Author: Atla Hrafney

Strangers in Paradise Rantrospective Part 3: The Weathered Stepping Stone

Content Warning: This retrospective mentions abuse and sexual assault. It’s time for the finale of this rantrospective on Strangers in Paradise. From the characters to the execution of the premise, a lot of it falls flat on its face, and this time it’s not different. The third major problem that the comic talks about, but fumbles horribly: Francine and Katchoo’s bisexuality. Both of these women have been shown to like women and men to different degrees, Katchoo being mostly into girls, and Francine mostly into men. Of course, there’s plenty of terms one could use to describe their feelings...

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Strangers in Paradise Rantrospective Part 2: The Bermuda Love Triangle

The last time we met, Strangers in Paradise was brought up as a cornerstone of comics, albeit a cornerstone weathered to the point of being riddled with holes. We started discussing some of the issues present in the series, including the toxic nature of Katchoo’s character arc. Unfortunately, once you hit a certain word count for your articles the editors at WWAC start aiming a red laser pointer at your head and pretend it’s a sniper rifle until you shove off. This time, we’ll be tackling the incredibly botched nature of the love triangle itself. See, this comic started in 1993,...

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Strangers in Paradise Rantrospective Part 1: She Will Never Break This Chain

Content Warning: this retrospective mentions abuse and sexual assault If I were to do a quick Google search, I could find webcomics featuring anything I can imagine: gay centaur Westerns, wild overarching epics with diverse casts, and autobiographical tales featuring authors of almost every gender, sexuality, and race. While comic books on the direct market keep slowing in sales, the realm of webcomics has brought on fantastic new niches. I could probably list any Universal Monster and find at least one queer webcomic made by someone who greatly thirsts for Boris Karloff. This was a long time coming. In the...

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You’re a Comedian: Trans Characters and Jokes in “Comic” Books

You’re a comedian. You’ve been working in the comedy business for a few years, getting a few laughs here and there with your crude style. Things have been good thus far, and you’re feeling more and more confident in your dark humor. In fact, you’re in a whole new city with one of your first scheduled shows. Nervously and excitedly you walk to the center of the stage while practicing the opening lines in your head one more time. A heavy knot sets in your stomach. You realize that this isn’t your regular audience. You’re looking at waves of...

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The “Reveal” of Trans Characters in Comics

A year or so ago, I was going to write Diamond Jack, an urban fantasy comic featuring a stage magician who reluctantly was given actual magical powers. It read somewhat like if Zatanna and John Constantine had a baby, and until the artist had to take a sudden leave of absence, it was looking like a pretty fun, engaging story. Despite that, there was one problem I just couldn’t wrap my head around: the main character was transgender, and I had no idea how to showcase this to the audience. In trying to figure out how, I later discovered...

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