- Slash AFK
Slash AFK is about Pocket and her partner, Boom, and their adventures as druids in WoW. "Aside from hardcore gaming and e-talk, they enjoy being just crazy goofy" - and it shows!
Creator and artist "Pocket" or m.neils is "actually a real life nerd and gamer ... taking the internet to the RL." She enjoys "doing comic shorts and charcoal/ballpoint pen gallery work." Currently, she's "working on a print comic memoir - publishing in the year 20??" She has also put out comics such as Chat Rouge and Insanity for the Poor, although they're retired now.
The comic is inspired by her relationship with Boom, her husband, whom she met in Westfall. "Aside from having a black belt in awesome, she is a devoted writer and artist. She has been working on Pocket Kitten Comics since 2004."
The comic is Alliance-based, although it will strike a chord with druids and those who love them, regardless of faction.
Published in black, white, and a light blue, the art style reflects the casual, quirky, crazy, and all around lovable vibe of the comic.
Slash AFK comprises 100+ entries and continues to grow. Words of wisdom: "Keep Frosty."
Slash AFK updates (most) Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
- NPC, or Non-Player Character
"NPC Comic is a real life WoW-player sitcom, heartily supplemented with feline antics," says Mary Varn, artist and creator of Non-Player-Character, more commonly known as NPC. In fact, those felines play WoW - in some cases, better than Lisa (the main character and cat owner) does!
NPC will appeal to most "gamer geeks of the MMO/RPG/WoW persuasion," says Mary. "Bonus points if you're a girl or a cat lover. DOUBLE bonus points if you're a gnome rogue." While Lisa plays Alliance, the comic rarely mentions faction, making it accessible and relatable to readers of either allegiance.
A humor strip, NPC is published in full color and features frequent storylines. The art style is "influenced by modern animation and comics," and has been "evolving rapidly." Growing up, she was inspired by Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County. NPC is her first comic, and has been very well received. Launched in February 2009 as a weekly strip, she soon increased updates to three times a week.
A freelance animator in NYC, Varn's hobby short-list includes "playing World of Warcraft, creating NPC Comic, and keeping her two cats from eating her apartment."
NPC publishes Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
- Torment of the Week
Torment of the Week chronicles the misadventures of three friends: Azarizotza, Xandaria, and Solstia, and is drawn freehand each week by Alex Nunez, aka Azarizotza. "I'm probably the furthest thing from an artist there is," says Nunez. "I studied Mathematics in college."
Nunez explains that the comic is based highly "off of real in-game events," and explains that the three friends had such great times playing together that they pressured Nunez to start a comic. "I hadn't drawn anything since kindergarten," Nunez admits.
When asked about influences and inspiration, Nunez claims to be "heavily influenced by WoW, eh? and WoW.com's own Kelly Aarons, among other artists." Nunez also surfs Blizzard's comic contest gallery on a regular basis, and feels "humbled most of the time."
Nunez describes the comic as having "a very light, comedic feel" but drew the banner to reflect a personal philosophy. "I feel that most of the experiences that make the World of Warcraft such a great/funny/entertaining place are not part of the world itself," says Nunez. Rather, it is "the people you share the experience with."
"It is just a game until we make it something more with the communities we create. If you see it that way, there's still always something left to explore, though it may fall far from grace."
Torment of the Week updates on Tuesdays, "to coincide with what some might consider the real torment of the week: maintenance," explains Nunez.
- Daily Quests
Daily Quests is a Horde-based comic about the hilarious (mis)adventures of Fyreuni and Vas, the in-game characters of the artist and writer, respectively. The themes almost always relate to their progression through WoW daily quests - hence the name!
The strips are highly relatable; you feel like it's exactly the type of shenanigans you and your friends get into all the time. Yet it never crosses into "that joke is so overdone" territory which plagues plenty of amateur strips found online. "All the trouble I get into in the comic is generally trouble I've actually gotten into," remarks Vas. "Our one-liner is 'Doing Quests. Every Day.' But it's quickly becoming, 'Now Vas, what did you learn?'"
