My 13 year old son and I just spent a fun and funny 45 minutes exploring ToonDoo. While I haven't spent the hours and hours on it that I can foresee, it was intuitive enough to create this cute guy in our first 45 minutes.
You can use the preset characters, backgrounds and props or you can create your own characters. The extent of free options to choose from seems endless but the very best part is that the characters can change poses and facial expressions. Even the characters you create yourself can change, which surprised me.
The storytelling, retell, artistic, body and facial exploration options with this are so endless that I don't need to expound much on the ways kids can be creative with ToonDoo. Younger kids can do a simple one frame face and explore different emotions without having to add text. Older children can write full comic strips and then convert them into books. I love the idea ToonDoo offered to have language students write a comic strip in the foreign language!
The site is free for individual users with an option to buy for easier use in schools and groups. The paying option is called ToonDoo Spaces and allows for security and content moderation as well as creating multiple users without needing e-mail addresses. Teachers and parents, in the paying option there is a note that says you can, "block inappropriate content." I didn't see any inappropriate content but I didn't look at every single picture so you may want to explore it more fully than I have before you show it to students or your children.
I hope you enjoy this idea and let me know what you do with it.