Those of us who care about nature and the environment are often viewed as a humourless bunch who are more likely to wag a finger about plastic straws than laugh at the absurdity of the world. Despite the difficulty in finding levity when there are such daunting challenges facing us, graphic artists are using webcomics to share humorous observations and reflections about the natural world. Here are some of my favourites.
Bird and Moon by Rosemary Mosco
One of the more well-established comics on the list (started in 2014), many of Mosco’s charming illustrations feature funny facts about birds or the struggles of bird-watching, but she also draws comics about climate change and the importance of collective action. Her comic about vultures is one of my all-time favourites, but regardless of the subject, her comics almost always make me laugh.
A Different Aftermath by Ursula Vernon
Vernon, who also writes as T. Kingfisher, is probably best known for her prose, but she works occasionally in graphic media. This story opens in a dystopian future but transitions to end on a hopeful note as it explores the resilience of both humans and our planet.
Unlike the other webcomics on this list, xkcd focuses more on science than environmental or natural topics, but there’s no one more skilled at making jokes about the scientific process or using humour to explain complex topics from climate change to global atmospheric circulation.
The Mean Greens by Sarah Lazarovic
The Mean Greens was published in 2016, before the term ecoanxiety had gained mainstream momentum. A combination of webcomic and personal essay, it’s a great articulation of the impact of environmental grief and an exploration of what we can do to fight it.
Like Bird and Moon, False Knees focuses on the natural world as a basis for humour. And like Bird and Moon, it often makes me laugh out loud. Unlike the others on this list, False Knees creates their webcomics using pen and ink techniques that are then published online.