On my 12th birthday, I received a graphic novel from a friend. This was at the height of my manga-loving days. (Heck, it was not the only graphic novel I received that year.) But this one was different because it was the a hard copy of a web comic.
That was my introduction to the world of web comics. I’ve read several over the years, and maybe I’ll spotlight a few more, but today, I want to talk about my favorite. A few years ago, I definitely would not have been table to tell you what my favorite was. I have several web comics on my RSS reader that I read daily.
JL8 is my favorite by far.
JL8 is written and drawn by Yale Stewart. The title means (I believe) “Justice League 8″, as in it is a comic about the Justice League characters as 8-year-old children. The description of the comic as found on the official comic Tumblr is:
“JL8″ is a side project of “Gifted” creator Yale Stewart. A weekly webcomic, it follows the adventures of popular DC comic characters as children in elementary school. Mostly funny, with a dash of pathos, it should be an enjoyable read for any fans of DC Comics characters as well as people who enjoy the traditional syndicated comic strip.
Confession: I have both laughed out loud and cried while reading this comic. And while re-reading it. That’s how good it is.
One of Yale’s commissioned pieces, featuring the JL8 gang, their teacher Mr. Schwartz (likely for Julius Schwartz, editor at DC) and gym instructor Mr. Darkseid
If you never read the comics, like myself, you’ll like this. Yale does a great job of writing the comic in a way that the important characters and their personalities are introduced to you. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t know anything about Superman or Batman prior to reading this comic; a few strips in, you get that Clark (Superman) is friendly and optimistic while Bruce (Batman) is broody and a bit of a darker character.
If you are a big fan of DC comics, you are going to love this web comic. Although Yale writes the comics in a way that a complete stranger to the DC comic universe can still enjoy them, the comics are his source material. From reading the comments on the strips as he uploads them to the Facebook page, fans love how characteristic of each person the actions in the story are. There are little nods to events and characters in the comics. If you’re familiar with the comics, you’ll be able to spot foreshadowing and Easter eggs. While I’m not able to enjoy these, the DC comics fans on the Facebook page seem to really love them, and even I’m able to see how much thought and forethought goes into incorporating the source material on Yale’s part.
#15, showing our Justice League cuties during reading hour and already letting us know a lot about each character very early on in the comic
I love how much of each character’s personality comes through, especially in their interactions with each other. This is easily one of the most well-written web comics I’ve ever read, and the art is great as well. Yale has even worked for Marvel, drawing for Nova #100!
I cannot recommend this comic enough. It is updated the least frequently, at once a week when Yale isn’t doing conventions, but it’s really worth it. I like to go back and just reread it from the start, that’s how good it is. (Also, if you didn’t know who Karen Starr is when I mentioned her in my sidebar, she’s in this comic!)
All images belong to Yale Stewart.
Find Yale at Facebook, Tumblr, deviantART, and Twitter
Follow JL8 at Facebook, Tumblr, limbero (smoother comic reader but unofficial so not always up-to-date), and Twitter
Do you read JL8 or other web comics?
What are your favorite web comics?