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In Aureate City, wings are everything. They connect the Alar with their goddess and allow the people to remain isolated from the rest of the world. Theirs is a peaceful, if banal, life. Until a half-breed girl named Morwenna tries to take a pair of wings for herself. Outraged, the goddess revokes the use of the wings, and the citizens of Aureate are plunged into fear and chaos. But it isn’t Morwenna’s fault for taking the wings. Half Ildrei, a race from outside the mountains, she is connected to a strange power known as the Spindrift. When her father, Ildrei pack leader Neburas Rugon, discovers the connection, he decides to use it to his advantage. Now Morewenna is caught between two rival factions, neither of which is accepting of a hated half-breed. With the gods Alarína and Ildrus watching their followers, things could become desperate in the land of Orbani.
Begun in 2011, Spindrift is a high-fantasy comic centering on a young woman and her mysterious family. Elsa Kroese is in charge of the art and the story, with Charlotte E. English as writer. At first glance, the art is similar to the designs found in popular videos games, such as World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy, displaying Kroese’s experience with illustration and video game design. In keeping with the aesthetic, her characters have minute details and bright colors, contrasting with the backdrops, which by themselves could double as landscape paintings. Her use of light and shadow is excellent, the realism complementing the fantasy in a perfect balance. Kroese’s art gives the readers a tactile sensation, as if one could simply reach into the pages and actually touch the characters.
Besides fleshing out the story line, English is a published novelist, with twelve novels under her belt. Unlike in games or other media, where the story tends to mire in extreme details or drag out a secret with half-answers, her characters are blunt and to the point, leaving enough mystery for the reader to chew on, but not so much it frustrates the story. Her characters have a good balance of development and charisma, so they come across as three-dimensional, but do not hog the story. In the two societies presented so far, men and women have equal status, with no visible gender or sex restrictions. As well, the characters are complex, making difficult choices, despite the loss of family, friends, and security. The warriors’ fighting has depth, while the more cosmopolitan characters think beyond their city limits, refusing to accept blind obedience. And though outnumbered by males, the main female characters are confident in their choices, choosing to deal with the consequences, rather than suffer in regret. A nice change of pace from the usual “eye-candy” found in gaming-style media and art. There is very little violence, most of it implied or off-screen, but some nudity and sex scenes, so a NSFW rating is advised.
The comic is only on the second chapter, and from the extra additions of a world atlas, there will hopefully be more to come, with the characters traveling to far-away lands for further adventures. You can read the comic at Spindrift.com, where it updates weekly.