If you love comics but can’t make the monthly price of $3.99 a pop, there are hundreds of free online digital comics that are just as good as (and in many cases, better than) the big-named hero comics at your local shop. You just have to know where to find them. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of our top five free digital comics below. Most of these titles are labors of love, written and drawn by their creator every week and posted online for free.
After browsing our list, don’t forget to take a look at Biowars, our monthly free digital comic you can read from your desktop, laptop, tablet, or phone.
Unsounded, by artist and writer Ashley Cope, is a fantasy/comedy free online comic updated every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Sette Frummagem is the daughter of the Lord of Thieves, and while maybe she isn’t the most moral character in recent memory, she’s so well written that we don’t judge her for her lying, cheating, or stealing. Her many sidekicks, including our favorite, Duane, add comic relief to this sometimes-heavy story, creating a well-rounded and granularly-crafted plot that will captivate fans of the epic adventure genre as well as comic fans in general.
4. Stand Still Stay Silent
This post-apocalyptic free online comic takes place 90 years after the old world ends. Our heroes, including Tuuri, Lalli, and Emil, make their home in Iceland, the largest safe area in the Known world. Only the Nordic countries are features here, including settlements in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, creating an interesting and unique atmosphere. This comic travels the familiar fantasy ground of dark mysteries, hunters, and mages, but the intimate, intricately-drawn panels and the deadpan humor elevate Stand Still Stay Silent to one of the best online comics we’ve seen.
3. Grrl Power
Debuting in August, 2010, Grrl Power has quickly become one of the widest-read online comics. Halo, Maxima, Dabbler, Anvil, Harem, and Arianna fill out this mostly-female cast, and while there are male characters too, the comic takes its name from the powerful, super-powered women at the heart of the story. Creator David Barrack summarizes Grrl Power as, “A comic about super heroines. Doing the things that super powered girls do. Fighting crime, saving the world, dating, shopping, etc.” This one made out list not only for the vivid and colorful art style, but the sense of humor and levity the comic brings to a historically serious medium.
2. Battle Dog
Battle Dog, by Andrew Duff and Matt Cummings, is one of the more toon-ish looking comics on our list, and the levity this comic brings is a firm departure from our other selections. Wyra, princess of the Star Kingdom, feels unfairly put upon to become the next queen after the abdication of the throne by her older brother, Theo. Luckily, she has Battle Dog, whose heroic exploits are known throughout the land. Together, they’re on a mission to defeat evil, bring peace to the land, and develop into the queen she has to become. There’s nothing else really like this one, and its charm, humor, and bright panels will keep you coming back for the next issue.
Taking our number one spot is FreakAngels, by writer Warren Ellis and artist Paul Duffield. Taking place in a post-apocalyptic Whitechapel, Great Britain, the plot concerns a dozen young psychics attempting to make a life after the world ends. The usual tropes are here: outside dangers like refugees and the unforgiving wasteland, and internal ones, like clashing personalities and crime. What elevates this comic from cliché to brilliant is the impeccable dialogue, the realistic characters, and the gorgeous artwork. This is a one-of-a-kind experience, and it’s available to read for free on the FreakAngels website, or in graphic novel format.
Want to read more of our top lists? Take a look at our last blog post, our Top 10 Literary Graphic Novels.