Introduction

In the age where you can read comics from an app on your phone, it’s no surprise that many well-known comics get their start online as webcomics. Comics that started out on Webtoons, Tapas, or sometimes even published on the creator’s own website rise to such popularity that they get a publishing deal and get to have a new life in print. This list includes some of the features team’s favorites.

Crumbs

Danie Stirling

Ray is a seer whose unique gift allows her to clearly see the present, and she dreams of using her abilities to work for the Council. Laurie works at Ray's favorite bakery and has dreams of making it big as a musician. As the couple pursues their dreams, they will have to figure out their obstacles and personal challenges. Can they both reach their dreams and keep their relationship intact?
I was completely taken with Crumbs when I first read it on Webtoon. The artwork is charming, with a warm palette that works to set the overall cozy mood. The worldbuilding creates a magical setting that captures some degree of modernity (cell phone sprites!) that feels both familiar and fresh. Ray and Laurie both have their good and bad points, and their dynamic is handled in a way that emphasizes communication over drama. The result is a story that feels grounded but with plenty of warm whimsy to make you feel cozy and happy.
You can also read Crumbs online at Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/crumbs/list?title_no=1648

Appeals to

Fans of gentle, healthy romance and cozy fantasy will want to pick up Crumbs.

Content Notes

Brief discussion of parental death

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Fangs

Sarah Andersen

From the mind of Sarah's Scribbles, Fangs started on the popular webcomic website Tapas. In a series of sweet and humorous vignettes, it follows the romance between vampire Elsie and werewolf Jimmy. Though their supernatural experiences are very different, they find common ground and fall in love in a way that will be very relatable to us mere mortals. Read Fangs on Tapas at tapas.io/series/fangscomic/info.

Appeals to

Anyone looking for a sweet romance with a supernatural twist.

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Heartstopper

Alice Oseman

Charlie Spring is a sweet and anxious openly gay teenager who is still grappling with the aftermath of being outed. Nick Nelson is a rugby player whose sweeter, more reflective nature places him a bit at odds with his friend group. When they are seated together in their form, Nick and Charlie quickly develop a friendship and then deeper feelings. Follow their ups and downs as Charlie and Nick get through their final years of high school together.
As of publication, the series is still ongoing, and you can read it here: https://www.webtoons.com/en/canvas/heartstopper/list?title_no=329660

Appeals to

With an excellent queer cast, Heartstopper will appeal to readers looking for stories with positive queer relationships; fans of sweet romance that do not place a lot of emphasis on sex will want to pick up this series as well. Oseman succeeds at striking a balance between difficult topics and portrayals of wonderful moments of friendship and romance. Add charming artwork (with adorable fur babies), and you can't go wrong!
A note to libraries: Given the popularity of the Netflix show, I would recommend trying to have at least the first couple of volumes on the shelf.

Content Notes

Discussion/portrayal of an eating disorder, mental illness, homophobia, and bullying

Creator Identities:

Asexual |

Main Character Identities:

Bisexual, Gay |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

Hooky

Míriam Bonastre Tur

Twin witches Dani and Dorian have something of a talent for mischief; this time, instead of getting on their way to magic school they maybe steal a dragon's egg and get declared traitors of their kind. But obviously, they can't just go home and admit what happened, so instead they decide they just need to find someone to be their magic mentor and lay low for a while. And as to be expected with these two, things just aren't that simple.

Appeals to

With the central theme of magic and mischief, Hooky can appeal to readers of all kinds of magical stories, such as Sorceline, and the unusual adventure aspect could appeal to readers who enjoy comics like Cursed Princess Club or Misfit Mansion. Hooky could be much darker considering it deals with family and societal secrets, but it mixes in adventure and other hijinks to keep things varied. Hooky is currently available on Webtoon and is considered completed.

Creator Identities:

Spanish |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Magical Boy

The Kao

Max is doing his best to get through life as a trans teen in high school with an unsupportive mother and a quiet but supportive father, and he doesn't need the added complication of coming from a long line of magical girls. But it turns out this is true, and he has to transform to help save the world from monsters that feed on negative emotions. Now he has to juggle his normal life and being magical, and in that, trying to figure out how to be truly Max in all of that.

Appeals to

Magical Boy's exploration of the magical girl genre is one of a kind, but themes of magic and gender or defying expectations is a theme in comics like The Witch Boy series, Galaxy: the Prettiest Star, and Snapdragon, so there's definite cross-appeal to those readers. And of course, because Magical Boy deals with the tropes of magical girl anime, it could be a great pick for readers of series like Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, or Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Magical Boy is currently available on Tapas and is considered completed.

Content Notes

Because Max's mother is unsupportive, she frequently misgenders him and refers to him by his dead name, which is blurred out in the comic.

