Lately I’ve been increasingly disappointed with the state of Marvel and DC comics. Not so much the stories. I haven’t been reading the stories. But disappointed with the price. (which is why i haven’t been reading the stories.)

In 1966 a Marvel comic was $0.12 in US dollars. If we adjust for inflation that’s $0.95 in today’s money. But do Marvel comics cost $1 today? No they cost $5 today. Minimum wage in 1966 was $1.25 and today it’s $7.25. With one hour of minimum wage work in 1966 you could buy 10 comic books. One hour of work today will buy you 1 comic book.  That’s bull shit. I find it very difficult to believe the price is significantly higher because creators are being paid significantly more than they once were. And because of that I can’t support it. So I’m going to tell you where you can get comics for free, or nearly no money at all. 

Before I do, I do want to say a lot of these suggestions are going to be indie creators. If you like any indie comics I strongly recommend that you either 1. Become their patron and help fund the creation of more comics or 2. buy their merchandise even if it’s a little on the expensive side. They don’t have the resources to create cheep merch. Splurge a little and help fund the comics you love. And NEVER EVER EVER EVER pirate the comics. A lot of webcomics are pirated at places like Redit and other forums. Don’t read those pirate posts, support the official release. If you have the need to pirate something, pirate from a billion dollar monopoly like Disney. Don’t pirate from the tiny creator who’s barely getting by as it is.

okay here we go:

1. Webcomics. (duh)  This is the broadest category ’cause it’s not just one website. They’re all over the web. Webcomics have always been free but now there are lots of places to go and get them. There’s networks like Hiveworks and hubs like Webtoons and Tapas.  There are others that don’t belong to any group, they are just out there. I recommend exploring Top Webcomics to see if you can find a webcomic that’s up your alley. 
Here are some webtoons by fellow small time creators: Shadows of Oblivion • Dalrak the Mighty • Mousecapades • The Rings of Tinuris • Kinetics • IMPACT! • How Not To Be A Hero! • Alexander
Here are some other webcomics i like: Atomic Robo • Empowered • Spinnerette • Sequential Art

2. Graphite Comics.  “So Shono,” I hear you say, “webcomics are fine, but I like more main stream comics. Publishers like Top Cow, IDW, Boom, Aspen, Dynamite, etc. I can’t read those comics for free.” Oh friends, you can indeed.  Now mind you these publishers don’t have their entire catalog available on Graphite, but they sure do have a lot of them. You can even find my first published comic on the platform. It’s… the art is really bad. Don’t…. don’t look at it. Like it’s objectively bad. I’m not being modest, it’s so bad. Read anything else on the platform. I personally I’m reading Walter Simonson’s Star Slammers on there. (he’s my all time favorite comic creator.)
Graphite Comics also has a lot of webtoons and other indie comic publishers there. They have a ton of comics so go enjoy some good free comics!

3. Shonen Jump.  “I don’t like American comics Shono, I read manga.” Great! Shonen Jump lets your read the first 3 chapters, and the latest 3 chapters of all their manga for FREE! One Piece, Dragon Ball, My Hero Academia, Death Note, everything! And it updates the chapters the same day they are released in Japan. So you’re reading the latest chapter the same time the Japanese are. Now Even though that’s free, if you have $2 extra each month, you’ll have access to ALL the chapter. Read all 1000 chapters of One Piece, all of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball Super. EVERYTHING for just $2 a month. It’s the best deal in mainstream comics. But even if you don’t have the $2, you can still read what came out this week, and keep up to date without spending a dime!

4. Drive Thru Comics. This is the first online digital store for comics. They used to be called “Comics My Way” and they use to distribute paper copies of comics sorta like DCBS does today. But once that model wasn’t viable anymore they switched to digital distribution of comics and stories. (they also have sister sites like DrivethruRPG that sells table top games and stuff.) They have a huge catalog of indie and mainstream comics. I recommend clicking on the “Free Comics” tab to see what they have available. *Spoilers, it’s a ton.*

5. ComiXology. There are a lot of positives with ComiXology. I use the app a lot. My biggest problem with it though is most of the comics on the site is the same price as the paper copies. (unless there is a sale going on.)  Why am I paying full price for a digital copy of the comic? It’s not like there are any materials thats contributing to the cost.  My other problem is they’re owned by Amazon. And lately I’be been doing my best not to support monopolistic companies. I want to support small companies. Regardless despite those complaints they do have a section of free comics. Some of them very good.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite webcomic? Where do you go to get your free, non-pirated comics? (seriously don’t pirate comics We comic creators make so little money as it is. don’t make it worse by pirating comics.) 

And Make Comics, Not Excuses.