Review: Ten Comics To Read Over Winter Break


Display of several books from the list, from left to right: Goodnight Punpun, Shiver, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, and Check Please. Photo Courtesy of: Dylan Gudino

With a virus that has left people to stay indoors for the year of 2020 and winter break being just around the corner for many students, it seems like the perfect time to watch movies and shows, try to bake, invest yourself in a new game, pick up a really specific hobby, or just sit down and look at nothing for fifteen minutes. And with that, delving into a comic can just as well make or break your day, depending on what you are into, which is why I have set up a list of several comics from Western to Eastern, horror to romance, webcomic to physical copies, and so on of what I believe to be must-reads, or at least worth checking out.1

1. Scott Pilgrim

[Teen, 13+]

Rock bands, video games, Amazon packages. Twenty-three-year-old Scott Pilgrim’s life is as typical as it can be, that is, until the day he meets Ramona Flowers in a dream. Created in 2004 by Bryan Lee O’ Malley, who has most recently been involved with the works of Snotgirl and Seconds, his cartoony art style mixed in with adult themes is an iconic trademark of his; best seen in this series. Living with his roommate Wallace and being part of a garage band, after finding out his dream girl is actually real Scott Pilgrim takes on the task of beating her seven evil exes (past partners) for the sole reason of getting to date her.

2. Cromartie High

[Teen, 13+]

Ended up all alone at a school controlled by delinquents because your friend failed the entrance exam? Then the main character, Takashi Kamiyama, and you have something in common. 2005 was the year this piece hit the shelves, where Eiji Nonaka’s serious, realistic art style contrasts with their type of humor in an interesting balance. The story’s premise is pretty simple, with it just being Takashi trying to adapt to the school as a new guy, but the characters are what really make it bizarre, with the guy whose hair constantly moves along with his emotions, an emotionally-understanding robot, a gorilla, and a mustached foreigner Takashi decided to name Freddy [Mercury].

3. Check Please!

[Teen, 13+]

Baking and ice hockey are a combination that seems too different from one another at first glance yet feels somewhat similar all the same. With the webcomic having launched by Ngozi Ukazu in 2013, the story focuses on an ice skater named Eric Bittle who gets to attend a university on a sports scholarship, where he learns to live with his team and discover love along the way.

4. Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

[Teen, 13+]

Breakups are never easy, especially when you have been broken up by the same person three times in a row. Published in 2019, Mariko Tamaki’s protagonist, Freddy, has been in a near-endless loop with Laura Dean, which starts to affect her mental health and make her question what is more important to her in life.

5. Cucumber Quest

[Youth, All Ages]

The script has never changed, bad guys are only bad and good guys are only good. Or has it ever really been like that to begin with? Started in 2011 as a webcomic by Gigi D.G., their cute and vibrant art style works around the parodying humor of the “hero against the big, evil villain” trope. Primarily centering around a small rabbit called Cucumber, in the midst of a land takeover, his mother sends him out to go look for his missing dad; without much of a choice, he and his sister embark on a quest.

6. Gourmet Hound 

[Teen, 13+]

All food has a story behind it, be it homemade or prepared by professional chefs. Being brought up as a webcomic by Leehama in 2017, the series follows Lucy Fuji as she searches for a dish that she had tried long ago in a restaurant while stepping into a huge web of broken friendships and unsaid words between its chefs.

7. Shiver: Junji Ito’s Collected Stories

[Mature, 17+]

Things no one can understand or explain, “eerie charm” would be the best way to describe the phenomenon. Being only one in the many one-shot books illustrated and written by Junji Ito himself, this collection of creepy tales introduced in 2015 has a variety of one-note characters whose only purpose is to have the reader step into their shoes for the different horrors that await.

8. Goodnight PunPun 

[Mature, 17+]

Cute little bird-people-thingies living their cute little lives, oh–family issues, religion, adult entertainment, mental health, grown-ups being no better than children? You will not possibly find any of that here if you do not look at the first page that is. Creator Inio Asano had his work published in 2007, where the reader looks through young boy Punpun’s eyes as he experiences unfortunate things, gets moments of happiness, and returns back to a world in which adults easily show their worst selves to anyone.

9. Inso’s Law

[Teen, 13+]

Brought into a universe that is pretty much like your own, but has every romance cliche imaginable? No worries, you are just in a visual novel, but the catch is you are the main character’s best friend. Originally coming from a light novel by the same name, the webcomic was uploaded in 2017 and illustrated by Ahyun, with one of her past stories being Oh! Holy, this one shows Ham Dan suddenly waking up to a visual novel situation on her first day of middle school. Filled with four handsome guys, the kind and caring main character, and a backstory that she is not keen on following in fear that it will all go away someday without anyone remembering her due to an outside force.

10. Lookism

[Mature, 17+]

Appearance is what determines an individual’s place in the world, following society’s standards leads to success and acceptance, while being labeled ugly by society makes things a little harder. An ongoing webcomic that has been regularly updated since 2014, Park Tae-Joon tells the story of Park Hyung Suk (which was changed to Daniel Park in the English translation), who has been bullied a majority of his life for being short, husky, and not approved of by society in terms of looks. But, after changing schools and choosing to live on his own, he soon wakes up in another body with unbelievable strength and checking all of the beauty standards.