Want to Learn English Through Comics? 10 Fun Comics You Need to Read
You’re a comics lover, but you’ve avoided reading English comics before now. You’re still practicing the language, but you’re sticking with textbooks. After all, comics are a way to relax, not to learn, right?
Actually, no! One of the easiest ways to learn English is to do it through something you love, and if for you that’s comics, then learn through comics! We all know textbooks can get a bit dry and boring, whereas comics pull you right in. You may even find yourself expanding your vocabulary faster when learning English with comics. Now you’re just wondering, which are the best comics to learn English?
I recommend these 10 online comics for learning English:
Itchy Feet Comic
Fowl Language Comics
The Awkward Yeti
Getting out of My Hometown
The above comics, while not for beginners, are more suited for intermediate and advanced learners, and are all available to read for free on Instagram. They’re also short and fun. Some of these accounts share new content every day so you can make learning English a part of your daily routine. You’re also presented with a unique opportunity to learn more informal English as well as idioms and slang.
Let’s get started!
10 of the Best Comics for Learning English
1. Fruit gone bad
My first pick to help you learn English online with comics is Fruitgonebad. The New York-based cartoonist who produces these comics has a unique art style, somewhat similar to what you’d see printed in newspapers.
Each one-panel comic focuses on the lives of various vegetables and fruits. There’s always a joke or pun thrown in there somewhere. For instance, here’s a Halloween comic about a pumpkin who’s smashed. (When we ‘smash’ food such as an avocado or a potato, we crush it or press it down until it’s flat or soft. But ‘smashed’ is also another way to say ‘very drunk’).
This one, which features two literal couch potatoes, is a play on the show Naked and Afraid. In this case, it’s “Baked and Afraid.”
Some people might find the content a little offensive in terms of foul language and sexuality, but the name says it all: Fruit Gone Bad!
2. Introvert Doodles
Maureen Marzi Wilson is the artist behind Introvert Doodles. She’s also gotten several books published, among them The Little Book of Big Feelings, Kind of Coping, and The Introvert Activity Book.
Wilson’s artwork is sweet and simple, with adorable little characters and single-colored backgrounds. As you work on learning spoken English with comics, try her Houseplant Life Lessons. This comic panel features great artwork, plenty of printed text, and lessons you can use in your day-to-day life.
The post about March luck has a similar style if you want to really dig into your English learning through Introvert Doodles.
3. Itchy Feet Comic
As you practice English online with comics, you can’t skip Itchy Feet Comic. Malachi Ray Rempen’s comic is about learning language, so you’ll certainly understand the characters and their experiences. Travel and expatriates are two other recurring topics.
The art style is colorful and lively in the same vein as Introvert Doodles, but Rempen has his own unique style, especially in his character design. Here’s one fun comic about how many different languages you’re supposed to know when living in the United States versus living in Switzerland. It ought to make you feel better about your own progress learning a language!
This is another cute one about raising a baby and teaching them multiple languages. Not only is Itchy Feet Comic very relatable, but it’s a great resource for your English lessons, too.
4. Fowl Language Comics
Brian Gordon is the writer and artist behind both Chuck & Beans and Fowl Language Comics. Gordon says his own experiences as a parent have inspired much of the comic’s source material.
Since ducks can talk in this world, so can dogs, as seen in this comic. If you’re thinking of starting a family soon or you recently have, you’ll love the father duck’s experiences as he goes through day-to-day life with his children and wife. Some of the comics have actual foul language, but most are pretty clean and very fun!
5. The Awkward Yeti
If you want to work on your English reading with comics about the body and the brain, then The Awkward Yeti is the perfect pick for you. Nick Seluk created the comic in 2012 and publishes on Instagram daily.
The comic mostly focuses on the heart and the brain, with the heart a happy, carefree organ that doesn’t think much of consequences. The brain is wiser and always tries to reel the heart in. There are some instances in which the heart has something to teach the brain, such as this comic about over-analyzing. In most of the comics though, the dynamic between the heart and the brain is more like this.
Since the brain character is supposed to represent our own highly-functioning brain, you have a good chance of coming across some tough vocabulary words in The Awkward Yeti. This comic can present many great learning opportunities, then.
6. Lucas Turnbloom
Lucas Turnbloom is an author and cartoonist who publishes all sorts of cat-centric work on his Instagram account. His art is the most uncomplicated on this list so far, as Turnbloom chooses thick, strong lines against a white background with very little color.
Cat lovers will go gaga over Turnbloom’s comics, which show the interesting relationship humans and cats experience. While sometimes the comic dives into complicated topics like yoga poses and cat walking techniques, the clean art panels combined with simple text make this comic very friendly for English language beginners.
