The 8 Funniest Webcomics

Cartoonists like Garfield's Jim Davis are lucky they got rich enough to buy their own diamond mines before there was such a thing as the Internet. Now, a whole bunch of kids with Blogspot accounts and MS Paint are proving they can do better. Way better.

Since we figure our readers could use a little culture, we've put together a list of, without question, the funniest comics the Web has to offer. That's right: We claim to have identified the best of an utterly subjective art form. Let's see you take issue with that, smart guy!

#8. Dinosaur Comics, by Ryan North


www.qwantz.com

The Gist:
A six-panel comic featuring clip-art dinosaurs trampling log cabins and tiny women gets its dialogue rewritten five times a week in an example of absurdism at its most hilarious.

Kinda Like:
How every Marmaduke is basically the same drawings of the exasperated lady owner. Only with this one, the written jokes actually change.

Words and Pictures:
Dinosaur Comics features a vibrant color palette, free and open canvases and a boldly choral compositional structure. All right, it' the same goddamned pictures every time. Disregarding that minor detail, the strips are not only funny, but also take on issues as diverse as moral relativism, the nature of true contentment and how to throw knives in order to cut speaker wires at a distance, thereby putting a stop to your neighbors' blaring techno music.

Plus, you'd be amazed how the occasional addition of a goatee can turn a T-Rex into the funniest thing you've seen all week.

Bonus Fun Fact:
Dinosaur Comics were used by an English teacher in Japan as part of his lesson plan. Japanese school kids filled in their own strips. The surreal results seen HERE do very little to disprove stereotypes that the Japanese are weird and obsessed with Godzilla.

#7. Penny Arcade, by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik


www.penny-arcade.com

The Gist:
It's the reigning king of all webcomics and failing to include it on this list would get us beaten to death by fanboys wielding cardboard tubes and clad in Fruit Fucker 2000 T-shirts.

Kinda Like:
An ocean of other webcomics where 20-something roommates discuss video games and make obscure references to internet culture. Was Penny Arcade the first? It's arguable. Is it the highest quality and most loved of them all? Hell, yes.

Words and Pictures:
Krahulik's slick artwork is almost always desktop-worthy, and Holkins' overly verbose writing style contrasts quite well with guys playing Xbox and talking about hammering nails into their dicks. Aside from spawning a huge cast of characters and an equally large legion of fans, Penny Arcade has also provided a working business model for webcomics creators. Unfortunately, since the odds of someone making a living off of an Internet comic are a million to one, the false promise of financial security will almost certainly lead to a huge wave of shattered, despondent goth/indie webcomics. And, no one wants that.

Bonus Fun Fact:
Ever responsible and ambitious, Krahulik and Holkins have leveraged Penny Arcade into Child's Play, a large children's charity whose donors are almost all gamers, a video game starring their comic counterparts and the Penny Arcade Expo an annual gaming convention that doubles as a cure for erectile dysfunction among fanboys.

#6. White Ninja, by Scott Bevan and Kent Earle


www.whiteninjacomics.com

The Gist:
The eponymous character, apparently both mildly retarded and impervious to pain, interacts with badgers, rocks and other things that function on an intellectual level similar to his own.

Kinda Like:
If the wide-eyed innocence of SpongeBob SquarePants caused him to constantly and obliviously kill small animals, horribly maim himself or defile sacred objects.

Words and Pictures:
White Ninja both reads and looks as if it were created by an 8-year-old boy during snack time at recess. Usually that would be an insult, but the strip's success is partly based on its ability to force you into its world, rather than the other way around. You may have to scan through a few strips, but after a short while, the purposely stilted lines and fingerless hands all become part of the magic.

Bonus Fun Fact:
White Ninja creators Scott Bevan and Kent Earle were at Comic-Con a couple of years ago, giving out books of White Ninja comics. An older gentleman walked up, said he was a big fan and asked if they would sign one of their books for him. It was Matt Groening.

#5. Overcompensating, by Jeffrey Rowland


www.overcompensating.com

The Gist:
One of the only diary comics worth reading, primarily because it' a bunch of made-up stuff about robotic elves and undead cats instead of unflattering caricatures of people who cut the author off in line at Vons.

Kinda Like:
If Doonesbury were written by a cynical, rambling hippy. OK, if it were written by a different cynical, rambling hippy.

Words and Pictures:
Rowland bills Overcompensating as a diary comic, so expect a fair amount of absurdly self-referential diatribes and random humor. If you can't take sarcastic endorsements of the Bush administration, you're in the wrong place. The simple squiggles and low-res photographic backgrounds don't make Overcompensating a Calvin and Hobbes by any stretch of the imagination, but at least he colors the damn thing. As for the dialogue, it tends to be ranting and written in dialect, which is probably fitting for characters with names like Weedmaster P and Baby.

Bonus Fun Fact:
Rowland also writes and draws Wigu, a fully continuous action/humor comic that is much more ambitious and coherent than Overcompensating, although not nearly as funny.

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