For anyone who hates that Halloween only comes once a year, Forever Autumn is a perfect fix. It’s the story of a witch who meets a vampire, and all hell breaks loose.
Alice is an apprentice witch and a klutz, avoided by all members of the Bat Coven. But finally, her master allows her to buy a bat, whose blood is needed to magic Alice’s broom to fly. But the bat is really Miki, a vampire caught in a raid. Thought to be extinct, all witches are taught vampires were nothing more than blood-sucking shapeshifters, now the stuff of legend. Though shocked, Alice agrees to help Miki return to her den and family. But along the way, Alice begins to learn the true history of the Bat Coven, and the witches’ relations with vampires, leading to questions she never thought to ask.
Aisleen Romano, the creator, has written a comic where the very real discussion about racism, prejudice, and cultural clashes is set in a fictional world of magic and monsters. To Alice, having grown up in the coven, bats owe a debt to witches, and must pay with their lives. For Miki, it means thousands of her people have been trapped and killed. The comic is mostly dialogue between Alice and Miki, showing how cultural understanding comes about. Alice can be quite mulish, insisting her viewpoints are right, but continues to ask questions and listen to Miki’s story, allowing her viewpoint on witch history to slowly change. Conversely, Miki dislikes Alice’s constant misinformation, and her glib acceptance, but does appreciate the young witch is at least asking questions and listening.
Romano juxtaposes simple shapes for the characters against detailed backdrops. The coven’s village is reminiscent of a rural hamlet, albeit with creepy undertones. The witches all more or less wear the same dress, caplet, and pointed hat, the typical costume. It is Miki’s design that is against type, swathed in a one piece that is part cloak, part bodysuit. While the witches all look human (with a few exceptions), Miki is a mixture of elongated bat features with human attributes. There is a slight exaggeration when it comes to Alice’s design, similar to the magic-girl art where the characters look younger than they are. It serves as a lovely contradiction, the wild looking Miki, serious and tetchy, versus the gullible and happy-go-lucky childlike Alice.
A cute looking cartoon with a cunning message and spooky settings, Forever Autumn is a delight to read. Follow Alice and Miki’s adventures at Forever-Autumn-comic.