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Posted at 9:05 AM ET, 01/22/2010

THE BEST WEBCOMIC: It's time to vote on your nominations...

By Michael Cavna

[UPDATE: Check the latest Comic Riffs blogpost Friday at 9 a.m. (ET) as we discuss the major burning questions that arose from readers during this Best Webcomic poll.]


Your nominations are in, and what we have on our hands is a catch-22. That's because no matter which way we slice this list, we're still stuck with a whopping 22 webcomics that are vying mightily to be crowned Best Webcomic of the Past Decade.

So now, 'Riffs readers, it's time to do some serious slicing.

Last week, Comic Riffs put out the call by asking: What are your favorite webcomics of the past 10 years? Readers soon responded strongly and passionately (via comments and Facebook and Twitter), nominating hundreds of titles. (For the uninitiated and even for the true fan, it made for a healthy wealth of recommended reading.)

Many of the comics that made the cut were deadlocked -- and among some of the worthy titles that just missed the cut were: "Anders Loves Maria"; "Cat and Girl"; "Goats"; "GPF"; "Templar, Arizona"; and "Wondermark" (that excellent exercise in "illustrated jocularity" that had ties to the print world, too, appearing until a coupla years ago in The Onion.).

Now, we've got the Big Ballot -- and it's time to vote for your faves as we all narrow this down to a handful of finalists. Balloting will close midnight Wednesday. (And if not all these strips fit your definition of a "webcomic," feel free to sound off on that interminable kerfuffle, too -- some obviously have seen the light of print at times.)

So support your favorite webcomic below: It's fast, it's free -- and it helps drive more eyes to some of the best cartoonists working today.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: As long as we're talking online humor, we also recommend THIS VIDEO, which proves that long before Steve Jobs announced the iPad, the ol' sketch-comedy show "MADtv" beat Jobs to the punch-line with its parody commercial.



[Here are direct links to the 22 webcomics:
"Devil's Panties" ; "Devin Crane" ; "Eric Monster Millikin" ; "Girl Genius" ; "Girls With Slingshots" ; "Hark! A Vagrant" ; "Jesus and Mo" ; "Kevin and Kell" ; "Least I Could Do" ; "Navy Bean" ; "The New Adventures of Queen Victoria" ; "Order of the Stick" ; "Penny Arcade" ; "Perry Bible Fellowship" ; "Pibgorn" ; "PvP" ; "Questionable Content" ; "Red String" ; "Schlock Mercenary" ; "Sinfest" ; "UserFriendly.Org" ; "xkcd."]

(Note: Just because Comic Riffs is conducting this unscientific and nonbinding poll does not mean we or The Post automatically endorse or share the views of any of these webcomics. Consider this our official disclaimer, O barristers and the readily offended.)

By Michael Cavna  | January 22, 2010; 9:05 AM ET
Categories:  The E-Mailbag, The Webcomic  | Tags:  Best Webcomic of the Past Decade  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: As Conan walks, here's the proof: Leno is a back-stabber [updated]
Next: From Saints to would-be sinners: our Fave Five picks this minute...

Comments

I think xkcd is the best because of its innovation: roll-over text to provide a second punchline to each strip, online forums for fans to discuss the strip or whatever else, and perhaps most of all, the real world meet-ups between fans. I am simply unaware of a single comic EVER that has inspired so many Live Action events (comic BOOKS sure, but a daily or weekly strip? No way.) Personally, I prefer continuing storyline strips (Girls With Sling Shots, Questionable Content, Legend of Bill.) But xkcd uses the internet to actually transform the way readers experience the comic: it's not just a funny or edgy strip scanned and posted. xkcd has really created something different, which is why I rank it "The Best" of the past decade. (On a personal note: Michael, what are the chances of getting an interview with Randall? I have SUCH a nerd crush on him.)

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | January 22, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I am honored just to be nominated. Thanks, Michael.

You can see my work at http://bit.ly/7QpJiR

Posted by: devincrane | January 22, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Lots of great options there. I decided to vote for XKCD, I just love the simplicity of it. Also too bad Wondermark didn't make the list or I would have voted for it too.

My comic is too young to be considered but it's family friendly and I think you'll like it:
http://supersiblingscomics.com

Posted by: SuperSiblingsComics | January 22, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

8 hrs: 202 votes, waiting on the blitzkrieg.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | January 22, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Yep to blitzkreig. One or more of the more established Web comics will release their minions on the voting.

