Things I Like Month: Webcomics Part III Edition

And now we enter the final day of webcomic coverage…for now…


Non-narratives don’t necessarily not tell a story. In fact, they typically tell a story with just a few images. What makes these non-narrative is that there are not storylines that stretch through several installment, not an ongoing series of candidates, not a single location to tie everything together. Think THE FAR SIDE if you need a well-known newspaper comic strip to orient yourself.

Note that because these are non-narrative, there is less to discuss regarding characters and thus these reviews will probably run a bit shorter. Please do not interpret this as these webcomics being less well-regarded by me then their narrative brothers.



Like DINOSAUR COMICS on the narrative side, this was a debate to me about whether or not it should be considered narrative or non-narrative. In the end, as you can see, I chose to place it on the non-narrative side because, despite the common theme of each strip, there is no sense of building or changing. Theoretically, every strip draws on action occurring in the same location, but it could equally be many, many locations and the storytelling would not change a lick.

In CUSTOMERS, creator Tim Chamberlain shares a new comic book store customer quote every day. In a simple large panel, the customer is depicted from mid-torso up, pushed to the side by his or her quote in a (or a few) word bubbles. Quotes range from surprisingly insightful to hopelessly thoughtless to downright creepy. Chamberlain’s exaggerated style, all oversized heads, rounded teeth, smatterings of acne and/or freckles, and an endless stream of genre t-shirts, helps you “see” not literally how the customers in question actually look but rather conveys the way they appear as they speak; odd, overbearing, and nearly impossible to ignore.

The customers are specifically comics book customers and are therefore prone to mentioning Star Wars, Superman, the X-Men, Pokemon, and so. However, if you strip away the buzzwords, the unique phrases, and so on, they depict situations that should resound strongly with anyone who’s ever worked retails. The clueless customers looking for something in the vaguest terms possible, the righteous indignation about the seemingly smallest things, the too loud kids who aren’t hesitant to make cruel observations about other customers…they’re all things the typical clerk or cashier has had to ignore, suppress laughing at/with, or muddle through.

Released: Daily, Monday-Friday

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

The Comic




With an approach that started as rough sketches and has increasingly become more polished, Ryan Pequin use a multiple panel approach to make strips oriented around puns, inappropriate or ill-timed questions, ironic relationships, and sheer bizarreness. 

Released: Irregularly

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Ryan Pequin




Arguably the gold standard of the webcomic gag strip, Nicholas Gurewitch employs a variety of styles to from simple round headed bald humanoids (arguably his most “recognizable” approach) to classic comic strip to near realistic woodcut-esque. These days BIBLE comes out whenever Gurewitch feels moved to do one, which is sad from a “I want my entertainment now” perspective, but he has repeatedly shown each one is worth waiting for.

Released: Irregularly

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

The Comic




In a style just above the simple stick figure, CYANIDE’s variety of contributors create strips that hang on ironic last panel reveals. Whether it be the cross burning white supremacist in the “I hate crime” t-shirt or the superhero who’s only mission appears to be to loot when things get bad, each reveal is such a radical turn, it can’t help but garner a chuckle.

Also, despite the seemingly simplistic nature of the illustrations, the team does a great job of conveying emotions with their faces. In some ways, the stripped down quality of the strip allows that work to pop, increasing the payoff of those last panel reversals.

Released: Daily, Monday-Friday

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Kris Wilson

Rob Den Bleyker

Matt Melvin

Dave McElfatrick




Every SMBC (as it is known in shorthand) strip gives the reader essentially two punchlines in one. The first occurs in the strip itself, the second is revealed by the signature red button that runs under every installment. The initial punchline can easily exist on its own, but the second always adds to it, by either revealing the artist, Zach Weiner, in some sort of agitated self-portrait or allows the characters to evolve their own lines just a touch to pile on the humor.

Weiner’s style, big and colorful, has a dashed off quality that adds to the overall aesthetic. Everything, from the masthead through the lettering and coloring goes together and promoting the sort of energetic, anything can happen quality that SMBC seems to strive for.

Released: Daily, Monday-Friday

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Zach Weiner




It’s hard to sell most people on a strip with the line “if you love science jokes,” but that is the most common thing xkcd tends to get labeled with. And it is not entirely unearned. xkcd does mine the creator’s experiences working with NASA and his background in science and math to build punchlines. However, to say that’s all the strip does is an oversimplification.

For one, not every strip is aiming for funny. The most recent depicts how current city skylines would correspond to the height of ancient ice sheets that we estimate used to cover the same land. It is purely educational, there is no on-panel punchline. It exists purely to present something you might want to know or spend a moment imagining.

Similarly, “Randall’s” most arguably impressive and ambitious strip to date is a still running gif depicting people playing on a beach, building increasingly massive sandcastles, seemingly endlessly. Each day, there is a little more to the story added, the scene extended just a bit farther. It may be a strip that pulls from science, but is decidedly not just the place for science.

Additionally, like SMBC, readers are treated to an extra bit of humor or trivia through the alt-text that shows up when they run their mouse over the strip.

Released: Every Other Day, Monday-Friday

Twitter handles associated with the podcast:

Unofficial Feed


Tomorrow: Hmm…I don’t know…we’ll all be surprised together!