One of the very first webcomics I read, Plume is the story of Vesper Grey, a young woman living in the early 1800s “West.” Her life, according to her, is “boring,” consisting of an endless parade of activities “suitable for young ladies.” This suddenly changes when her adventurer father is murdered in front of her.
She then embarks on a mission of revenge, aided by an immortal being named Corrick, who is bound to protect the wearer of an enchanted locket. The locket was gifted to Vesper by her father shortly before his death.
The story is strongly reminiscent of the film True Grit but with fantastical additions. The characters themselves are completely original, which is where the comic truly shines. Vesper takes to revenge with a worryingly gleeful exuberance. In her own words, “killing is therapeutic,” and she has a naïve badassery that is extremely endearing. The evolving relationships among the cast are well-plotted, and, as of yet, have utterly avoided one-dimensionality.
Rumplestiltskin (Fantasy/Fairy Tale)
This is not the tale of Rumplestiltskin as you remember it. Incredibly well-written, the story is a complete retelling of the classic. The tropes of the “handsome prince,” “demure princess,” and “dastardly villain” are upended and replaced with infinitely more relatable and realistic characters. Dotted with twists that thumb their noses at your expectations, the story continually reminds you that it is the captain now, and will remain so.
As the protagonist Chris grows up, she becomes a willful and petulant girl who seems oblivious to the world around her. A world of war, greedy kings, and conscription exists around her, but she instead chooses to make friends with a mysterious man who meets her at the edge of the woods. A man, it must be said, who refuses to tell her his name…
No End (Science Fiction/LGBT)
Recently, I was made aware that the roster of comics with both speculative and LGBT content is expanding far past the “story with a token diverse character.” The punctuality of my schoolwork may have taken a hit shortly afterwards.
No End is one such cause of my GPA’s demise. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, it follows an ensemble cast through the ruins of civilization. They attempt to survive and solve the mysteries of their world, all while facing threats from the now unapologetically corrupt military and (of course) zombies.
Zombies are like bow ties. They are cool, okay?
Each character is utterly unique and none conform to the clichés of apocalyptic zombie fighting. The story feels fresh, though shades of it have been seen before. Some parts resemble The Walking Dead—but with characters I actually care about.
Sfeer Theory (Steampunk/Fantasy)
I may devolve into fangirl-ranting with this one, so please bear with me. Sfeer Theory builds a world with perhaps one of the best magic systems I’ve seen since the book series Mistborn. I cannot attempt to explain it, as I will embarrass both myself and the authors, but suffice it to say you have a round thingy and you do stuff and then things happen and aaaaaaargh.
The comic mainly follows Luca Valentino, an assistant at Uitspan University, where Sfeer Theory is taught. He is an ingenious cyclist (one who practices Sfeer Theory), but has been denied entry to the university due to his status as an immigrant. He instead practices in secret, hoping to one day present his innovations to the university.
A backdrop of looming war between the countries of Warassa and Valence, and the intrigues surrounding them, provides compelling contrast to the relative peace of the university. It quickly becomes clear that Luca will somehow be caught up in the coming conflict.
The truly fantastic story is framed within gorgeous, full-colour art. Scenery and characters both are drawn with an eye for detail and attention to the complexities of motion. No one ever looks stiff or unnatural. This allows for comedy, emotion, and character development to be clearly expressed in a look or movement. Quite honestly, this is one of the best comics in recent memory.
-Contributed by Rej Ford
If you’re still hungry to read about more webcomics, why don’t you consider some of the following?