Posted by: greasypores | January 22, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Dang, sorry I missed the nomination period or I'd have put in "Gunnerkrigg Court," a beautifully done coming-of-age story in a setting that is still being revealed. Going back and reading from day one is highly recommended so that the whole story can be appreciated.

Posted by: AndrewfromNH | January 22, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

The introduction provided links to the comics that did NOT make it to the poll; it would have been helpful if the poll itself had included clickable links to the comics that were included.

Posted by: kilby | January 22, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the links. Helpful. There is a lot of great work and art. I checked out each and read mutliple comics.

In general the art is superior to the writing with a couple exceptions where the art seems intentionally bad but the writing is good (Navy Bean, Devin Crane Comicswriter) which also appear to me to be done by the same person.

With all due respect, the highest qualty web strip would land in about the 80% of print strips IMHO.

Off the top of my mind, Pearls Before Swine, Lio, Cul De Sac, Pooch Cafe, Get Fuzzy, Ink Pen, Tom the Dancing Bug, Bad Reporter, Tom Tomorrow, Dilbert would all be the class of this vote by light years.

Posted by: rimjo | January 23, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

And xkcd got my vote (the shining example of great writing and little artistic merit. Though I admit it's effective.

Posted by: rimjo | January 23, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I hope Bill Holbrook (the creator of Kevin and Kell) doesn't cheat like he did on the last online poll featuring his comic.

http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Kevin_and_kell

Posted by: imb706 | January 24, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

Being long form works, the comics should be italicized, not in quotes.

#chastisingnewspapers

Posted by: cyberskull | January 24, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I bookmarked all of the links (thanks, M.C.!) - I probably would have voted for Perry Bible Fellowship, except that it is more or less gone into retirement. It's technically not "dead", but I'm still not sure whether a static archive should qualify for a place on the ballot.

P.S. Making sure that italics show up in HTML form is non-trivial when links are involved. It requires precise control over the site's CSS styles, which M.C. may or may not have. In any case, using "quotes" is the accepted practice when italics are not available.

Posted by: kilby | January 24, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

How is Sluggy Freelance not mentioned on this list? One of the longest running webcomics on the web, as well as one with more character depth than I have seen in the vast majority of the print, web, comic, and television media.

I suppose this could stem from the fact that Pete (the author) has made a point of not mentioning these contests to Sluggites, and in the past he has even gone as far as to withdraw from competitions so as not to overload them. But that was five years ago, and this is for the best of the decade...I'm genuinely surprised. If you are a webcomic reader, and not familiar with Sluggy, do yourself a favor: take a few weeks to cruise through the archives of one the best sagas into which I have immersing myself (archives that begin in August of '97!).

Posted by: wade419 | January 25, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Once again people didn't play fair. The only way to actually get an idea of which comics really are the favorites is to check back multiple times. That way it is easy to see which numbers are out of whack. The leader by a vast % is "Schlock Mercenary". The leader of packing votes I should say. The comic had just a few votes at noon on Sunday, but shot up as Sunday progressed. In fact it is interesting that in two days, Friday and Saturday, there were just over 700 votes total. By today there are over 5500. The votes overwhelmingly went to just a few comics.

I would call "xkcd" the true winner. It looks as if people really like it and no one was monkeying with the votes.

Posted by: elyrest | January 25, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Does it really matter who "wins" this poll (or exercise in running vote-bots, if you prefer)? Will this site host permanent links to the "favorite" Web comics, for instance? It's not as if this poll would be used to decide whether to drop a strip from the print edition, so I really can't see why anyone would care very much who "wins". (Of course, they never listen to us when making those decisions about what strips to drop in print, anyway!)

Posted by: seismic-2 | January 25, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@seismic-2: Does it really matter who "wins"?

Of course not. The stakes, as it were, could not be much lower. But as anybody in academia can tell you, the lower the stakes the more intense the competition.

I'm pleased to be in such great company. Some of the artists and writers I most admire are listed here. But I'm not telling you who [coughfogliocough]...

