I dig free things. I dig comics. When I find free comics, I dig like I’m headed for China.
But, and here’s the rub, I find that people talk about all comics upon release and then kind of never again. Whether it’s amazing, woeful, high end format, or free, everything lasts for about 7 minutes and then gets washed away in a sea of tweets and likes. And I guess this is the way of the world but we live in, a time where some of my favourite new creators are making names for themselves and rightfully getting paid for it so I thought I’d point my wayback spotlight on some of their old, free, amazing work. Here are just some samples of free online comics that will blow your hair back. I think you’ll get out your shovel and start to dig with each link clicked. Enjoy.
Yep, I still hate Ryan Ferrier. Digging through his free four colours and I realise how goddamn good he is. Some of these are some of my favourite things ever.
SOUTHPAW – goddamn this is a good boxing noir tale. And I’m writing my own right now and I know I’ll always run second to this (second if I’m lucky). Bah. Plus, y’know, Kevin Zeigler and Neil Lalonde make one hell of an art team. I had the privilege to read the script for this before it was made and I instantly knew it was gold. The completed story only further went on to crush my soul.
GODDESS - this short is stellar and should not be missed. Ferrier and Hugo Petrus craft this weird eco-battle-hymn that’s disastrously operatic and feels like when you first read Swamp Thing by Moore/Totleben/Bissette.
TEAM GOLD FORCE 4 - so silly and yet so well crafted. There is literally no reason why a Golden Girls prequel fanfic comic should be this enjoyable but Ferrier and Felipe Torrent smash this.
CLOCKWORK – a masterclass of 5 page shorts, and how to break into the game. Start small, write tight narratives to prove you can close. Enlist artists who can fit 5 pages into their schedule. Package it all together, hand out, but also make available online for free. The name of the game is exposure and profits aren’t in the vocab yet. Paul did great work here on many of these shorts, so click the link, incept yourself, and getting writing.
Louie has been my co-pilot on a few shorts, most notably THE MANY HAROLD HOLTS OF SPACE AND TIME, and he’s got his own spectacularly innovative and beautiful online comics floating around. Scope this stuff and spread it around, then get lost down the sketch dump that is his site: Louie’s site.
A LIFE IN THE CITY - holy cats, this thing is so damn fine. A side scroller, you really need to see it to believe it.
THE CORNER STORE - another side scroller and by now, you’ll all believe Louie is the second coming. Hint: he’s better than that.
My HEADSPACE spirit guide and life partner has a slew of pages available online for free and they are all gorgeous. Get in now so you can say you knew him way back when.
THE GHOST ENGINE – I love this complete graphic novel from Zawadzki and Dany Djeljosevic. It’s well written, looks top notch, and it’s a complete story. I hope they kickstart a collection one day because I want it for my shelf.
THE HARVEST – This is a short with Ed Brisson on the Challenger Comics site. It looks all funky and will make your skin crawl.
A trusted friend, my editor on HEADSPACE (and other things), and a writer I admire. Dan understands story, and process, and the fact we all need to keep learning. He’s a zen master of process fu. He’s also a superb guy.
COME WITH ME – this tale is nuts, just like the creative team. Invest in the fractured narrative, enjoy the flow, figure it all out as it happens.
FLESH AND BLOOD – this grimy Viking tale is just fantastic. Ripe with tone and nasty intent, you’ll dig this slice of black heart on display.
Some days I wake up wondering why I don’t have more Rob Harrington books in my life. The man writes a hell of a page.
CLOWN FIGHT – this story is just about perfection. Deliciously funny, twisted, awesome, and so well paced. You need to read this.
RAINBOWBEARD – this short on the Challenger Comics site is well put together and thought out. Download the PDF now.
Yep, dollah sign Briss makes the list. Before tearing up Image books, Marvel crossovers, and every franchise taken from tv, Ed was pumping out his own product and quietly proving himself a master of the form. His Murder Books are the template for how many are doing the game of breaking in. Ed never asked permission, he just made his own damn comics and what crime masterpieces they are. Ed sold them at cons, kickstarted their asses (because IndieGogo’ed ‘em doesn’t sound as boss), and he was also wise enough to put them all up online for free because he too knew the power of having work available for hungry peepers. Give ‘em a taste now for free and they’re hooked for life later on.
MURDER BOOK – every single one of these chilling stories will stick with you. Also, look at those artist names and tell me they aren’t all now titans in the field. Ed knows how to spot talent. Start with this link, the first tale, and then follow the rabbit hole down with the rest of the stories. You will not regret this.
Nic J. Shaw
ACTION JOHNSON – Nic’s another guy doing it smart. He’s a letterer, so he’s meeting loads of rad artists, and he’s writing some very cool stuff on the side. This whole Action Johnson character/schtick pleases me, and the artists he’s bringing on for these affordable and sensible 5 pagers are amazing. Stay tuned for more because it’s most certainly coming.
FORBIDDEN LOVE – dear lord, Arytom Trakhanov’s art is drop dead stunning. This short packs a short punch and is well paced out using panels and colours and gutters superbly well - click through for making the beast with two backs and two spurs, Western style.
THE DARING ADVENTURES OF ANDROID JONES – another fun ongoing character, a pulp sci fi adventurer, with Ryan Cody art. Dig. And dig some more.
Ryan K Lindsay
Yep, I even get in on the action. And I’m proud of this story.
SURVIVOR – a terrible sci fi tale that’s actually about fatherhood…which you probably saw coming.
CAPTAIN HUMAN THE ROBOT – ALL AGES EDIT / AFTER HOURS EDIT – this whacked out jam comic i did with Jin Chan Yum Wai is some of the only comedic stuff I’ve ever done and I’m happy with both versions of this tale where the art is exactly the same but I wrote two completely different scripts over it. Hopefully, if things align, there will be more of this one day.
So these are just some online free comics you can get your peepers into. I will admit, I haven’t scoured the entire internet for every single one, I’ve mostly included mates, and things I knew about already and had at hand. I am also running little sleep, swamped at the day job, so please don’t be offended if I’ve missed YOUR free shorts :)
If you know where any more free online funnies reside, drop them in the comments below, and share everything you like, and tell the creators, they’ll love you for it. Then go buy work by these creators if you dug their free stuff, because we’re all making other things and working hard to shake our four colour money maker for your pleasure.