Representation in Webcomics
This list is a little different than many of the others on the site because it is looking at a genre of books and not a specific representation. All of these would qualify as indie authors as they are publishing their own work for free online, these authors are also able to tell stories and create characters that you won’t normally see from traditional publishers. For me representation actually came last, first the comics had to be easy to read and follow for someone who has never read a comic before, Comics and webcomics are a different medium than a regular book and I will talk about how that influenced this list as well as representation.
I will be honest, one thing that helps with comics is enjoying the art, if you aren’t loving the art no matter how good the comic is your aren’t going to want to read it. For most of these they have somewhat similar art, the characters are very lifelike, the color schemes are bold and they are have a polished computer created look to them. The creators are also able to convey deep emotions though subtle changes in panels and color. This is just my personal preference for art. The next thing is that the flow of the panels needs to work with the story, if the panels skip around than the whole flow of the story is thrown off, they need to move seamlessly from on to the next even though they are individual scenes.
The dialog, third person narration and inner voice narration need to be clear and easy to understand as well. Unlike a book where it is very clear when someone is speaking in comics if the placement of the word bubble or narrator lines is off you can have no idea who is speaking or is anyone is speaking at all. All of the comics that I have listed here have objectively lovely art, great pacing and flow and the dialog not only fits the characters but flows well and is easy follow.
For this list I found my favorite comics with the best representation that I could find. There are many on here that are #ownvoices, and some where the author has chosen to not have much information about themselves online. I look for characters and representation that feels authentic, that brings a character into my life that I didn’t know that I needed, like bossy and snarky Prill (Witchy) or silly and sassy Peridot (Cucumber Quest). I also actively search out creators of color that are creating amazing characters of color.
I think that webcomics are a fantastic way for marginalized creators to get there stories out onto the mainstream and told in a unapologetic way. These stories shouldn’t be dismissed because of the medium that they come in, comics aren’t just for little kids they are a wonderful way to explore art and characters and these ten here will give anymore a great start.
– Sarah Olson