the age of 20 who plays videogames fanatically has taken a serious wrong turn in their lives, and probably shouldn't be exporting their brand of humour in the form of a comic in the first place.

CAD tries to break up there seriously weak content with a long running drama that even the most hardcore fans couldn't care less about. Penny Arcade uses cutesy characters as masks for the depressive rantings of two middle age men- inserting swears (lol) while attempting to destroy a certain game. Inevitably there'll be a sexy female character who lives with the protagonists, puts up with their misogynistic views, doesn't seem to notice their infantile obsession with videogames and is also a hardcore gamer.


Real life humour comics are the worst offenders of the group. Rather than copying sitcoms, and injecting surreal humour into mundane event, they simply copy paste scenes from the creators' lives. Just as with the videogame webcomics, fictional women (read: sexual objects) are inserted into the story, and the protagonists make deadpan observations about ridiculous things. There are too many of these webcomics to name main offenders, and unfortunately most of the creators seem like really nice (if not a little dull) people so I don't want to offend any of them..


Zany comics have great potential. They don't rely on regular characters, but rather employ surreal humour. I should like them as they do away with conventional hurdles (such as backdrops and stock characters) and rely solely on wit. Unfortunately, most take the 'zany' too far, and leave the 'humour' behind in the process. No one will agree with me, but I despise Cyanide and Happiness. Almost every strip involves a vaguely dirty joke, but uses no subtlety- most of the punchlines are words such as 'anal bleeding' or 'forced sex'. When they're not promoting their brand of charmless smut, their punchlines are incomprehensible..


Webcomics have so much potential. With no media input and total creative control, you'd think we'd be exploring strange new realms of comedy- but most of these strips could've appeared in the New Yorker 40 years ago (ignoring the token cultural references to iPods and Tiger Woods that it's the law for modern webcomics to include).

My question is, what's your take on the subject, and have you found any web comics that seriously absorb you! I'm not just a hater, I actively try and enjoy new things, so will happily try and get into any of the webcomics you suggest- I'm just sick of the most popular ones at the moment.. Thanks!


I have never been a great comic fan, when I was younger I occasionally read paper comics like the Beano, but I don't recall ever buying one with my own money.When reading web comics, you have to remember why they might not be as good as their paper counter parts:1. They're free. If the creator isn't going to get loads of money from making them, what is their incentive to putting a lot of time and effort in to making it?2. Generally only one or two people make them and they can be made on a tight schedule. You can't expect anything too fancy if you want a new one everyday. As the saying goes: "You can't have your cake and eat it".The two factors are going to make the standard much poorer than something you can buy, and the creators might try other techniques to make it more interesting. Such as...Sexual humour is one of the worst forms or dialogue in any comic. Just as DodgyPhil said, it isn't actually funny, but cringe-worthy and just degrades the whole standard even further.I think that web comics will become more popular and the creators will put more thought into making them. Perhaps when that happens I'll start reading them.


I agree about the ones you mentioned. Of the observation/slice of life, I check out XKCD and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. I prefer the storyline type. My favorite is Challenges of Zona. It is CGI, but beautifully done and a great story if you like fantasy. I check Questionable Content and Something Positive every day - these two artists have posted every day for years! They are both angst-of-losers type stories, but enjoyable enough. The Abominable Charles Christopher is beautiful drawn art and a sweet story. Goblins is good, too, but I get lost during the fight scenes. Negative One is also sort of a fantasy/slice of life - hard to describe. I started reading it because my name is Mary Lynne and one of the characters is named Meri Lin and got hooked. I have followed up to 30 webcomics in the past, but these eight are they only ones still worth following to me.BTW - your captcha is awful. I tried many times before I got the code right - it is unreadable. If this actually posts it is because I was determined to not let it beat me!


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