Comics that remind me of a certain someone

One art form that seems specifically designed for the world wide web is the comic strip. A daily three-panel strip at a legible resolution fits neatly on a page, and even a Sunday special rarely requires a scroll bar.

More importantly, the web permits an artist a degree of editorial freedom that can never be had from formal syndication. It also has a potentially world-wide audience, and with a loyal, multi-lingual fan base can even end up translated into multiple languages. This might be the earliest media product to demonstrate that self-publication is practical and that the old distribution channels may not keep their monopolies forever.

Independent music is following a similar path, podcasting has already had a visible effect on radio (although in that medium it seems like the old distributors are embracing the new channel from the outset), blogging has visibly impacted the traditional print media, and there have lately been several attempts at film and video production targeted specifically at online delivery.

Here are a few comic strips I've noticed, some of which have characters and settings that strongly remind me of people I know.

Specifically who these remind me of is left as an exercise for the reader...

Girl Genius

Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!


A steampunk manga written Phil and Kaja Foglio and drawn by Phil Foglio. You might recognize Phil as the artist behind the covers for the first editions of all of the Myth Adventures books. Many of the pages are full of background details and inside jokes that probably are best appreciated in the print editions. Six volumes are available as graphic novels, and volume seven is currently in progress.


The dreams that we have had
Are gonna prove that we're all mad
And that's okay


The story of Narbonic Labs by Shaenon K. Garrity ran from mid 2000 through the end of 2006. It is formatted as a three to five panel daily strip, and Sunday specials.

It is presently being rerun as a Director's Cut with commentary from the artist about each strip, and a weekly podcast. The entire run is also available without the commentary, and four print volumes were issued.

User Friendly

Impairing productivity since 1997.

"Tech support, ghost in the machine speaking."


An inside view into the workings of a (fictional) small ISP called Columbia Internet. It is written and drawn by J.D. "Illiad" Frazer, and much beloved by working geeks. It is notable for its long run, with new strips appearing seven days a week (at midnight, Pacific time since Columbia Internet is located in Vancouver, B.C.).


A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.


Stick figures and geek humor written and drawn by Randall Munroe. It starts with scans of art drawn when he was supposed to be taking notes in classes, much of that early art is reminiscent of Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry and Le Petit Prince. Most of the later art is in a minimalist stick-figure form which allows the absurdity to shine without distraction.

From the site: "Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)."