Apart from the odd Foxtrot strip, gaming is a subject dominated by webcomics. A bad gaming comic makes fun of games and gamers in a mean-spirited way or represents us gamers in a stereotypically unflattering fashion. A good gaming comic can distill everything we love about gaming into a three or even one panel joke that is, at its essence, what it means to be a gamer.
The 800 lb. gorillas are comics like Knights of the Dinner Table, Dork Tower, and The Order of the Stick (about which I wrote a term paper for a literature class, by the way). The smaller, perhaps, lesser-known comics are by no means less worthy of our attention. Comics like Darths & Droids, Irregular Webcomic, and d20 Monkey (among others) are all glorious love letters to tabletop gaming.
What makes a good gaming comic? To me, the answer is simple: does it laugh with me and not at me?
No one enjoys being made fun of. It’s particularly painful when the person making fun of you couches it in the veneer of false kinship. I’m not going to talk about those people, because we all know these kind of people and they don’t need any more time in the spotlight. I want to put the spotlight on d20 Monkey.
Sure, I’m biased. I know Brian Patterson, somewhat, and I buy his t-shirts (as well as read his comic). I archived binged on d20 Monkey a few years ago when Brian submitted the comic to the ENnie Awards. d20 Monkey can be a tad Not Safe for Work at times, so binge at your own risk, but he always has something to say. Sometimes, it’s just a gag. Other times, he has something to say about bullying, or jerks who insist certain girls are Fake Geek Girls. He always has a Christmas story to tell (Brian LOVES Christmas and his enthusiasm is infectious–like a red & green plague of joy). The comics he writes that deal with Lovecraftian themes make me want to run Call of Cthulhu.
So check out d20 Monkey. Beware of dick jokes, but you know what? The penis is intrinsically funny and we could all use a good laugh now and then.