New and returning titles take the top spots this week in the world of webcomics! VR games, ancient magics, rivalry turned romance, cottagecore witches, and urban fantasy galore come together for your reading pleasure.
1. Morgana and Oz by Miyuli (@miyuliart) on WEBTOON
To say this series is addicting is an understatement. After seeing an animated clip of the webcomic pop up on my Instagram, I immediately sat down and binged the first 34 episodes in one sitting. This magical story features witches, vampires, talking cats, and cottagecore goodness, and it's a cozy read you simply must pick up if you're a fan of modern fantasy and whimsical tales.
Morgana is a witch who struggles with her spell casting. Oz is an angsty vampire loyal to his clan. When a dinner between Morgana's family and Oz's clan to talk peace goes horribly awry, a wayward spell strikes Oz and turns him into a cat! Morgana is the only one who can understand him and she's determined to make peace between their two families, so a deal is struck between them. Will their newfound partnership only bring war, or will an unexpected love blossom between them?
Ep.34 released at the beginning of this week (though three more episodes are available on Fast Pass) and it is the first in the series to feature music by Isabella LeVan. The first of several flashback episodes, we see a young Morgana casting spells for her brother, Mordecai, in a beautifully done string of panels filled with magic and childhood wonder. When her spell doesn't go as expected, she runs to the library to hide and comes across a peculiar sight amongst the stacks of books. This is a charming series that will easily become your next comfort read and I definitely suggest picking it up this weekend to prepare for the next ep.
2. The Human Spirit by Jodi McBun (@JodiMcBun) on Tapas and WEBTOON
This urban fantasy series is an absolute delight that fans of fantasy, romance, and music will immediately be drawn to. Jodi's use of expressions and unique take on magic makes this a stand-out in the genre. She amps up the energy with realistic concert segments and action-packed panels that mix sports and spell casting to create a unique narrative. This series is great for fans of other webcomics like Bone's Tarot, Of Dark Lords and Cabbages, and Blades of Furry.
Maya is a professional fighter known by the ring name of Iron Cat. Chase is a bassist and singer with a feisty attitude. They meet by happenstance at a shared event and sparks fly between the two that are undeniably powerful. When a seemingly simple date suddenly turns chaotic and the world as they knew it gets flipped on its head, Maya and Chase are thrust into an adventure that will change the course of their once ordinary lives forever.
Ep.11, titled A Golden Opportunity, dropped on both platforms this week. Maya's former teacher, Altec, arrives with information about the dire situation that enveloped Earlesborough the night before. Altec comes asking Maya for help, but Chase is less than enthused about the offer, causing tensions to rise between himself and the talented fighter that leads to an explosive moment you have to see to believe. Though the ep. count is still quite low, each one is well-paced and gripping, and it will be exciting to see where the series goes from here. You definitely want to subscribe to this one!
3. Bitters & Blackmail by Greigory (@DarkGreyClouds) on Lezhin Mature
This charming and cheeky, contest-winning boys' love title on Lezhin Mature returned this week after a several-month hiatus. Teased by Greigory on official socials with this adorable promo art, the long-awaited return of Bitters & Blackmail was well worth the wait. The story of a bitter rivalry turned romance is full of down-to-earth slice-of-life antics, beautiful color palettes, great comedic timing, and an honest look at the various stages of relationships as they evolve.
Jay is a bartender who absolutely loves his job. Victor is a delivery driver and the nephew of the bar's owner. Jay hates Victor. Victor hates Jay. Both of them are loud and proud about their disdain for each other. After a backpack switch mishap, Jay concocts a plan to make Victor miserable and get some revenge. He suggests a series of dares before returning their packs, and Victor refuses to back down against his taunting, setting them down a path of childish tricks and torture in the process. Little do they realize, these dares will shift the dynamic of their interactions in a way neither could have foreseen.
Ep.27 picks back up after Victor shows up at Jay's door following a massive fight with his parents. In a touching and rare moment where the guys actually stop bickering, we see a serious shift in their dynamic finally unfold, leading to a tender and steamy moment between them. This 18+ series is updated on the 2nd, 12th, and 22nd of each month and is perfect for fans of mature romance and slice-of-life stories with realistic narratives.
4. The Esper's Game by Plan A, Two-zero, and Niccolo on TappyToon
Fans of Solo Leveling rejoice! TappyToon's newest action-packed series, The Esper's Game, may just be the title we need to hold us over until our favorite dungeon-crawling webtoon's* anime arrives next year. My socials were slammed with ads for this series this week and, to my great surprise, SIX episodes of the series dropped on Tuesday so I had to check it out. I was not disappointed.
Seventeen years ago, seven great heroes, known as espers, saved the world from destruction at the cost of one of their own - Seomun Yeop. In the modern age of peace, the world has no use for the supernatural powers of the espers, leaving the once great warriors tossed to the wayside. Enter the VR sport known as Battle Field, specifically designed to allow espers to once again utilize their abilities. When Korea's standing in the tournaments begins to falter and all hope seems lost, the long-thought-dead Seomun Yeop returns to (hopefully) save his homeland once again!
Though it's impossible to not compare it to Solo Leveling (and the dozens of other entries in the massive dungeon-crawling, VR-inspired webtoon* wave), The Esper's Game has its own unique charms and strengths that definitely make it worth reading. The gaming aspects, great action, sharp illustrations, and interesting story quickly put this at the top of my summer reading list. Reminiscent of Captain America's conundrum of waking up in the modern world, Seomun's journey from beloved hero to gaming champion will be one to watch.
5. Lady Fay by Violette Nouvel (@violettenouvel) on WEBTOON
This daring series by Violette Nouvel is a newer addition to the WEBTOON Canvas lineup. It debuted back in May with a powerful introductory chapter that set the stage for a kingdom on the verge of collapse brought on by long-since-gone magic. The magic-filled world Nouvel has crafted feels like it was ripped straight out of a book of fairytales, with legends abundant and whispers of fairies lingering between the panels.
The fairies have long since vanished from the world, their ancient civilization once powerful and feared by mortals. When an old archeologist named William sets out on a solo expedition, he accidentally awakens the princess Faelinn and sets in motion a string of events that may just plunge the world into darkness.
Ep.4 premiered this week and we catch back up with William as he continues on his journey to visit a site that may assist with his research. The ruins are impressive indeed and, after some pondering, he decides to test out a theory. His attempts lead to an unexpected result, one we can only assume kickstarts the main events of the story. This charming series features an older protagonist, which is an absolute delight when the medium is oversaturated with plucky teen heroes, and the pure fantasy setting looks stunning in Nouvel's illustration style. Make sure you subscribe to this one so you don't miss the monthly updates!
*webtoon is the term used for scrolling digital comics from South Korea, not to be confused with WEBTOON, the app.
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