“FTFY.” (From dresdencodak on Tumblr.)
There are plenty of folks who don’t fall into clear categories of “male” and “female,” but the protagonist of Chloë Dalquist’s Jamie the Trickster falls on both ends of the spectrum. Able to shift from apparently male to apparently female at will, Jamie is on a mission to change the world, but needs to find the man and woman destined to help that change along.
So far I’m most enjoying the bit in the middle which introduces Manny, who may be the man Jamie is looking for; Vincent, his fourteen-year-old son; and Tye, the flamboyantly-dressed but painfully-shy hitchhiker they picked up, all of whom seem to be on a collision course with Jamie.
The art is good overall — if characters are occasionally notably off-model from panel to panel, it’s made up for by the strong lines and good use of color. Like many webcomic artists, Chloë appears to be learning as she goes, and the art gets stronger and more confident as the comic progresses. (This is something I’ve always liked about the webcomic medium. I admire their artists’ commitment to growing and learning in public — there’s no net to fall back on and no way to unpublish once the comic is up on the web, and the lower barrier to entry means that things go up much rawer than they do in commercial comics.)
The writing is also good. The dialogue doesn’t always flow quite as well as I’d like it to, but the characters have strong individual voices, and I’m curious to learn more about them and what they’re up to. And they have interesting problems — Manny is a single father, and he’s just committed to driving his niece across state lines so she can get an abortion — without those problems being either trivialized or magnified to the point of taking over the comic. It’s overall a lighthearted comic about reasonable people living normal lives in the middle of a somewhat absurd situation.
So I like the characters, I want to get to know them better, and I want to find out where the story goes. If, like Todd, I’m sometimes not quite sure what I’ve signed up for, I’m willing to keep following it. It’s an enjoyable ride along the way.