Five great gaming webcomics that aren’t Penny Arcade

January 27, 2011, Author: Andy Corrigan

Having grown up reading comic books and comic strips throughout my life, following webcomics was always a habit I was going to fall into at some stage in my adult life. Webcomics come in many a topical form, covering a variety of subjects, but there is a greatly rising number of them out there that revolve solely around my love and your love; gaming.

While Penny Arcade is generally considered the granddaddy of them all (and rightly so), their humour, for some, can be something of an acquired taste (not for me though, I love the boys from the ‘cade), but luckily there are plenty of alternatives for people to enjoy. Obviously, as with any medium, there are good, bad and average webcomics out there, so here are my choice five that I think all gamers should check out.

Digital Unrest
Digital Unrest is a new addition to the current crop of webcomics that grace my browser’s favourites menu. Written and drawn by Chris Simmons, the cartoon artwork is strong and the gags well presented, although sometimes relying a little too much on the usual approach of applying gaming logic to the real world. Updates are advised to be every Monday, however recently they have been slow. Not an issue if this is your first visit, however, as Digital Unrest has been going since 2005 and has a good back-catalogue for you to peruse.

Digital Unrest

Nerf Now
Nerf Now is another newcomer to my weekly reading, having only come to my attention thanks to a random advert at another site that I’ll mention shortly. This one is very PC centric, but the subject matter is not wholly inaccessible for console gamers. There are a lot of Team Fortress references, in fact most of the site’s early work seemed to be exclusively about Valve’s tongue in cheek shooter, however, the longer that the comic has been running, the more it’s branched out into other areas. As such, it might not always be as topical as you would hope, but the humour here is punchy and the site gets updated a couple of times a week.

Some of the non-Team Fortress stuff from Nerf Now!

2P Start
This is the first of two webcomics in the list that have finished completely and are no longer producing regular work. The reason I’m still including this, is because of the quality found in the entire collection of work that these two friends, Tim Harding and Ray Hargreaves. The art here, at times, can be a little hit and miss, but there are some spectacularly lovely pieces, usually in the ones involving jibes at gaming’s royalty, where as the worst examples usually involve themselves as characters. Either way, the writing is top-notch throughout their work. The podcasts are worth a listen too.

The comics are literally huge at 2P Start.

This comic by Christopher C Livingston is the second one in this piece that has long since ended (years ago too), but differs from the rest of the list by not featuring any original artwork and secondly, by having a self-contained story arc. Using the infamous Gary’s Mod tool for Half-Life 2, Livingston has masterfully created a compelling yet hilarious story set in the Half-Life universe. This yarn follows the story of one Gordon Frohman; a hapless protagonist/antagonist who goes around absent-mindedly causing all the events that Freeman encounters in the game. Greatly funny and worth a read as an entire story. If you were to only check out one of these comics, let it be this one.

A great set-up in Concerned!

Dueling Analogs
Ignore the US spelling (aka the incorrect spelling) of the word ‘Duelling’, this comic by Steve Napierski represents the darker side gaming at times. With artwork that has greatly improved over time, Dueling Analogs is where you’ll find some brilliantly evil regular features, such as ‘Rejected Megaman Villains’ or the ‘Games I’m glad were never made’, which fit alongside the standard randomness in a comic strip that sometimes never quite knows where the line is. The site is also kept up to date religiously on Mondays and Thursdays, featuring guest strips if Napierski can’t find the time. Well worth a look.

Can't beat some FFVII lolz at Dueling Analogs