The first webcomic, Witches and Stitches, started in 1985. Even still, the digital medium was largely ignored by major publishers until the webcomics boom of the mid-2000s, with mainstays like Questionable Content and Cyanide and Happiness making waves. The medium, which started out as most humor, branched out into other genres. Unlike mainstream publishing and comics, there were no gatekeepers, giving creators the freedom to explore niche interests in a way traditional comics can’t.
With webcomics gaining more respect and readers, more and more webcomics are jumping into print. Books that started as webcomics, like Emily Carroll’s Through the Woods, have garnered critical and financial success. Webcomics have always been a great place for young artists and writers to hone their craft. Now they’re a destination, a place major publishers are scouring for the next big hit. Now, here are some new and upcoming graphic novels that began life as some of the Internet’s most exciting webcomics.