The Batman, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessand Thor: Love and Thunder are all among the ten highest-grossing movies of 2022, but comic book movies have been the biggest cinematic blockbusters for over a decade now. This popularity led to a resurgence of interest in comics.
For many fans looking to get into comics, however, it can be a daunting task, between decades of continuity and the expense of buying comics in the first place. Luckily, these websites give readers free access to classic and contemporary comics.
The easiest way to explain Webtoon website/app for non-users is that it’s like YouTube for comics. Although free for all users and allowing accounts to follow favorite creations, there is a paid tier, as well as ads on the free site. Some of that revenue is shared with creators, though like YouTube, it’s only lucrative for the most popular creators.
Probably the best-known independent webcomic on the site is Lore Olympus, which tells the myth of Persephone and Hades in a modern setting. Not only did it win an Eisner Award (a first for a webtoon work), but it also received a trade paperback version. The website’s massive user base means that the comics on offer are so diverse that every viewer can find something to enjoy.
Archives of our own
Also known as “AO3”, the Archive of Our Own website is a haven for fan-created works, offering not only a huge collection of fan-fiction, but also artwork and, most importantly, comics. AO3 is a place for those who wish to express their fandom in art.
star wars inspired some amazing fan art, for example, and one of a plethora of great star wars fan comics on the site is Our new hope, which imagines an alternate universe where Ahsoka Tano trains Luke Skywalker. But this is just one example; virtually every popular media franchise has fan comics on the site. For those who want a deep “What if…?” of their favorite universe, it’s a great step.
Almost all of the best Golden Age comic book debuts, like Batman, are still copyrighted. However, as comic books were a booming business at this time, hundreds of comic books were published between the 1930s and 1950s, many of which did not have their copyright renewed.
These can all be found on Comic Book Plus, a donor-supported website dedicated to preserving all comic books now out of copyright. Viewing the works on the website is free, but if a user has an account, they can download the scans in .cbz format. With over 40,000 books and high-quality images, Comic Book Plus offers the public domain work of trailblazers like Jack Kirby, Al Williamson, John Prentice and countless others.
A hosting website designed to help creators create a comic book hosting site easily and for free, ComicFury also catalogs webcomics created using its tools. It acts both as a cataloger for those looking for comics and as a handy resource for those looking to create their own portfolio outside of the major comics websites and maybe launch the next best comic series. independent at all times.
The nature of ComicFury as a host means that those who create under its umbrella generate all kinds of content for people to enjoy, of different styles and genres. On top of that, the general website hosts a forum for fan posts independent of the comics themselves, giving it a real 90s and 00s nostalgic feel missing from mainstream websites, where comments are streamlined. and related to content.
The Internet Archive is perhaps most widely known for its mission to provide archived versions of the Internet for the reference of all site visitors. However, it also aims to act as a digital library, and it is as part of this mission that its repository of comics and graphic novels exists.
Near the top of its nearly 90,000 results is a collection of Captain Marvel’s Early Adventures, which shares the name with the Marvel character but now goes Shazam under its DC stories to avoid trademark infringement. Like Comic Book Plus, the Internet Archive helps keep track of comic book history, and does so with its other purposes. It’s less comic book oriented than Comic Book Plus, but it has a larger collection.
DeviantArt doesn’t specialize in comics, but in art in general, whether it’s based on a pre-existing franchise or an original concept by the artist. While incredibly welcoming and intuitive for visitors, DeviantArt also acts as a kind of digital gallery for artists to show off their work.
The community design of the website is what makes it an ideal stopover for artists who want to not only publish their comics but also interact with fans and other creators. However, for anyone looking to find comics on the site in particular, the best place to start is the handy page dedicated to this topic. Fan works are more popular than originals on the main page, but not completely dominant on the site.
A newcomer to Webtoon and Archive of Our Own, Arkhaven has nearly 8 million views on the website since its launch, a respectable number that will no doubt continue to grow as long as the site remains active with compelling creators. .
View counts range from tens to thousands, depending on the comic, but lack of popularity isn’t always a marker of low quality. Like most other user/creator oriented comics websites, it’s built around engagement with the material. There are also preview images of each comic or comic book installment that give viewers a great insight into what the style, and often the tone, of the comic entails.
There’s a huge advantage for Epico when it comes to connecting creators with readers, and vice versa: Epico Comics is dedicated to helping creators make their comics available in many languages, which also means that they are instantly accessible to non-English speaking readers around the world. With more stories being available to more people, it’s always worth celebrating.
It’s also very welcoming to new users, allowing navigation between genres and other possible filters right on the homepage, making it easy for anyone to find a story that matches their interests. Epico currently has a dozen LGBTQ+ comics, but there’s always room for more if readers want to become artists themselves.
Digital Comics Museum
For 12 years now, Digital Comic Museum has provided access to public domain comics from the Golden Age, a mission that led Screen Rant to do a full write-up on the site in 2020. It’s very similar to Comic Book Plus, except a free account is required before access to the full books is granted, whereas on CBP viewing does not require an account.
The DCM archives are also kept by fans with access to the originals who can provide the scans to start with. For those interested in comic book history who want to go back, but can’t find a comic book on Comic Book Plus, DCM is a great secondary resource. It’s the privilege of seeing these historic pop culture docs, which is the real treat.
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