Much like any artistic medium, webcomics have different genres that define their stories and flesh out their narratives. However, many webcomics do not conform to any one genre, instead taking inspiration from multiple areas. These areas range from the themes of the comic's story to the conflicts that the main character(s) face.
On the Webcomic Wiki "genre" refers to the basic theme of the comic and the author(s) intent in making it. For instance, a comic set in medieval times many incorporate humor, but be a fantasy comic at its core. Likewise, a comic that entertains its users through fantasy elements is not necessarily more fantasy than comedy.
Below is a short guide to the genres listed on the wiki:
Action and Adventure
A combination of both the action and the adventure genre, this genre is very broad in scope. For this wiki, in order to be classified as an action web comic, the main focus of the comic must be physical conflict and the intention of the author to "thrill" the reader through suspense. Adventure comics have similar goals, usually pitting the protagonist against an antagonist in several confrontations.
Comics in this genre have characters which appear animal-like but have human qualities. This includes talking animals, . It is has not been decided whether or not nekomimi (cat girls, or humans with slight animal-like qualities) are included in this genre.
A non-fiction genre, autobiographical comics are, like autobiographical books, about the author's life. A distinction is made from slice of life comics because autobiographical comics are almost always grounded in the author's life instead of a character's. As slice-of-life comics are more flexible, they are more common than autobiographical comics.
Another non-fiction genre, biographical web comics are about real people or historical events. Like autobiographical web comics, they are similar to historical comics, but distinct from alternate reality comics, which are fictional.
Also known as humor, comedy web comics' main intent is to make the reader laugh. Gag-a-day web comics also fall in this category.
Coming of Age
Coming of Age web comics have story elements that deal with a character (or character(s)) personal "coming of age"; that is, their transition between childhood to adulthood or an in-universe equivalent.
Crime / Noir
Noir comics are mystery comics that have themes of fatalism, cynicism, and moral ambiguity. Like the crime thrillers of old, the protagonists of noir comics are detectives that deal with gray areas in the world and in the moral spectrum.
Originally inspired by neo-noir, cyberpunk comics also delve into cynicism and moral ambiguity, but they focus on the consequences of technological advancement and powerful corporations. A subgenre of science fiction, Cyberpunk comics are set in a "high-tech, low-life" setting in which major technological advancement are compared with the collapse of society. As a result, cyberpunk comics are often also dystopian.
"Drama" is a broad term that can be applied to many, many different aspects of a story.
Dystopian web comics are set in a world that is viewed as corrupt, fallen, or simply "not good" (as the word itself implies). Common themes of dystopia include oppressive governments, questionable ethics, and violence.
Educational webcomics are made with the intent of teaching their readers about a subject the author assumes they are unfamiliar with. Most educational stories are targeted at children.
On this wiki, "fantasy" refers to a fictional story set in medieval fantasy or within myths and legends. Fantasy web comics involve medieval weaponry (like swords and bows), customs (kingdoms and decentralized government), as well as magic and imaginary creatures.
Video game-related web comics feature or reference elements of video games, such as video games themselves, game consoles, and game characters.
Historical web comics are fictional comics set in the past, inspired by real-world events or even set in them.
Authors of horror web comics intend on scaring their readers through unnerving or explicit scenes. As with horror in all mediums, the vast majority of horror web comics involve violence, fear, and suspense.
While not necessarily a genre in the traditional sense, LGBTQ comics discuss the themes of sexuality and LGBTQ extensively.
Similar to crime / noir, mystery webcomics have a central question or mystery that is unsolved for most of the comic, instead being revealed (or not) throughout the comic's run.
Parody / Satire
Webcomics that primarily use satire use exaggeration, irony, or humor to criticize a person or an idea. Parody is a form of satire that imitates and then exaggerates the artistic style of its target for comedic effect, although parody is also used as a form of tribute.
Political web comics use a political story so in order to issue a statement on a systems of government and ideals. Political web comics overlap with dystopia and satire.
Prehistoric web comics are set in the prehistoric era, distinct from the historical genre because they are instead more "fictional" as a result of their unknown setting.
Religious web comics are focused on religion and religious beliefs, often because their authors intend to promote said religion and/or because their audience is of that religion.
Romance web comics revolve around the romantic "conflict" between two or more characters.
Science fiction web comics have a fictional (usually futuristic) setting where technology has progressed farther than that of the author's time. Cyberpunk is a sub-genre of science fiction.
Slice of Life
Slice of life comics can be both fictional and non-fictional (e.g. autobiographical), providing a sample (or "slice") of a character's life that is seemingly random. Slice of life web comics appear to lack a clear plot or conflict and are open-ended.
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that features steam-powered technology and aesthetics from the 19th century.
Superhero web comics involve modern superheroes with superhuman abilities and powers.
Supernatural web comics are set in realistic settings where the unexplained or strange are brought to life as tangible, real elements.
Western web comics are set or inspired by the American Frontier, or at least popular interpretations of it. Western web comics usually focus on the archetype of the cowboy or gunfighter.