This queer Asian witch is growing out her hair to save her father.

Witchy, a new webcomic by Ariel Ries, follows a queer South Asian witch named Nyneve (Nin-eev) who lives in the witch kingdom Hyalin. In Hyalin, the strength of a witch’s magic is determined by the length of his or her hair. The strongest witches join the Witch Guard, a law-enforcing order that keeps the peace during wartime.

But witches who grow their hair too long become too powerful, and are marked as enemies of the state. The Witch Guard annihilates these enemies in an execution called a witch burning. Haunted by the execution of her father and conscripted by the Witch Guard organization who killed him, Nyneve has a choice to make: Should she join the organization that murdered her father or take a stand against the government?

Witchy updates every Monday. Four chapters and hundreds of pages are available so far, so spend a few hours getting caught up in the archive before the next update.

Ries hand-draws each comic. She’s an animation student in Melbourne, Australia.

In addition to putting together her thesis film, Ries is in the process of collecting Witchy Chapters 1-3 into a print volume.

She draws her comics quite large (A4) in order to make all of her uploads high-resolution. Her work has evolved since she began drawing the comic in 2014: She drew the first 20 pages with a dip pen and deleter ink on manga paper, then used Photoshop, and now works primarily with Manga Studio 5 using customized brushes.

No one in Witchy is white. The kingdom of Hyalin is a melting pot of East Asian, South Asian and Oceanic cultures. Although Nyneve is a young adult (age 18), this series is darker than typical Young Adult novels.

Witchy won a 2015 Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic and a 2016 DINKy Award for Outstanding Web Comic.

Check out the comic here, and look at Ries’ other projects here.

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