Using CompuServe in the 80's and 90's comics needed to be downloaded to a user's hard drive and then viewed. In 1993 early webcomic creators were able to use an early browser called Mosaic which allowed them to share their comics in JPG and GIF formats.
Since webcomics can be published by anyone online and it's inexpensive or free for creators to make their work available on the internet, the barrier for authorship is lower. This creates a community of creators that come from more diverse backgrounds who have unique and interesting stories to tell. It is not uncommon for webcomics to end up with a formal publisher and then becoming a print comic or graphic novel.
There are literally thousands of high-quality webcomics freely available online. Unsure of how to get started with reading them? Here are a few suggested starting points:
You can check out any of these graphic novels from the Ray Howard Library. All of these publications were webcomics first.