By Elsa Kroese & Charlotte E. English
LINK | Updates Thu

My favorite way of reading comics is in bulk. I find a new webcomic, get hooked, and emerge a few sleepless nights later, slowly remembering there are other things to do in life. The story is much easier to follow and to get immersed in, and silly jokes tend to be funnier around 4:30 AM.

However, there is something to be said for following a comic from its early stages. You get to see the story unfold slowly and deliberately. You get to know the characters. You get to score indie/hipster points by saying you were reading it before it was cool. And sometimes, if it’s exceptionally beautiful, reveling in each and every page for a whole week is not so bad.

Spindrift is really fucking beautiful.

Our main character, Morwenna Agenar, is a half-breed – half noble, winged Alar, and half aggressive, horned Ildrei. She lives with her Alar uncle and cousin, but as an outcast, since the Alar are quite horribly racist about the whole half-breed thing. Her father discovers her existence and decides to use her for his war effort, makes her commit a crime, her proud warrior brother rushes to her defense, insert generic fantasy trope here.

You might have noticed through my complex veil of subtle hints that I’m less enthusiastic than usual about the story. The plot itself is – so far – fine, but not great. Seasoned fantasy readers won’t encounter anything entirely unfamiliar, and the plethora of invented names can grow a bit tiresome. However, the key phrase is “so far”: Spindrift’s archive, at time of writing, contains fewer than 100 pages. The story’s just getting started! And it does have the potential to grow into quite an epic and thrilling one. Furthermore, it’s evident that a lot of thought has gone into the world and its inhabitants, most of which is yet to be revealed in the story – but can be glimpsed in separate info pages. In the meantime, the writing definitely gets the job done and encourages you to read on.

From Spindrift 1/09

So what does set Spidrift apart from every other fantasy comic? Well, have I mentioned that it’s really fucking beautiful? The comic is the brainchild of Ella Kroese, who draws it (and came up with the basic story), and her love and passion for it flow through every page. Most webcomics take time to hone their art quality and style – enough of them so that it’s my first tip for reading webcomics – and if that’s true in this case, I’m going to need every square inch of wall in my house for strip prints. Ella’s page 1 of the prologue is already gorgeous. Every panel in every page is detailed, the character design is striking and clear – and so, the visuals make the story much richer and more captivating.

The downside of this is that, well, it takes time: only one strip is published per week, so even though the first strip was published in 2011, the archive is very small. I read through it in a single afternoon, and will now join longtime fans in waiting a long week between every strip. However, if that’s the time it takes to create such a work of art – I’ll gladly wait.

From Spindrift 2/77

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