Webcomic Wednesdays: Widdershins

If you’re a resident of West Yorkshire, England, you know better than to visit Widdershins.  It’s a quaint little town, to be sure, but there’s been some strange events recently, so best avoid it.  Especially if you know one of the Barbers.

The Barber clan is well -known throughout Widdershins as they always seem to be at the center of magical events, especially Harriett “Harry” Barber, a Hunter of magical items.  By accident, she becomes involved in a mix-up with one Sidney Malik, a wizard expelled from university due to a magical malady involving kleptomania.  Though she usually works alone, Harry begins to find Sidney of some use in her work.  Meanwhile, sister Nicola Barber, Police Captain, is dealing with her own problems, as two new arrivals to Widdershins have stirred up trouble with the magical summonings.   The two arrivals, Jack O’Malley and Heinrich Wolfe, would prefer lying low and making money, but Jack’s odd gift for seeing spirits makes him very valuable in police work.  And when the spirits of the Seven Deadly Sins begin causing a stir, Harry and Nicola will need to call in all the Barbers to deal with the problem.  After all, family sticks together.

The Barber Family

Created by Kate Ashwin, Widdershins takes place in an alternate Victorian-era England, with Queen Victoria herself making a cameo at one point.  Despite its historical settings, the characters are an nontraditional group.  The cast is a mix of colors, creeds, races, and sexual orientations, with a strong emphasis on women as the leads.  Unlike typical fantasy media, the stories are written in a no-nonsense voice, the format allowing humor to shine through when the practical citizens of Widdershins are confronted with strange and unusual happenings.  Magic is an everyday occurrence which must be kept in check, as too much will throw life off-balance; this lends an almost scientific bent to the fantasy, which plays well within the world.  Besides summoning and spells, there is time travel, pocket dimensions, and possession, along with mainstays of British culture, such as tea.

Summoned creatures, called malforms

Ashwin’s art follows the usual tropes of magical vs non-magical, where the humans and ordinary plane are realistic in design with only a little exaggeration in proportion and scale for artistic purposes, while the magical creatures summoned by wizards are wild and bizarre in shape and form.  Most of the creatures, known as malforms, are manic in action, but the deadly seven are quite elegant in design, showing their status as the top troublemakers.  Ashwin adds a personal touch by having the font for the Seven match their color scheme.

Widdershins is a magical adventure comic about a small English town with big problems.  Read it at widdershinscomic.com.

Sarah Pendergraft

Sarah Pendergraft is a writer who enjoys webcomics, so she decided to combine the two and become a reviewer.

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