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Why Phoenix Requiem is my favourite online comic, and why you should read it

Phoenix Requiem is a fairly old online comic which ended in 2010, created by the wonderful Sarah Ellerton. During this era of the Internet, it was a wonderful to read independent online comics, and Phoenix Requiem captured my imagination. It is a wonderful example of worldbuilding and the supernatural genre, blended with a strong fantasy-Victorian feel.

Worldbuilding in comics

There is no wrong or right way to showcase your lore in the comic form, but your choices will affect the nature of the audience you pull into your work. A few pages into Phoenix Requiem, you are introduced to an important main character who will provide a great deal of intrigue to the plot, as he staggers and faints towards the main setting. You are also introduced to a festival called All Souls Night, with beautiful artwork which shows you how children celebrate and play on the festival without having to tell you.

Anya, the protagonist, has a conversation about All Souls’ Night with the professor.

“All Souls’ Night! Best night of the year, wouldn’t you say?”

“The children are having fun.”

The Professor – Phoenix Requiem, written by Sarah Ellerton

This dialogue tells us that All Souls’ Night is a festival that is enjoyed by many of the local people, especially the children.

“Do you think they still believe in spirits?”

“Of course! As I’m sure you would have done as a child.”

“We have our own deity in Mishara, Professor.
Magic is a myth, not part of our education.
I can see the appeal though. It’d make being a doctor much easier.”

Anya and the Professor – Phoenix Requiem, written by Sarah Ellerton

This quote gives us a lot of information about Anya. We know now that she is not necessarily local to the setting, and that where she is from, there are different perspectives on religion and magic. We also find out that Anya is working or is training in the medical profession.

I feel this style of worldbuilding is very engaging. I love enjoying the beautiful pictures that do not necessarily need dialogue to support it, yet I also love learning about the world through casual conversation rather than direct autobiographical sharing.

Take extra note of the clothing of the characters, the styles of buildings and the tools the characters use. These stylistic choices create the fantasy-Victorian charm that is fun to read through.

The Story

The story centres upon Anya Katsukova, a trainee doctor, and a mysterious man, Jonas Faulkner. Anya is determined to complete her training to be a doctor, but her journey is not an easy one. Not only does she have to fight the sexism in society and her upbringing, but she also has to fight a mysterious and terrifying illness that plagues the village.

That’s all I’ll say to that, but you should definitely read the story.

Do you read online comics? What online comics are your favourites?


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