Creator Identities:

Taiwanese-American |

Queer |

Main Character Identities:

Gay |

Trans |

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

Nimona

ND Stevenson

Ballister Blackheart, former hero turned villain, has his life shaken up when he gets a new sidekick. Although she is extremely impulsive, Nimona is a powerful shapeshifter, and together they start pulling off things Ballister could have never done before. When they discover the mysterious Institute is up to no good, they hatch a scheme to save the people. But then Ballister finds out Nimona might not be what she appears to be…

Appeals to

With its mix of science fiction and fantasy, laugh-out-loud humor, and exciting action, Nimona will appeal to readers who love monstrous girls and fantasy stories with powerful symbolism and adventure, such as The Owl House.
Given the positive reception of the Netflix adaption, libraries will want to have Nimona on the shelves. While the show and book diverge, both are great in their own way, and some readers may want to see the source material.

Content Notes

Violence, with some blood; death

Creator Identities:

Queer |

Nonbinary, Trans |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Prosthesis |

Recommended by

Megan Rupe

On a Sunbeam

Tillie Walden

Tillie Walden (Spinning, The End of Summer) began publishing On a Sunbeam online in 2016 and completed it the following year. It was published physically in 2018 by First Second. You can read the comic online at www.onasunbeam.com.
This atmospheric sci-fi story follows Mia, in the present-day where she has just joined the crew of the Aktis, and during her days at an all-girls boarding school, where she experiences the bittersweet tastes of first love. In a cold and sometimes harsh universe, is there a way to have a second chance at true love?

Appeals to

Sci-fi fans will enjoy beautifully rendered space exploring the future.

Content Notes

Alcohol use, Bullying, Death, Misgendering, Violence

Creator Identities:

Lesbian |

Main Character Identities:

Lesbian, Queer |

Nonbinary |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

The Tea Dragon Society

Kay O'Neil

Kay O'Neil's (Princess Princess Ever After and The Moth Keeper) world of Tea Dragons started as a webcomic in 2016. A year later it was published physically by Oni Press. In 2018 it won two Eisner's for Best Publication for Kids and Best Webcomic. Read it online at teadragonsociety.com.
In the first installment of this gentle fantasy, we meet Greta, a blacksmith apprentice who discovers a rare creature in the marketplace one day. This leads her to meet the creature's owner, a tea shop proprietor named Hesekiel. Hesekiel offers to teach her all about the care and keeping of these rare creatures, the tea dragons. Along the way, she grows closer to their ward, Minette, who helps her appreciate how her talents with blacksmithing can help the world around her.

Appeals to

Those of all ages looking for a cozy fantasy with cottage-core vibes will delight in this series.

Creator Identities:

Gender Nonconforming |

Main Character Identities:

Queer |

Recommended by

Tayla Cardillo

Witchy

Ariel Slamet Ries

Nyneve's people are witches, and their power is dictated by the length of their hair, and their futures are dictated by that strength. Out of hope for Nyneve to have freedom of choice, her mother helps her keep Nyneve's real hair length hidden until one terrible day when the true length is discovered. Now Nyneve is on the run, her mother is under house arrest, and a weird talking crow won't leave Nyneve alone. Follow this renegade witch through the woods and towards some big realizations and take in the beautiful visuals along the way.

Appeals to

With its unusual magic system and gorgeous environments, Witchy is a solid choice for fans of Wynd and The Moth Keeper. So much of Witchy is spent with Nyneve going on a journey to understand herself and her people so while this might seem like a strange parallel, readers of Garlic & The Vampire may find themselves falling for Nyneve just like Garlic. Witchy is currently available to read at witchycomic.com though is on hiatus while the creator wraps up another project.

Creator Identities:

Australian, Indonesian |

Main Character Identities:

Recommended by

Shannan Prukop

  • Tayla

    | She/Her Branch Librarian

    Features Writer

    Tayla Cardillo (she/her) is the Branch Librarian of the Oaklawn branch of the Cranston Public Library in Cranston, RI. She is also a member of the ALA Graphic Novel and Comic Round Table and the chair of the Rhode Island Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee. She completed her MLIS at the University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English at Rhode Island College. Tayla has known that she wanted to be a librarian since she was 17 years old. When not doing library wizardry, she enjoys playing tabletop games and cosplaying.

  • Shannan

    | She/They Teen Services Librarian, San Antonio Public Library

    Features Writer

    Shannan waffled between English professor and librarian as career choices for all of college; eventually librarian won. She is a Teen Services Librarian with the San Antonio Public Library. When not running TTPRG games for their teens or teaching them how to bake, she's doing what she can to promote comics to anyone who will listen. At home they're likely deep in the middle of their latest cosplay project or watching B movies with her husband, while generally pushing the cats out of the way.

  • Megan

    | She/Her

    Features Writer

    Megan earned her MLIS from Simmons College and is currently the evening librarian at Bay State College in Massachusetts. She satisfies her voracious appetite for graphic novels and manga through regular visits to her local public libraries and puts her love of graphic novels to good use by adding to Bay State’s collection whenever possible. Megan maintains a personal blog, Ferret with a Strobe Light, where she discusses awesome books she’s read lately. When not engaged in reading or library work, she likes running, drinking tea, and working on her own stories and art.

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