Robin Hood values are steeped in Dead Scholars’ Whispers and Shaderunners, two free heist webcomics.
When the going gets tough, sometimes it’s necessary to take extreme measures. Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor and a host of heist stories have since explored what it means to take from the elite to uplift the outcasts. Besides direct adaptations, Robin Hood’s values are also reflected in a number of novels, films, and webcomics.
The latter represent the poor in yet another way, as most webcomic creators produce their work for free. They are also, often, marginalized creators who are severely underrepresented in mainstream comics. This weekend, try diving into two free heist webcomics that explore elitism and disenfranchisement.
Murmurs of the Dead Scholars by EN Tót
A rogue thief named Anka keeps breaking into a huge library in the town of Westerport, where magic is banned for life safety. Jethro Keep corners Anka in the middle of the night asking him what he’s doing and how he got in, but it’s not going well. From there, Anka comes into contact with a mysterious artifact that brings her much grief. despite all his efforts, he can’t help dragging his loved ones into the mess.
Whispers of the Dead Scholars by EN Early embodies the Robin Hood spirit through angular characters, beautiful use of light and shadow, and plenty of lively dialogue. The story is just getting started and it’s definitely worth bookmarking, although it does explore some mature themes, so proceed with caution if that’s not your bag.
Available at deadscholarscomic.com, no update schedule set
Shaderunners by Alex Assan and Lin Darrow
After color disappeared from the world a millennium ago, the world became completely monochromatic. Then archaeologists made an incredible discovery in Queen Sorizahana’s tomb and now the wealthy elite – known as the Gilts and Inks – are selling and buying color at a high price, while those who don’t have no money to burn continue in black, white and shades of gray. At least most of them do. Then there’s a group of smugglers – made up of a gutter rat, an opera singer, a philosopher, a puppeteer, a naval officer, and a hopeless romantic – who steal the color from the rich because it shouldn’t belong to anyone. Their goal is to make sure the working class and the poor at least see the color, even if they can’t use it.
Shaderunnerswritten by Lin Darrow and illustrated by Alex Assan, is a Prohibition-era webcomic that explores classism and immigration through the lens of color as a commodity worth bleeding into. The pages rarely feature color – such is the premise – but Assan’s use of light and shadow compensates for this. The characters have dynamic expressions and unique body language and Darrow nails the speech patterns of the era. There are enough recognizable elements of real history to ground the story, which is an amazing read on every level.
Available at shaderunners.com, updated Sundays and Wednesdays
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