Creators: Melissa Capriglione & Clara W. Publisher: Self-published
WHAT IS IT?
This is a regularly updated free webcomic collected into single issues. It's a fresh and enchanting take on the young adult mystery sub-genre where a teen loner starts at a magical and mysterious boarding school and balances making friends and developing a social life with solving the old school's mysteries.
While it's so far less overtly magical than Harry Potter or The Magicians, but also less demon-heavy (I guess it's "Demon Light"?) than the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series of video games, it does feel heavily influenced by this media.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Cei, a young trans boy, is starting as a freshman at the mysterious and prestigious Falconhyrste boarding school. After he sees something strange and magical in the forest one evening, he sets out to find out more about it. But what he didn’t expect is that the strange thing in the forest might want to find out more about HIM, too... Meanwhile, another student at the school and leader of the Journalism Club, Octavia, needs a big, groundbreaking story in order to save the club...and be taken seriously. And that story might just be connected to the odd, quiet, pink-haired girl who's also new to the school What mysteries will Cei, Octavia and their friends dig up in a school filled with mysteries?
The story is immediately engrossing
It's an old, mysterious school and lonely, single teenagers -- how could this not be the best thing ever?
Incredibly LGBTQIA+-inclusive with a whole spectrum of skin tones
Has full color, which isn't always present in indie comics
The comic isn't afraid of quiet moments without dialogue or exposition, which is uncommon in a lot of comics by newer creators
Friendly for all ages
Page numbers! I love page numbers!
Thoughtful, beautiful art and panel design
Panels shaped to match the scene's environment
Using the iPhone's clock design to mark time
Varying color palettes for scenes, objects & locations
Thoughtful transitions between scenes
Definite anime/manga influences
It's free if you keep up with the webcomic
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Not sure how to pronounce "Cei"?
Though called out in summaries, I don't recall anywhere in the actual comic where Cei being trans is actually mentioned, so you might miss this fact (which doesn't hurt the story one bit, but it's nice for inclusion's sake)
Sometimes, because of color, the SFX blend with and get lost in the background (at least, when I read on iPhone)
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Falconhyrste seems like it'd be right at home in a portfolio of BOOM! Studios comics. It's fun and mysterious, beautiful and youth-accessible, magical and thoughtful in its representation. And it's completely addicting. Definitely check it out if you're the magical boarding school type, and honestly, even if you're not.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Runaways: The Complete Collection, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan, Adrian Alphona & Takeshi Miyazawa
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Stevenson, Ellis, Watters & Allen
Courtney Crumrin, Vol. 1 by Ted Naifeh & Warren Wucinich
If you like the art:
Falconhyrste, issues #5+ by Melissa Capriglione & Clara W.
Brave Chef Brianna by Sam Sykes & Selina Epiritu
Archival Quality by Ivy Noelle Weir & Steenz
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Melissa Capriglione – Co-writer, Inker, Colorist
New Face: Though originally featured as a webcomic, this seems to be Melissa's first full-length comic!
She's a recent college graduate
Multitalented: She can write AND illustrate, something you don't often see in comics
Typically writes more of the dramatic parts of Falconhyrste
Clara W. – Co-writer, Penciller & Letterer
New Face: This is also Clara's first full-length comic!
Influenced by Noelle Stevenson, Leslie Hung, Jen Zee, David Aja, and Matt Hollingsworth
Writes more of the humorous bits of Falconhyrste
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.
All Melissa Capriglione & Clara W. characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Melissa Capriglione & Clara W. or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED