Author: Ariel Slamet Ries
Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Oni Press
Review Copy: Library
Availability: Available now
Summary: In the witch kingdom Hyalin, the strength of your magic is determined by the length of your hair. Those that are strong enough are conscripted by the Witch Guard, who enforce the law in peacetime and protect the land during war. However, those with hair judged too long are pronounced enemies of the kingdom, and annihilated. This is called a witch burning.
Witchy is a comic about the young witch Nyneve, who is haunted by the death of her father and the threat the Witch Guard poses to her own life. When conscription rolls around, Nyneve has a choice to make; join the institution complicit in her father’s death, or stand up for her ideals? [Image and summary via Goodreads]
Review: I’ve had Witchy on my to-read list for a while, back when it was available solely as a webcomic. The art is just stunning, which was the main draw for me. When I found out what it was about, I knew I had to read it — and happily, you can now get it in print form! Creator Ariel Ries tweeted out in October of 2019, “Read Witchy, my good and fun comic about queer Asian witches, strange birds, and cool mums.” I’m not sure what else there is to say about such an incredible comic, but I’ll do my best to muddle through it.
Witchy follows one Nyneve, who has grown up beneath the shadow her father’s death at the hands of the Witch Guard — one that she might be conscripted to join. In the kingdom of Hyalin, your magic ability is measured by the length of your hair. The longer your hair, the stronger you are. But if you’re too powerful, the Witch Guard considers you a threat. Nyneve must grapple with her past and how to survive in Hyalin.
It’s an incredibly compelling story, one that grips you from the first page. The worldbuilding is layered and fascinating. On top of that, it’s super queer and has breathtaking art. Oh, and there’s a talking bird. What more could you want? This is a comic featuring queer Asian witches, which is awesome and would get my support based on that fact alone. But in addition to that, the worldbuilding, story, and art are just out of this world.
I’m looking forward to the sequel, if there is one, and if there isn’t, I’ll be following the comic closely online! Witchy is a must-read and a must-buy — the queer Asian witches, talking bird, and kickass mom are reason enough.
Recommendation: Buy it now!