Claire is a nun who wishes she could have a pet cat. One day, while sitting on the toilet, she meets Gabriel the archangel who tells her she is carrying God’s child, and must raise the child outside the abbey. As the pregnancy progresses, Claire learns of a once-dead witch, The Horned One, who seems to figure prominently in her past. In the meantime Sister Catherine, Claire’s mentor, is possessed by an evil cat spirit, who wants to steal Claire away from the abbey. Luckily, fellow nuns and twins Rosalie and Marie step in as Claire’s bodyguards, providing both magic and swordsmanship. Pursued by evil spirits and a team of warrior nuns, Claire sets off for adventure while carrying the unborn of the Almighty.
The Cerebus Syndrome, coined from David Sim’s comic Cerebus, describes superficial comics or characters gradually developing into serious and dramatic entities as the story progresses, essentially ending with a completely different product than in the beginning. Sister Claire, written and drawn by Yamino, fits this definition well. The comic begins as a surreal comic with oddball characters popping in and out of the background as the bizarre story line unfolds. Towards the end of the first book, the plot thickens into a more coherent story, the characters evolving from silly one-liners to complex individuals. The writing is a blend of fantasy and realism with anachronistic elements, a world that is both magic and technology driven. As most characters are nuns, the cast is almost exclusively female, and the male characters included do not see the women as weaker.
The progression from silly to serious is helped by the Missing Moments, written by Ash, Yamino’s writing partner. The main comic began in 2008 as a solo project; by 2013, Yamino and Ash became co-developers of the story. The addition of the Missing Moments is a backdoor allowing larger character development but skipping a heavy rewriting of the comic’s mythos; the entries consist of short stories, journal entries, and letters, slowly revealing different aspects of character personalities and relationships.
The art, as expected, has evolved with the story. In the first nine chapters, the drawing is reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls franchise: head and eyes different in proportion to the rest of the body and simple details in background and architecture. Often, background and secondary characters are parodies of popular culture and geek characters. As the story matured, so did the art. The characters and backgrounds have a maturity to them, with greater detail and reality in drawing, though still paired with colors and tones befitting depictions of a fantasy world. The Missing Moments are also illustrated, but done in a sketch-book style, with softer lines and colors. The action is well-drawn, depicting different styles of fighting, as is the emotions portrayed by the characters who are ever-changing and growing with their story.
If the summary for Sister Claire sounds strange, well yes it is, and it’s only getting better. The comic updates Mondays and Fridays, with Missing Moments updating Tuesday and Thursday. You can read it at SisterClaire.com.