Posted by: HowardTayler | January 25, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@elyrest: The spike in Schlock Mercenary votes corresponds, not surprisingly, with me linking this article from Twitter, and later from the Schlock blog. When tens of thousands of people follow a comic no "monkeying" with votes is required.

Which is why I expect to see any one of the vastly more popular strips (PvP, Penny Arcade, LICD, Girl Genius, XKCD) to leap to the fore the moment this article is linked from those sites. That's the nature of niche audiences. The Schlock Mercenary audience did not, at least until yesterday, include very many people who follow The Washington Post.

I should also point out that if the spike in voting was my work (from 1700 votes to almost 6,000) then I directed 4300 people here... and only a thousand of them (less than 25%) voted for me. Based on the comments I've seen on my own site, this is typical. There are great comics here, and even my hard-core fans are having a hard time making up their minds.

What they're ALSO doing is following the links to some of these other strips. It's fair to say, then, that me linking this article is good for everybody who is included in the list.

Posted by: HowardTayler | January 25, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Howard and thanks to Michael.

It really is rarified air to be included and my traffic numbers have definitely spiked the last few days because of it.

I don't care that I was tied for first place on Saturday and now not even close, it doesn't matter. We're all winners!

Posted by: devincrane | January 25, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The fact that an "Cat and Girl", one of the smartest comics in any medium, didn't make the list, but a comic completely without talent or humor like "User Friendly" did, suggests that this entire exercise is a huge waste of time.

It's like the author of this blog set out to prove that people on the internet are stupid. If that's the case, you did a really bang-up job.

Posted by: brokenlibrarian | January 25, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Jeph Jacques, author of QC is telling his readers to NOT vote. I agree. This is a stupid internet popularity contest that could only be useful for people who haven't read these comics.

Posted by: STELLABL89 | January 25, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

>> brokenlibrarian:

Two things re "Cat and Girl" et al.:

1) Like you, I count myself a big-time fan of the comic.

2) I should note: "Cat and Girl" missed the final cut by just a whisker -- which speaks to why I linked to all the webcomics that just missed the readers' nominations cut. I encourage readers to check out ALL these linked comics. To echo Howard's sentiment: My hope is to help spotlight all these webcomics -- from lesser-known features to such superstars as "GG" & "PvP" & "Penny Arcade" that have long been doing just [uber-]fine without my humble help, thankyouverymuch.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 25, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What a great way to save face.

"Hey, fanbase, don't vote for me." Then when you lose you can be all like "just like I wanted it."

Posted by: ArlingtonJoe | January 25, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

My two cents:

As a creator who for years had an online comic -- long before I was blogging about cartooning -- there was one dynamic I believed in, for better or ill: Reader free will.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 25, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

There are some great webcomics missing from this list... Abtruse Goose, Amazing Super Powers, Toothpaste For Dinner and my very favorite: http://www.murraythenut.com/

Posted by: cb810 | January 25, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

>> Thanks, cb810.

If anyone else has great webcomics to mention that readers did not nominate, then by all means: feel free to give 'em a shout-out here. 'Riffs is always on the lookout.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 25, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

I feel guilty having to have chosen between Questionable Content, Sinfest, and XKCD, all three for which I am a faithful reader (among others, even). I had to choose Questionable Content, though, because it was the first webcomic I stumbled upon. Jeph Jacques is a lovable writer and you can watch his artwork get better over time. If he weren't there, though, I would have had to choose XKCD for appealing to the intellectual in me.

Posted by: DominicJ2003 | January 26, 2010 5:06 AM | Report abuse

Actually LICD (Least I Could Do) would be a clear choice to me. Amidst so many "simple" webcomics, LICD chose to do a great artwork, with modern characters, professional drawing, flawless facial expressions, and much more! The "Beginnings" color scheme is notable, creating an awesome "crayon" style. Being an avid webcomic reader, my brothers often appear behind me on the computer, to read the strips with me. The first time one of my brothers saw me enjoying a LICD strip, he said "Oh, you found a modern webcomic?", and that led me to reflect on how simplicity is often the choice, leaving the hardwork and the details aside. With a daily update schedule, beautiful and colorful artwork, attention to detail in every aspect, and the occasional sidestory (featuring the main character as an infant, called "beginnings"), LICD is my choice, with no hesitation or second thought.
Thank you!
Lucas

Posted by: lucasbadur | January 26, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

@STELLABL89: So much as I love for questionable content and Jeph Jacques (I voted for him), if he said to NOT vote, that is totally hypocritical since back in the day where he wasn't doing a living of his work, he was asking for people to vote on some popularity board every month... now that he's on top, is he too good for it now?