Best friends, the two have been playing together for five years and counting. "Fyreuni's the kind of person who is definitely running the show," according the character bio on the website, "but still hates doing things on her own." Although she started out as a Holy Priest, she has since switched to Shadow; "now SHE gets to yell at the healers for not doing their jobs!"
Kelly Meeks, the person behind Fyreuni, is a professional animator living in Calgary, Alberta. "I never really started to take in interest in drawing until about grade 11," she says, which is a sharp contrast to many artists who claim to have been holding art materials as far back as memory serves. "Eventually I got good enough to convince myself I could actually make a career out of it," says Kelly, which was obviously a smart move; Daily Quests has some of the best artwork in the WoW web comic niche. She has been in the industry for around five years, and has even taught animation overseas. "The best feeling in the world is getting up and knowing all you have to do for work today is draw!"
Vas, writer Andrew Manser's character, is described as the type that "gets bored easily." Manser explains that "when he gets bored, he gets sidetracked, and when he gets sidetracked, he just does things," and although they're not always intelligent or productive, they're always fun - for him, anyway. "For the most part, he's a big kid with a short attention span," says Manser. "He lives in a world where that can get him into, and out of, a whole lot of trouble."
"I learned long before the release of even Warcraft III that my love for this universe and these stories extends far beyond my hard drive," admits Manser. A self-described "avid collector" of all things Blizzard and Warcraft-related, Manser spends a lot of his downtime writing short stories set both in and outside of the WoW universe. Daily Quests is just one more "story" he gets to tell about his in-game experiences. According to his bio, he takes his inspiration from his best friend, Fyreuni.
Daily Quests updates on Fridays. Lore posts appear on Mondays, and blog entries are put up at random intervals.
- Coffin Comics
Coffin Comics was a humorous hit with WoW.com readers as soon as it debuted on Sunday Morning Funnies; its art style is "cartoonish" but twisted and distinctive, done in "rich saturated colors and happy trees," says its author and artist Shawn Tommelleo. The comic is often presented in "either a single large panel or is accompanied by 4-8 smaller panels," Tommelleo says, pointing to the extra large panel as a defining characteristic of the comic's art style. Others would undoubtedly point to the unique look and feel of the characters, which give them life and personality while enhancing the humorous atmosphere.
The comic follows Coffinshaker and his friends, and Tommelleo intends it to be "light-hearted and fun." Aimed at WoW-playing adults, Shawn nonetheless keeps things "PG13 for the kids."
"I incorporate a lot of pop culture and current events," he adds. There are also "minis" that, while still related to "WoWland," are shorter and allow Tommelleo to include major current events such as the recent Gulf oil spill.
The comic can be traced back to a one-off that he made for the WoW website monthly contests. Several years later, he began creating them just for his guild. "I did one every week," Shawn says. "A few weeks later I figured, 'what the heck, why not make a website?'"
A graphic artist by trade, Tommelleo boasts a degree in photography and in marketing. He has worked as a wedding photographer, portrait studio photographer, and as creative director for a fragrance company. "I've been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon," says Shawn, "and [I] never looked back." A self-described "Jack-of-all-trades" when it comes to art, he loves to draw, sculpt, and paint, in addition to his photography and digital art. "I'm on DeviantArt more than I care to admit," Shawn says, "but I really like looking at all the wonderful work people produce."
Words of wisdom: "Never settle for just knowing what you know now ... actively search for new things to learn! ... I constantly look for new ways of doing things ... so much info is out there! Go find it!"
Coffin Comics is Horde-based and updates Fridays. The minis update on Mondays.
- World of Warcraft, eh?
World of Warcraft, eh? began in October 2008. This World of Warcraft-based comic is drawn and written by WoW.com's own Kelly Aarons, and according to her, "is known for being steeped in Canadian humor."
"The comic follows the tales, exploits and everything else of Cadistra, the Tauren druid, and Kissless the paladin," says Aarons, who describes the comic as a "PG-13 sort of thing." Cadistra is often touted as one of the sexiest representations of a Tauren female, although it is not overt. "Cadistra is a quietly protective and passionate mother-hen sort of a woman," says Aarons, "who constantly keeps an eye out for her wild and shameless companion." This, of course, refers to Kissless.
