Independent webcomics are, generally speaking, a lot more interesting than the comics you can read in the newspaper – they have the space and the freedom to experiment artistically and tackle controversial or niche subjects, and women aren't as underrepresented. Here are just four current comics written and drawn by women that are worth checking out. Got one you love that you want other readers to know about? Leave it in the comments section!
Octopus Pie (Meredith Gran)
Cynical antihero Eve Ning and her happy-go-lucky roommate, Hanna Thompson, have adventures in Brooklyn and sometimes beyond. A well-developed group of characters helps make the absurd and visually inventive storylines (stoners vs. nerds laser tag battle, organic supermarket sweep, renaissance faire romance) seem bizarre but not entirely unrealistic. Also, Eve's ethnicity is not the focus of the strip! Woohoo!
Girls With Slingshots (Danielle Corsetto)
A group of metropolitan twentysomethings hang out in bars and cafes, trying to navigate sex, love, careers and everything in between. It's like Friends, but with a racially and sexually diverse cast of characters, realistic financial situations, talking cacti, Internet jokes, female masturbation jokes – oh, and it's actually funny. How funny, you ask? So funny that I read more than 800 strips, in, um, two days.
DAR (Erika Moen)
Autobiographical comic strips are hard to do right, but it helps when the autobiographer is unflinchingly honest, consistently funny and totally badass. The earlier DAR strips are more conceptual and artsy (and beautiful), then about midway through it becomes more straightforward autobiography tempered with poop jokes.
Hark! A Vagrant (Kate Beaton)
Canadian cartoonist Kate Beaton's brilliant webcomic (previously featured on our fall 2008 Bitch List) specializes in fictionalized or nonsensical tales of historical figures both famous and obscure. Occasionally these involve complex jokes requiring solid background knowledge of, say, the history of Newfoundland; also mixed in are autobiographical tales, tongue-in-cheek Darcy fanfics and crudely-drawn single-panel cartoons that are like Natalie Dee but way funnier. Where else can you find queens, kings, pirates, prime ministers, saucy mermaids, Shetland ponies, Pope Action Comics and a healthy dose of Mountie humor all in one place? Thanks, Internet (and Kate Beaton).