Seriously though, people who complain about fairness in this poll... go on and make your own poll and try and report EVERY possible webcomic so that you are totally fair! Until then... don't complain.

Posted by: Guatemaphil | January 26, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Hark! A Vagrant is my favorite but it likely goes over the heads of 80% of people. The only other friends who appreciate it as much as I do have liberal arts degrees from St. John's.

There are quite a few good picks on here and a few mentioned as missing are good too but nothing tops Hark! A Vagrant for me.

OOTS is a favorite geek humor comic.

Posted by: flonzy3 | January 26, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Achewood not being on this list is a travesty.

Posted by: dcdoz | January 26, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Lots of self-indulgent shoe-gazing self-referential stuff on there.

But Penny Arcade should be winning hands down. It's a good comic and a great community.

For pure art, it's Perry Bible Fellowship, Order of the Stick and Least I Could Do.

For pure writing, it's xkcd, Perry Bible Fellowship, Navy Bean and Devin Crane, Comics Ghostwriter.

Overall vote: Perry Bible Fellowship.

Posted by: brussels1 | January 26, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah - How the HECK did you miss Achewood? It's well-known and has had tons of recognition in the past.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achewood#Critical_reaction

I actually came here via a link from the PA site thinking "Imma go vote for Achewood."

Now I'm not gonna vote at all because any poll that doesn't include this strip isn't worth considering.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achewood#Critical_reaction

Posted by: nategri | January 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

>> nategri:

I'm curious: Did you nominate "Achewood" earlier this month? Because I was genuinely surprised how few nominations it got. That said: If you read Comic Riffs, you'll at least be assured that we're "Achewood" fans, having spotlighted Chris Onstad's multiple-Ignatz winner within the first few months of this blog's existence.

Meantime, thanks for reading. We vow more "Achewood" coverage in the future.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 26, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

No Dinosaur Comics? This is an outrage! Voted for pbf though

Posted by: zebedee19 | January 26, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

and I forgot the link: http://www.qwantz.com/index.php

Posted by: zebedee19 | January 26, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I second @ nategri.

I also found out about this poll through Penny Arcade, but came here to vote for Achewood.

I cannot vote for any of these lesser strips, when Chris Onstad has given us the best web comic of ALL TIME EVER.

Posted by: romhunter | January 26, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I gotta say, I like the other ones fine, but nothing I've read comes close to Achewood.

Posted by: jeffrot | January 26, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Achewood easily has the best writing of any Webcomic I've read. Whatever it lacks in pretty drawings it makes up for in the clever layouts and ideas for strips you get, such as Roast Beef's zines and the decision-making charts of minor characters.

Posted by: greyberger | January 26, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

>> Note:

To those of you unfamiliar with the great "Achewood," here's the link:
http://www.achewood.com/

We also note: One of few readers to nominate "Achewood" during our weeklong Reader Nominations window -- "steph2010" --called it the "Best talking animal webcomic."

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 26, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I too came here from Penny Arcade, and I too thought as the website loaded that, while I love PA, I'd have to vote for Achewood. Really an oversight to not include Onstad's great comic.

Posted by: namini | January 26, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

No Achewood, no respectability.

Posted by: mattdurrant | January 26, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

>> mattdurrant & namini:

Did you nominate it? Without your nominations, no chance to include.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 26, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

wish Cyanide and Happiness was on here, but Penny Arcade is still the bust out there by a mile.

Posted by: thefoxtrot | January 26, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to say, but the best webcomic of the last decade is not on this list, and there are some very bad webcomics (re: PVP) on it.

The best webcomic is a gross, vile, obscene, taboo, disgusting masterpiece called Sexy Losers by a fellow who goes by the name of Hard. That, my friends, is the best webcomic EVER, let alone of the last decade. Sorry PA, I love you too, but Sexy Losers is (was? still is sort of?) better.

Posted by: sevenkeys | January 26, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Schlock Mercenary, but I would have liked to have seen Dr. McNinja and Something Positive as choices, too.