The red-headed blood elf with a tendency to lapse into speaking like a Valley Girl, she "seems kind of daft," according to Aarons, "but underneath the ditzy facade lies a devoted servant of the Light." Aarons admits to being Horde biased, but maintains that she has "nothing against the Alliance. Honest!"
She takes her inspiration from web comics in general, but reveals that she has been reading Penny Arcade and VG Cats for years. More recently, she has taken to reading such comics as Girly, Dr. McNinja, Gunnerkrig Court, and Dumm Comics. She also derives inspiration for her stories from "indie comics and manga."
Aarons lives on the serene west coast of Canada. "I admit I'm not the strongest writer," she says, so she "usually pairs up with 'IRL Kissless' for story direction." Kelly enjoys "drawing comics until her arm falls off, gaming, cycling, hiking, chillin' out, and talking in third person," she adds.
On WoW.com, Aarons is the artist and author of Byron, the Tauren Rogue. WoW, eh? updates Sunday nights or Monday mornings.
- Tales from the Crossroads
"Tales from the Crossroads began solely as a one-shot machinima piece," says Tokkar, creator and artist. It was a hit, and the audience wanted more. Unfortunately, due to his schedule demands, frequent videos weren't going to be feasible. He thought about turning it into a web comic. "I toyed with the idea for awhile," he says. "[I] bounced some dialogue and name choices off my girlfriend and in no time at all, Tales was born."
Of course, it wasn't quite that simple. He had to go back to the video in order to recreate two of the characters, whose equipment files had gone missing from his hard drive. He played with various styles, drew up character descriptions, and wrote out his first story arc before he really started publishing."
"The biggest challenge, really, is lighting and shadows," according to Tokkar. "All of the characters are first posed using WoW Model Viewer, then placed in layers over background images that I capture either in-game or using the WoW Map Viewer utility." He then begins to tweak the lighting and shadows, and add effects to the fore-, mid-, and background. He estimates that an average panel takes about one hour to complete. While some take less, others have taken up to three hours.
As inspiration, Tokkar cites Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth. "I started having the little 'seed' of my comic sprout while reading this," says Tokkar. But "the humor style is my own brand of quirkiness." He targets "anyone who likes to laugh," pointing out that the reader doesn't have to be a WoW player to get most of the jokes. His comic also includes characters from both factions.
Tokkar has been "messing around with art in one media or another ever since [he] was old enough to hold one of those big, bulky, toddler-proof crayons." He has dabbled in drawing, sculpting, culinary artistry, musical composition and performance, photography, videography, painting, and most recently, digital media. "I just love art for art's sake!" says Tokkar. "Now, if I can only find someone who will give me a monthly stipend ..."
Where does he see Tales going in the future? "Who knows," muses Tokkar, "but I do know that I have no intention of stopping any time soon. I'm still trying new things as I go on."
Parting words: "It's kinda like ... gnoll spittle. Fairly useless on its own but you can still get some coin from the vendor for it! Wait, that doesn't make any sense - and that's exactly the point!"
Tales updates on Fridays, with the occasional bonus comic on Wednesdays.
- Beyond the Tree
Beyond the Tree's art style is highly praised, even though it makes heavy use of in-game art resources. Why? Nhani, the writer and artist, visually builds on these resources, tweaking the character models to "improve their ability of expression and to make them more visually distinct."
The effect is undeniably compelling. It's the world of Azeroth that we all know and love but, well, better. The characters exhibit more complex emotions through facial expressions and body language, allowing Nhani to realize her artistic vision, which is "to portray the Warcraft world as a real, inhabited place as opposed to a game space."
"The narrative is highly character driven," she says. The pace can also be slow, and Nhani admits that the comic "doesn't work for everyone." But it is not slow by accident; as the characters journey across the continents, the comic, rather than skipping the travel, will often showcase it, including scenes of the landscape, as well as the camps and inns where they rest. Not only does this give the impression that physical space is being traversed, it also gives the impression of time passing. The characters have real inner lives, and dialogue is often left unspoken. The comic "requires becoming engaged in, and investing time in, understanding the characters," explains Nhani. "People who aren't interested in that type of narrative ... will likely not find it all that interesting."
