A nice thing about webcomics is being able to watch an artist’s skills improve over time. Take Dresden Codak by Aaron Diaz, for instance. When it started back in 2005, the drawing was quirky but kind of primitive. Thankfully, the writing was clever — in some installments extremely so (such as Codaakies which is a nice little riff on the Maakies format, and Secular Heaven). And that’s a good thing because the art wasn’t worth sticking around for.

Then in 2007, Diaz’ skills of an artist took a massive quantum leap forward with the start of the Hob storyline. And then they took another one in 2009. Nowadays, I think Dresden Codak is probably the most gorgeous piece of work online.

And while I love reading it, it can be frustrating sometimes. It’s such a mad goulash of science, science fiction, fantasy literature, nerd culture and undergrad philosophy that it can be hard to keep up. I only just barely stayed afloat through that aforementioned Hob story — it really needed a raftload of footnotes or a couple pages of exposition between installments if it really wanted to be coherent.

But then, he puts out these perfectly conceived and executed one-shots like Lantern Season, Harvet Ismuth’s 42 Essential 3rd Act Twists, Dungeons and Discourse, Caveman Science Fiction and the Sleepwalkers and I’m all like, “Holy crap, this Diaz kid is an effing genius.”

And it’s all there on the internets for free!

P.S. Seeing as yesterday was Darwin Day, you should also check out the guest comic he did for webcomic superstar Kate Beaton, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Darwin.