Posted by: jaid1 | January 26, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad polls like this aren't reliable, since it allows me to take some comfort that the internet is not a terrible place.

Still it's sad that the front runners of this poll are sexist self insertion drivel, and witty stick figures (nice use of the visual media of webcomics)

O well, it's the internet, guess I'll throw my vote to something that doesn't repulse me. Which narrows it down to about 4-5 choices.

Posted by: rhapsha | January 26, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

No Megatokyo? T_T

Posted by: ryven | January 26, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

For those not familiar with "MegaTokyo," here's a link: www.megatokyo.com/

And absolutely, "Cyanide and Happiness":
http://www.explosm.net/comics/1936/

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 26, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

140 thousand new votes in less than 24 hours... Methinks a PBF fan got overzealous.

Posted by: jwhouk | January 27, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

While it looks like someone gaming the poll (wow, that's a shocker). It warms my heart to see Hark a Vagrant beating LICD.

I'd vote for the stick figures over one mans self masturbatory dream world. Don't let me down in this completely inaccurate poll internet.

Posted by: rhapsha | January 27, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

>> jwhouk & rhapsha:

And to think: All "this" for the SEMIfinals. Will be mighty curious to see whether the individual surges in polling mirror the ones we've seen come the *finals.*

Meanwhile, Comic Riffs encourages readers to cite their favorite webcomics in the Comments field. Such passionate and informed comments will help inform this blog's future coverage -- from interviews to trends -- within webcomicking.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 27, 2010 5:07 AM | Report abuse

Penny-Arcade. There are many notable comics out there by artists that have literally gathered a gigantic cult following that far outpaces the size of many cults.

None, however, can claim what Penny-Arcade has: The Penny Arcade Expo, PAX, is attended by thousands and thousands of people every year - and not merely gamers, but industry bigwigs. Even more significantly is Penny Arcade's unbelievably successful yearly charity drive, Child's Play, which in the past year DESPITE a recession, raised over a million dollars in charity and merchandise. The number has grown every year, despite downturns in the economy, and despite it being primarily driven by the gaming community, a community that has often been looked down upon in media.

Posted by: MMorrison1 | January 27, 2010 5:13 AM | Report abuse

Had to be PA, really, for being something of a pioneer (at least in terms of popularising the medium) and all their good work, as well as being reasonably consistent with the funny - though you do have to have a bit of gaming experience and current knowledge to properly keep up.

The other front runners are also well worth a look in, mind, and a couple of them are on my weekly check list ;) and PBF was until it ended :(

Plus I thank you for introducing me to H!AV. Looks good.

However, no Freefall? (which has been running since before the start of time, but not quite before GG). No Real Life? No El Goonish Shive? No Paradigm Shift? No Red Meat? No dearly departed, now sort of resurrected Elf Life? (etc)
Oh dear oh dear, FAIL.

There's far too much good stuff out there, and with only 28 total entries & 21 finalists we are but scratching the surface. There's more syndicated strips than that if I'm not mistaken. How about a write-in poll for the voters' top five, next time? (When we're doing the top ones of the last 25 years, in 2020? There's some I've been following on and off since I first got online back in '96, and they already had archives) It's a bit more work, but would be totally worth it for the accuracy and the breadth of goodness we could bring to people's attention.

Posted by: tahrey | January 27, 2010 5:26 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, 29/22. Miscounted there. But still...

Posted by: tahrey | January 27, 2010 5:28 AM | Report abuse

>> tahrey:

You couldn't be more right about the breadth, and depth, of talent. Which is why, going forward, Comic Riffs will increase its linked "picks" that are webcomics.

As for a write-in poll in the future (as in "later this year" future): I am forwarding this pronto to the relevant Post powers-that-be. Would seriously love to do it...

--M.C.

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Posted by: wyiutetewryjuykilg | January 27, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I'd never heard of "Perry Bible Fellowship" before.

Following the link provided, I took a look. PBF's artwork isn't my cup of tea, although the humour isn't bad. Not great, not horrible.

I've read most of the comics listed and follow quite a few.

Good choices.