When asked about the origins of Beyond the Tree, Nhani says that it "came to exist almost by accident - I had figured out how to get models out of World of Warcraft for the purpose of doing renders of my characters, and was fishing for ideas as to what to do [with them]." She designed a visual of a character holding up another, significantly shrunken, character, "as just this odd visual gag." Then she thought, "you know - I could probably make a web comic out of this."
Originally, the characters were caricatures of her own, and her friends', in-game characters, and began to grow from there. "It pretty much took on a life of its own," remarks Nhani. As for the art style, Nhani expressed that it is "difficult to speak of artistic inspiration" given that the comic is based on WoW's artwork, but she acknowledges Legacy of Kain: Defiance as her "main inspiration for how to extend the facial expressions."
She reiterates that she does not own the setting, art resources, or registered trademarks; they remain the property of Blizzard Entertainment. Still, she says, "I hope they'll have a sense of humor and appreciate it all the same."
Beyond the Tree updates Thursday and Sunday evenings. The characters are members of the Alliance.
- Away from Reality
"AFR looks at the crazy side of life in a world where everything from boars to bunnies seems to be out to get you," says Erik Jensen, artist and creator.
The Alliance-based comic follows the adventures of five characters: Gord the warrior, Alaxia the druid, Hurgon the priest, Morgatha the warlock, and Targe the hunter. Together, they bravely face the perils of Azeroth, from "gold spammers and nerd rage" to "laggy connections and snarky orcs."
"The comic has been following the main characters in their progress from early levels," says Jensen. Over time, "they have puzzled over looting so much cloth in Deadmines, gotten moody and depressed in Duskwood, been pounced on by Stranglethorn tigers, and celebrated the excitement of getting their first mounts."
Jensen is an academic and a casual WoW player. He makes AFR using "the 3D graphics tools Poser and Bryce." The result is a world and its inhabitants that, in its resemblance to, and deviation from, the World of Warcraft, in many ways parody it. The occasionally stiff poses, quirky facial expressions, and offbeat clothing combine to add a subtle layer of hilarity to the humorous and sometimes dramatic dialogue.
"Some may say the game begins at 80," Jensen remarks, "but we all had those moments along the way that made us laugh."
AFR updates Saturdays.
- The Warcraft Hero
"The Warcraft Hero is about the humorous wandering of Wilhelm - a Human Life Knight and the self-proclaimed greatest hero in Azeroth - and his young Squire, Squi," according to Mike Minotti, the man behind the comic.
The minimalistic style draws focus to the jokes and is reminiscent of a newspaper strip. The simple, bright color palette and bold, rounded lines reinforce the cheery, spontaneous nature of the dialogue, and the whole effect has a pleasant silliness to it. "I write my comics for a wide audience, hoping to please both casual and hardcore Warcraft fans," says Minotti. Although the comic is vaguely Alliance-based, the art style gives it a feel of faction neutrality and broad appeal.
The Warcraft Hero updates on Wednesdays on Bitmob.
- Fourth Wall
Fourth Wall is the latest comic to grace the Sunday Morning Funnies list, and it's here to stay. "The web comic is a collaborative effort by the artist-writer duo of Aymee and Mitsune," writes Kristoffer Grodahl, writer. "We try to deliver funnies without killing each other in the process, and we nearly always succeed." In fact, this particular brand of playful tension has been a recurring theme in the comic to date, and sets it apart from the other WoW web comics we feature.
Over the years, Sunday Morning Funnies has featured start-up comics that have grown to become some of the best and most favored WoW comics out there. Although we can't take credit for it, as SMF regulars have discovered, one of the biggest benefits of reading them each week is the chance to watch as a comic and its artist(s) and writer(s) develop over time. Each week, readers are able to follow the evolution of characters and an art style; Fourth Wall will be no exception.
"Whilst relatively young, as we started in mid June, we are picking up speed and continually working on our concept," adds Grodahl. "Please pop by and give us a try!" Really, you should all pop by every week - you might be surprised how quickly a comic will grow and change.
