Today I was going to give you a run-down of my favourite female characters in webcomics, but during the read-around I was doing to consolidate my choices I realised- a great female character doesn’t do enough on their own. If there’s one really fantastic woman in a comic, but all the other women are non-existent or one-dimensional, it robs that character of their impact. So I decided instead to give you my top five, in no particular order, webcomics that treat women as fully fledged characters consistently and well.
The Non-Adventures of Wonderella www.nonadventures.com is a fabulously silly comic updated on Saturdays, and doesn’t have continuity so much as running jokes. It follows Wonderella, a thinly veiled parody of Wonder Woman, and the writer’s clearly fond enough of both WW and comics in general that the jokes made at their expense are really well-observed. The reason it’s on this list is because almost all the characters are female, and that’s extremely rare in any media, let alone superhero webcomics. And because her nemesis is called Hitlerella, and that’s just brilliant.
Gunnerkrigg Court www.gunnerkrigg.com I’ve reviewed Gunnerkrigg before, but I’ve got to restate my love for this comic- it’s incredibly sweet, the storylines are driven by female characters, the art is absolutely adorable and it’s just a joy to read. It’s got a chapter change coming up on Monday, I believe, which is a great jumping on point, so give it a try!
Octopus Pie www.octopuspie.com is probably the hardest sell on this list for me, because it’s difficult to explain why it’s so good. Should I focus on the fact that Eve and Hanna, the main two characters, are the two characters who come up the most consistently when I ask people who their favourite female characters in webcomics are? Should I praise the art style, which allows for an enormous amount of expression and being very easily accessible? Perhaps the actual character development? I don’t even know. But I love it, and you should too.
Homestuck www.mspaintadventures.com is enormous. This is the biggest webcomic that I’ve ever read- there are over 2,500 pages, a cast of at least 50 characters at this point, and it updates constantly. It makes the list for some incredibly rounded treatment of female characters- they’re not all villains, they’re not all heroes, and in a couple of cases their motivations are clearly consistent but never defined. This webcomic got under my skin, and it’s probably the one I recommend the most; and part of the reason I love it is the perfectly observed (and occasionally cringe-inducing) depiction of thirteen year olds, both male and female.
Bad Machinery www.scarygoround.com (and Scary Go Round, the first comic by the writer/artist, which is available on the same site) this is probably the best known of the comics on this list, and with good reason. It’s brilliantly constructed and the characters are real, complex people who do good things and bad things and silly things. Occasionally there is a wendigo, and I am not joking there even though it sounds like I am. Bad Machinery is the easiest one to jump on to, and follows rival gangs of mystery solving teens.
So what did I miss? Which comics do you think not only contain great female characters, but also treat all their female characters as actual characters instead of plot devices or wallpaper? Take it to the comments!