Posted by: rmlwj1 | January 27, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Ok, PBF is funny in a surreal way that other comics try to copy but don't quite get. BUT, and this is a big one, there is no way in hell they it deserves almost 50% of all the votes. Someone at this site needs to check the reports and see that there is obviously a script being run against this poll. For PBF with little or no publicity (none on their site) to take over 100,000 votes with 2nd place with less than half that. I call foul on this, and if I'm wrong I apologize to the Washington Post, but if I'm right it's a sure sign again that the print media have no idea how this whole interwebs thingy works.

Posted by: seraphmonkey | January 27, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

For me, this wasn't a fair competition. I'd never heard of any of these except Sluggy Freelance (which I loved) and xkcd. But there are others I do know of that weren't on the list. Argon Zark! for example. It's been around for, what, 5-7 years, it's beautifully drawn, full-color and technologically advanced with animations and rollovers. And very clever!

Posted by: psomerset | January 27, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Having read through the comments here I know that I will be beating a dead horse when I say that it is very surprising that Achewood is not on that list.

There are a few other truly great Webcomics that I can think of that are sorely missing from this list but Achewood is the only one with the kind of popularity, quality, and acclaim that makes it so surprising that it is missing.

Posted by: bengaska | January 27, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Achewood seems more of an essay, comic strips are first-and-foremost a visual medium. PBF has virtually no dialog and everything is replaced by imagery and it's humor is also fairly broad making it widely understandable. It's unfortunate that it hasn't been continued in a few years, but that should have little bearing on it being the "best webcomic". Every comic dies at some point.

Penny-Arcade is a great comic, but far from the best. It should be commended though for the community it's created, and indeed it has by their state legislature.

XKCD is also quite good, but very niche. Stick figures and comp-sci jokes only go so far. What's worse is claiming their alt-text caption is an "innovation" in comics.

Achewood I've rarely heard of until here but it's art level seems somewhere between XKCD and Dinosaur Comics. It may have good dialog, but again, comics are a visual medium.

I'm happy that Ctrl-Alt-Delete is nowhere here.

Posted by: calvin8 | January 27, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@calvin8

I'm curious, who else uses alt-text for punchlines? I know Wondermark does, but the other strips I follow use it to display the title of the strip, if at all.

Posted by: ishkabibbleA | January 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Dr. McNinja also uses alt-text for extra guffaws, and is my #2 behind Achewood, which I came here to vote for. The omission of both is frustrating.

Posted by: just1idiot | January 27, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Perry Bible Fellowship should not even be on this ballot. It's been defunct for at least a year now. True, the archives put it up amongst the best of all webcomics of all time, but currently it's not the best webcomic because it's not being made anymore.

Posted by: illuminatedwax | January 27, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I voted for PBF, as I have enjoyed it since its early days in The Daily Orange, the campus newspaper for Syracuse University, which is the author's alma mater. It is artistically powerful and wonderfully funny.

I'm a big fan of PA and XKCD as well, but I'm partial to PBF. Being the "best" webcomic in the decade does not mean it had to be running the entire decade, otherwise PBF wouldn't have been eligible in the first place. So to denounce it because it's not currently running is ridiculous.

Posted by: yelsraek | January 27, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Of the set listed I like Hark!, PBF and xkcd.

Brad Neely's Creased Comics (http://www.creasedcomics.com/archive.php?page=1) deserves mention among the very best.

This one is new to the scene but pretty good:

http://bentoutoftrue.com/36.html

Posted by: Hembo | January 27, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

There are more votes being cast here than in some major state elections.

Posted by: elyrest | January 27, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Coming back a day later, and I'm pleased with the results. While I had no real opinion on either PBF or PA, I think they are both decently crafted webcomics. So it's good to see them doing well.

It might be spiteful of me, but seeing certain webcomics %s drop as more votes are cast pleases me greatly.

Posted by: rhapsha | January 28, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

1) Some of don't read WaPo that often to know there are polls like this going on *to* nominate our favorites.

1a) Holy crap, Could you possibly HAVE a longer registration for this board?

2) http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/archive.html or are we all hating on the LEGO comics now?

Posted by: piranhtachew | January 28, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

There is a conflict of interests going on here. Serious readers would like to see a fair indication of what people generally regard as quality production, the Washington Post would like to publicize their online offerings, and (unfortunately) many of of the comic artists would like to misuse the poll as self-serving advertising, or they see it as a cheap way to "prove" their popularity.