Fourth Wall updates on Wednesdays with various game-related comics and Sundays with WoW-related comics. If you're in North America, read that as Tuesdays and Saturdays!
- Out of World
Out of World is another comic that is new to the Sunday Morning Funnies list, and has been an immediate hit with readers. The comic is co-created by three friends in the UK: Amoeba and Axolotl, who have been friends since high school, and Timerzero, who has been with Axolotl for "a very, very long time." Timerzero handles the writing, and is affectionately described as their "idea factory." Amoeba is the webmistress and she also handles the typography and the foreground coloring. Axolotl does panel layout, the drawing, background colors, and inks.
Out of World often features over-arching plots, but most of their comics can be read without knowing any context, allowing them to appeal to a broad reader base.
Motto: "Read us, we beg you!"
Out of World updates once a week. It is not strictly factionist, although it leans towards the Alliance. In general, it is safe for work, although the females are somewhat well endowed. If cleavage-bearing tops sound too inappropriate for your workspace, just read it at home!
- Dark Legacy Comics
No, Dark Legacy Comics is not about pirates (unless it's Pirate Day, of course!). It is a humorous comic that occasionally features running plots, although most of the comics can be read without prior knowledge of them. The characters are quirky, a bit dim, and each has his or her own hobbies and interests. For example, Gigz is a great, if somewhat questionable, chef, while Keydar loves Marmalade. Other characters include Miji, Donald, Narya and Nyte, although there are a host of recurring characters as well, including NPCs.
DLC is Alliance-based, although it is so good at context-free humor that it is enjoyed by both factions alike. It is occasionally criticized for plots that drag on too long, but many people can quote their favorite comic on cue. It updates Sundays.
- Teh Gladiators
"Teh Gladiators is a labor of love, more than anything else," says the comic's About page. Written by Uros Jojic, the art is done by Borislav Grabovic. They are "two Serbian guys." What began as a comic about arena fighting has branched out "into a more free-flowing story about the adventures of three principal characters." These include Gorrok, the aging warrior, Spin the Tauren, and Vallant, the "fabled hunter."
The comic often features a series of small panels, and the artwork tends to be smaller than average. A comedy, Teh Gladiators focuses on facial expressions, character movement, and well-timed interjections to offset the serious progression through the plotlines.
Teh Gladiators is EU based, and updates on Sundays (Saturdays for us NA folks!) with two panels, so be sure to always check both.
- Looking For Group
Looking for Group, or LFG, is inspired by MMOs, RPGs, video games in general, and World of Warcraft, but it doesn't technically correspond to any one game. Written by Sohmer and drawn by Lar, the comic features some pretty memorable characters. Richard, pictured above, is not only a crowd favorite, he is one of the comic's main entry points for readers who do not normally gravitate toward a comic heavy on lore, back stories, and ongoing plots.
Cale, the blonde elf, is in many ways the hero of the comic, and the leader of the group of characters. While Richard brings a strong comedic element, Cale is much more serious, romantic, and rooted in lore and drama. A mix of Alliance and Horde, LFG holds wide appeal; it updates twice a week.
- Complex Actions
According to Talthos, Complex Actions "was originally conceived ... as a place to collect his writings, poetry, and musings in one place for people to read, enjoy, and share." Unfortunately, due to a busy schedule, it "sat dormant for some time."
In 2008, writer Talthos teamed up with Silkspinner, an accomplished artist who "quickly became a fan of Talthos' writing style." By 2009, they had decided to start a web comic together. Complex Actions "satirizes, parodies, and pokes fun at MMORPGs, console gaming, table-top roleplaying, strategy gaming, board and card gaming, as well as books and movies," writes Talthos. To sum it up, it is "a satirical comic for gaming of all types."
Recently, Talthos announced that he, with much regret, will be leaving Complex Actions; Silkspinner will continue with the comic and take over the writing. You can expect to see Talthos make a guest appearance here and there, so keep an eye out!
This Alliance-based comic - when it is posting about WoW, that is - updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Most weeks feature at least one WoW-related comic, and many of the others can be enjoyed by any gamer.