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B-Side Comics

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Webcomics will often have a separate series of strips featuring characters and/or situations outside of the main storyline. These may be used as Filler Strips, a form of Breather Episode, or a Formula-Breaking Episode.

Back in the golden age of Newspaper Comics, when Sunday comic strips each took up a whole page of the newspaper, they were often accompanied by "toppers", which served much the same purpose, making this Older Than Television.

The "topper" best remembered today is Krazy Kat, which originated as a set of strips under the main action in a 1910 strip known variously as The Dingbat Family and The Family Upstairs (making it a "bottomer", I suppose, though let's all agree never to use that term again). According to Don Markstein, Krazy spun off into his (or her) own strip in 1913, while the Dingbats passed from the comics page in 1916.

See also Omake, Yonkoma.


  • Sluggy Freelance has had such B-Side Comics as "Bikini Suicide Frisbee Days" (aka, back in the good old days before plot locked up the characters in specific situations) and "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain", drawn by guest artists. The latter actually ended up affecting the main story. It has also has an ongoing side story called "Stick Figures in Space", which is used as filler.
  • The Chef Brian, Players and Gamer's Glossary strips in Ctrl+Alt+Del.
    • In fact, Ctrl+Alt+Del often has a few gag comics between Story Arcs.
      • And now the "sillies" are in a separate part of the site.
  • "Penny Arcade" has a few B-Side comics: "Twisp and Catsby" and "The Cardboard Tube Samurai" evolved from strips in the main continuity to their own identity. There was a series of three (link) treatments of B-Side comics with a poll to determine which gets developed more: "Lookouts", "Automata", and "Jim Darkmagic". It was popular enough that both "Lookouts" and "Automata" got additional strips.
  • Megatokyo does skits featuring the characters in different genres in between chapters, though this really falls under Omake.
  • Stickman and Cube has "The Adventures Of Captain Invisible" and "Cube's Past Jobs".
  • Dead-tree example: Watchmen had "Tales of the Black Freighter", which served to metaphorically comment on the main plot.
  • User Friendly has frequent strips involving caricatures of technology magnates and politicians (and Apple-obsessed aliens), which don't affect the main storylines.
  • One Phone Call has its official update schedule as "Tuesdays and whenever I can't update 0 0 0".
  • Applegeeks and its AG-lite.
  • El Goonish Shive has the newspaper-style comics found in EGS: NP; many of the older ones are non-canon, but since its return from hiatus in August 2014, EGS: NP has been revamped into mostly telling canonical side-stories.
  • "Megagamerz 733t" from Goats is completely unrelated to the story, save that it is ostensibly drawn by one of the characters, which may in fact lump it in with "Drawn by Billy" sets from The Family Circus.
  • The Genie World story from The Wotch.
    • Not to mention the arcs where someone takes over the "Wotch HQ" and attempts to run the comic his way.
    • Or "The Wotch: Cheer!", an entire spinoff comic based around four of the early transgender characters, in their new lives as cheerleaders.
  • Something*Positive has S*P 1937/8. One could also throw "New Gold Dreams" and "Midnight Macabre" into this mix.
  • Head Trip site has the adventures of Emo Kid and Chemo Kid, a Kid Hero team consisting of a Littlest Cancer Patient (also a Knight in Sour Armor) and an Emo Teen.
  • S.S.D.D. has two: Sticky the Stickman and Church of Poisoned Minds, which eventually became their own strips.
  • Girl Genius has a series of radio plays done as podcasts, supposedly in the future but with no clear relation to the plot at present. Several have been turned into actual comics. There's also the Parody Sue spoof titled "Fan Fiction" (guest written by Shaenon Garrity), the Cinderella parody (the only one that is definitely completely out of continuity), "Homecoming King" (written and drawn by regular colorist Cheyanne Wright), "Ivo Sharktooth: Private Jaegar", the Christmas Episode "A Mechanicsburg Solstice Story", and "Franz Scorthmaw, Dragon of Mechanicsburg, and the Story We Haven't Named Yet".
  • Scary Go Round had a brief story about two goblins setting up a detective agency, going to Ireland to recover a pot of gold from a goblin version of Terry Wogan, and mixing it with devil bears. While the goblins do make occasional appearances in the main SGR comic, usually around Christmas, apparently this storyline provoked a great many e-mails to John Allison saying, "I don't get it," and he now thinks he could just have done it with Shelley and Amy instead. It didn't stop him doing another goblins-in-Ireland story-ette a few years later.