7. Getting out of My Hometown
Next on our list is a comic called Getting out of My Hometown made by an author known only as Emma. The panels feature Emma herself and her experiences navigating life in her late 20s. From self-care to therapy and how to react to compliments, Emma has a comic about it all.
Here’s one about making progress in therapy that may resonate with you. If you often fall into the habit of overthinking, Emma made a comic about that, too. This panel is a fun illustration of Emma’s way of solving her problems (hint: it doesn’t really work). There’s also one about how to behave around friends versus by oneself.
If you’re trying to learn how to express yourself in English, Getting out of My Hometown is a great comic to read.
8. Admiral Wonderboat
Chris Naish is the author and artist behind Admiral Wonderboat, which he calls “sometimes wholesome, sometimes weird. Always cute!” Naish publishes comics every weekday, so you’ll have five new ones to look forward to during the week.
Each comic follows a cute little turtle on his daily adventures into accepting himself and those around him. His cartoony art style sometimes involves more complex topics, like how to tamp down negative thoughts or how to stay grounded with the help of your friends. Sometimes, the comics are just plain charming and easy to enjoy, like this one about pizza.
No matter your age or your level of English proficiency, there’s certainly something for everyone who reads Admiral Wonderboat.
9. Lunar baboon
If you like comics about parenting (this time with humans instead of ducks), Christopher Grady’s Lunarbaboon will warm your heart. The comic is so beloved it’s been turned into a book, but Grady still publishes on Instagram and Webtoons often.
Black and white characters with modest linework comprise Grady’s comics. The grayscale backgrounds don’t grab your attention too much so you can focus more on the subject matter. That’s good, as that subject matter can get quite deep, such as the father character dealing with depression or how it’s okay for men to express their feelings.
The family dynamic in Lunarbaboon is a little more mature than in the other comics we’ve seen until now. Like Getting out of My Hometown, you’ll learn lots of valuable words for talking about how you feel, both the good and the bad.
10. Strange Planet
The last online comic I recommend for learning English is Strange Planet. Nathan M. Pyle created this comic about aliens navigating daily life the same way we humans do. Since starting his comic series, Pyle has published two books with all the best alien comics to date.
Strange Planet has a reliable format: four panels about the alien’s adventures. Pyle captions each Instagram post with a word featured in the comic. You can have fun each day guessing what the word will be and seeing if you got it correct. If you don’t know what the word of the day means, you can always look it up to expand your vocabulary.
The language in Strange Planet is a bit more advanced, as Pyle takes everyday activities and transforms them into how aliens would speak. For example, a bowl of salad is a leaf bucket, a book is referred to as a narrative, bedtime is the rest hour, and a soccer goalie is an orb handler. Maybe you won’t use these words yourself, but they’re a good way to learn another way to refer to common words people say every day.
Tips for Understanding Your New Vocabulary
Unlike the textbooks you study, lots of the English in the comics above is often informal. Sometimes, you’ll also come across slang. In the case of Strange Planet and some other comics, the words may be bigger than what you’d previously seen.
So what should you do with these interesting new words you’ve stumbled upon? Here’s what I recommend.
Look up the Word in an English Dictionary
If you suspect the word you found is not a slang term, then any English dictionary should contain its definition. You can try Longman Dictionary or Collins Dictionary. For both sites, simply type in the word and you’ll get a definition.
Find the Meaning of Slang
The Online Slang Dictionary is a great resource for understanding urban and American slang that you might not find in traditional dictionaries. You can look for the slang term by letter or type it in to get straight to the results you want to see.
Translate the Word if You’re Still Struggling
If you’re still having a hard time understanding the definition, try translating the new word back to your language using a resource like Word Reference. (I always tell my students to avoid Google Translate, because the translation is often inaccurate). Seeing the word in your own language might bring some context to it and help you understand it. But try your best not to make this a habit. Using an English dictionary will help you progress faster, and it will also help you stop translating in your head.
Practice the Word You Learned
Now that you understand the meaning of the word, it’s time to start practicing it. Try writing down a variety of sentences with the word to see how it’s applied to everyday English.
Then, once you’re more comfortable with using it, begin applying the word to the context of your own life and conversations with friends, family, and colleagues. When you use the words to talk about your own experiences, with time, your brain will make the connections it needs to remember them.
Make an Instagram Collection
Instagram lets you save posts, which are then visible in a feed made just for you. If you liked any of the panels I shared from the comics, why not save them? You can come back to them as many times as you want until you learn the meaning of the words in each comic.
Who says learning English has to be boring? The ten comics I shared are all great for improving the language. Whether you prefer comics about raising children, getting through adulthood, sharing friendship, or life’s everyday trials, you can pick up new words in an exciting, engaging way. You’ll enjoy yourself so much you may even forget you’re learning.
Have fun learning English with comics!