The scripted assault (384000+ votes and counting) demonstrates unequivocally that open polling is simply a waste of time. The Post needs to find (or create) a poll system that either requires a Post-login ID (although this is not foolproof, as the spam posted by "wyiutetewryjuykilg" proves), or (better) a graphic "codeword" entry for each vote, to prevent automated attacks.

Until such a system is implemented, there is really no point in conducting ANY more polls.

Posted by: kilby | January 28, 2010 3:48 AM | Report abuse

I thought "Balloting will close midnight Wednesday"? but it looks like votes are still coming in. When I checked earlier this morning, Penny Arcade had a lead over Perry Bible Fellowship, but now it's a tie?

This is what it looks like now:

Penny Arcade, Perry Bible Fellowship: 36%
Hark! A Vagrant: 8%
xkcd: 5%
Least I Could Do: 4%
Girl Genius, Schlock Mercenary: 2%
Eric Monster Millikin, Order of the Stick, Questionable Content: 1%
All others: 0%

Total Votes: 402,508

So did this go into sudden death overtime? Or did somebody just leave the poll open? I'm not sure what it means when a newspaper in Washington can't get a webcomics vote right ...

Posted by: steph2010 | January 28, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

How sad that two comics I can't even stomach, one trite and often offensive, one derivative and pandering to an industry of minimal importance in the affairs of the world, are running neck and neck for the lead, while deeply imaginative comics (like, say, The Dreamland Chronicles, with literally millions of unique readers and supporting a substantial staff, or the profoundly beautiful Fainting Spells, for two among hundreds of better candidates) don't even rate a mention.

xanthian.

Posted by: Kent_Paul_Dolan__xanthian | January 28, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

@killby I don't think it's any surprise to anyone that this poll is inaccurate. And I don't think closed polling would really solve the issue either.

@Kent_Paul_Dolan__xanthian Best to choose the comics on the list that you enjoy the most. While you might have some specific ones that aren't listed (I sure do) you have to expect this to be more of a popularity contest. Both the comics you mentioned don't really seem to be super high traffic ones. PA on the other hand is very successful (recognized by state senators) and PBF I think is popular with a "chan".

Anywho, I would have liked to see Achewood and Dr. Mcninja on this list, but you can't have everything. As long as LICD and xdcc lose, I'll be happy. And CAD isn't on there, so that's a plus.

Posted by: rhapsha | January 28, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Just want to throw out a few more excellent choices:

Dresden Codak
http://dresdencodak.com/

Scary-Go-Round/Bad Machinery
http://www.scarygoround.com/

The late, great, innovative Kid Radd
http://www.kidradd.com/

No Rest for the Wicked
http://www.forthewicked.net/

Errant Story
http://errantstory.com/

Posted by: Christopher Dean Hopkins | January 28, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

In the last 13 hours, 68000 votes have been submitted, meaning an average of over 5200 votes per hour, or roughly 87 votes per minute. This is not a measure of reader preferences, it simply compares the performance of the servers upon which someone has installed robotic scripts to vote for Penny Arcade and Perry Bible Fellowship. Under these circumstances, the 3, 4, and 7% figures for the "also rans" are fairly impressive. Note that twiigs must round all percentages down, because the current totals sum up to 93%.

All in all, this poll has been a pointless exercise in oneupmanship.

Posted by: kilby | January 28, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

>> EDITOR'S NOTE:

For purposes of determining the finalists for next week's Best Webcomic of the Decade poll (The Final Stage), The Post recorded the results as of the 11:59:59 p.m. Wednesday voting deadline. Readers are free, however, to continue to register their fandom in this poll -- though these votes obviously have no bearing on the field of finalists.

Comic Riffs will discuss feedback from this poll on Friday -- and will open reader voting for Best Webcomic: The Final Poll on Monday.

Thanks to everyone who has participated -- from voting to sharing other worthy comics that readers had not nominated.

--M.C.

Posted by: cavnam | January 28, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"I think xkcd is the best because of its innovation: roll-over text to provide a second punchline to each strip, online forums for fans to discuss the strip or whatever else, and perhaps most of all, the real world meet-ups between fans."

Whoa, I did not know that incest still existed. Apparently Randall Munroe invented alt-text, a forum dedicated to a single webcomic, and is the only webcomic artist to leave his house? Amazing.

Posted by: burm | February 4, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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