  • VG Cats has two secondary comics, Adventure Log and Super Effective, an RPG "diary" and a Pokémon parody, respectively.
  • After Taña, Island Princess concluded its first volume, its creator started an unrelated story at Comic Genesis called "Get Your Boyfriend Back" (not transferred to The Duck yet).
  • Sins Venials had DDG, updated every time Sins Venials' donation box reached $50. DDG arguably had a stronger storyline than the main comic. View it here.
  • Ultima Java has If You Believe, Over the Edge, World of Heroes, U-2 (the series before the Continuity Reboot) and more on the way. Over the Edge and World of Heroes have become Orphaned Series, however — the latter of which recently being moved to the site's forums.
  • Zap! has a side comic, Everybody Loves Robot, written and illustrated by the main comic's writer.
  • Triquetra Cats has its spinoff, Polonian Tales.
  • Early Adventurers! had several B-Side Comics. Some one-shots, some told an ongoing story.
  • Questionable Content is occasionally interrupted by 'Yelling Bird', four identical panels of an angry dickcissel, when the author is too busy or unwell to draw a regular strip.
    • ... which has since added characters and mutated into something resembling an actual storyline.
  • Sunday editions of Narbonic are usually some form of these, such as "The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon & Co."
  • The Life of Nob T. Mouse used 'interlude' stories to break up the longer Pie Noon storyline into more manageable pieces. These included Doctor Nob, a parody of Doctor Who, and The Trouble With A Quantum Santa, which parodied the idea that Santa can deliver presents to the entire world in one night.
  • Acrobat will post pinups, origins of characters, or short stories in between issues.
  • DMFA has the Bonus Arc: Abel's Story and Bonus Arc: Matilda, exploring the backstory of The Lancer and the Love Interest before the events of the main comic.
  • A Modest Destiny used to alternate seasons of The Starship Destiny with the main comic. Presumably because new characters and a new setting (scifi as opposed to medieval adventure) gave Sean "Squidi" Howard a break and a chance to shake things up a bit.
  • Unwinder's Tall Comics were at one point interrupted by a steampunk comic Apocalyptus: Thrift and Peril, which is completely unrelated to the main story. Also at least one character has her own comic on The Duck.
  • Fall City Blues has "Transitfish Syndrome," in which the main characters engage in some surrealism, and "Fall City Blues (unframed!)" featuring random gags and filler strips.
  • Shortpacked! features occasional digressions about the author's personal life (usually his trips to conventions), hastily drawn in blue pen and then inked over.
  • Fathead's Jeff has a recurring segment which is basically a parody of family sitcoms.
  • Dresden Codak will occasionally tell the story of Rupert and Hubert, two Quintessential British Gentlemen who live in a castle on the moon.
  • Allen the Alien has the filler comic Poorly Drawn Alien, which is very much Stylistic Suck.
  • Buz Sawyer The Sunday strip featured sidekick Rosco Sweeny after they retired from the Navy.
  • The authors of Hell(p) produce these on special occasions.
    • They made a 5-page Easter special in which the characters engage in a silly egg hunt.
    • The first anniversary was celebrated with a B-side comic which contains 8 pages done by 8 different artists and provides № 4 with some backstory.
  • Leif & Thorn: There's a whole episode of Hedge & Grassie, the in-universe takeoff on of The Burns and Allen Show.
  • Battle Kreaturez features Intervals, QnA strips and other auxiliary comics that compliment the main story.
  • Cirque Royale Many of these are posted on the webcomic's tumblr page, as well as information and casual doodles (including in reply to asks and Q&As) that aren't posted elsewhere. Several have also been posted on other hosting platforms; these include "Vaude Save the Queen" which shows Quinn learning her father died and she's queen now, "Princess Prince" which shows that Charlie is a Wholesome Crossdresser that his family accepts, and "Non-Stop, Side B" which shows what Quinn was doing while Kingston was running around all day burning himself out — namely having to meet with Aries Cashworthy regarding the loans and contracts her parents took out and she's now on the hook for as queen.