I'm in trial tomorrow, so some Friday afternoon club fodder will have to come today. Today's topic: Free Manga.
Netcomics offers free teaser Korean magna (in English translation) and fairly low priced download versions. Tokyopop offers teasers and fan fiction. Onemanga.com, the online version of Viz, which translates and distributes Japanese manga in the United States, clearly tops the list with entirely free manga just an issue behind those in print. Strawberry Comics is a smaller, women's, primarily web comic group. Studio Antithesis is a similar venture (co-ed, I think), but has been in a bit of productivity slump lately.
Manga Mania Cafe is a good place to look if you are too befuddled to know where to start and want reviews and industry news. The blog Webcomics are from Uranus offers a more thoughtful take on the field.
There are of course, various sites that index or host webcomics which are always free and only come in print versions as an afterthought. Buzzcomix is probably the best. Another is Topwebcomics, which for mysterious reasons has much more inertia (one of its constant top three comics updates only irregularly every few weeks). The Romance 100 flails a little, but offs links to more obscure titles in the genre. Online comics offers a long list (and is more open to adult offerings), but less guidance in a sea of comics which is full of subpar amateur efforts, in addition to many notable professional except for the money comics in the field. Drunk Duck is a hosting site and community, rather than just an index, and even has its own version of the Oscars -- Drunk Duck's awards are second only to the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards, which in addition to recognizing fine web comics is also one of the best ways to tap into independent ventures that choose not to affiliate with indexing sites.
Stand Alone Web Manga
The television show Heroes also does remarkably well in the free media department, with full episodes available for weeks after shows are aired, and its own parallel manga, complete with an innovative feature that displays the comic slideshow style, giving it the feel of animiation without the cost.
One notable stand alone free webcomic is Freak Angels by Warren Ellis. Another is PhD Comics about the academic life. And then, there is a manga of the United States Navy.