Media Spotlight: Hemlock
Hemlock is a webcomic that began in June 2010, beautifully written and illustrated by Joceline Fenton. It’s about a witch named Lumi, and the colorful cast of characters that surround her. Among these are fellow witch Ulla and the three sons of Baba Yaga. The story begins after the death of Lumi’s familiar, Suul, and her acquisition of a new familiar in the form of Tristan Grodkropp. Tristian is having a bit of trouble, in that he’s a human soul in a three-eyed frog’s body.
While the overall story is slow, it’s a delight for the eyes and the imagination. Fenton’s later illustrations are done entirely in ink brush—which never fails to boggle my mind. The details are gorgeous, and the scenery and costumes are delightful. The cost? Not a penny. Hemlock is free online, but available in print format from lulu.com. I bought Book 1 when it first came out, but I’m sorely tempted to buy the same book with the second cover. It fits better with my set of 2-4.
What exactly is going on in Hemlock? Well, Lumi is in a bit of trouble with the current ‘King of Witches’ and…well…what seems to be the rest of the witches on earth. I won’t spoil the story. Just know that this isn’t going to be a fast-paced action webcomic. It takes a leisurely pace, with plenty of beautiful world building evident in every character and location.
Regardless of whether you are or are not an artist in addition to a witch, it’s easy to appreciate the growth from Ms. Fenton’s first page of Hemlock to her most recent. Her growth as both a writer and artist is even more startling from her first publication, Circle, when compared to Hemlock. If anything, it’s a testament to the fact that persistence, practice, and hard work pay off over time. It inspires me to keep trying, even when I feel like I’m not making much progress.
So while Hemlock probably does not represent any of our traditions, it is still a gem and a true delight as well as a beautiful interpretation of witches and witchcraft.
Give Hemlock a read, and let me know what you think of it in the comments. If you were in the Hemlock universe, what type of familiar do you think you would have?