"It's nice, living in a city. No
snow, no cold
wind, no hot summer. No three different wardrobes to keep up with. Air scrubbers on every corner, and all the sun you want from the streetlamps. No bugs in your food and no rats in your walls and no big crime surge after dark because there
isn't any dark. Just shut off your windows when you decide you've had enough.
weeks , nice neat and dependable, and tons of tings going on to fill all those hours up, and a nice quiet nest to retreat back to. No more neighborhoods out in the open with big walls around them and razor wire and broken glass on top of 'em. No more armed guards and gunfire at night. No more living in a glorified root cellar because we're too afraid to live in the house itself. Everything above ground and I
don't just mean the buildings."
Independent comic book described by the creator as "aboriginal sci-fi", although perhaps better described as "people in a weird world with very human problems."
Strange creatures, Lost Technology
and bizarre customs regularly crop up in rich detail, but they're all eerily familiar and serve as the backdrop to tales of love, hate, confusion and seeking.
Think of it as Slice of Life Embellished
, with the embellishment cranked Up to Eleven
, then taught to play nice and not upstage Slice of Life
. The stories are focused on (or at least tangentially related to) Jaeger, a member of the title order of Finders.
Several issues and two complete storylines can be read at the creator's website
have recently begun publishing Finder, releasing the bulk of the existing stories as two omnibus 'Library' volumes.
Stories so far:
- Sin-Eater (two volumes): Jaeger returns to the city of Anvard and discovers that Emma Grosvenor, his on-off girlfriend, and her children are in danger from her mentally-disturbed estranged husband, who is Jaeger's former commanding officer who Jaeger is still in contact with.
- King of the Cats: Jaeger travels to the city-cum-theme-park of Munkytown to help arrange a peace deal between his own nomadic Ascian people and the Nyima, a culture of humanised lions.
- Talisman: Emma Grosvenor's youngest daughter, Marcie, struggles with the fall out of Sin-Eater and her own developing writing talent.
- Dream Sequence: Magri White is the creator and, via brain-computer integration, human server of Anvard's most popular MMORPG. But something in his mind has started to attack his guests...
- Mystery Date: Vary, a high-class prostitute and anthropology student, has to deal with cultural issues and her attraction to both of her academic supervisors.
- The Rescuers: The baby son of one of Anvard's wealthiest men is abducted and murdered, and Jaeger attempts to ensure that some kind of justice is done.
- Five Crazy Women: Jaeger confides in a gay buddy about the problems of heterosexual dating.
- Voice: Rachel Grosvenor, Emma's eldest child, tries to win full acceptance in her mother's clan despite her half-breed status.
- Torch (apparently on hiatus; the story so far can be found here.)
- Third World (currently running in Dark Horse Presents)
This comic book series provides examples of:
- After the End: Word of God has said this is technically the case, but the End happened a loooooong time ago and it's not at all important.
- All of the Other Reindeer: As a half-breed, a Finder (a member of a greatly revered secret society) and a Sin-Eater (a religious caste of untouchables), Jaeger is simultaneously outcast from his own people and essential to their culture. No wonder he spends so much time away from them. Fellow Finder Chief Coward puts it best - "Contradictions make the best stories, but in daily life, people can't stand them."
- All There in the Manual: the endnotes in the collected editions clarify a great deal about some of the more enigmatic worldbuilding details and character motivations.
- Amateur Sleuth: "Finders solve problems and break trail, that's all."
- In the Rescuers story, Jaeger is willing to assist the professional investigator of a kidnapping, but both parties are frustrated that Jaeger's talents and methods would never be admissable, and his social status makes bringing him on much too awkward, leaving both of them hamstrung. Jaeger vents his frustration on his fellow Ascians, who could easily do the same feat of tracking, and they eventually do, administering some harsh vigilante justice.
- Rachel has to become one in Voice, ironically enough so that she can track down Jaeger so he can help her recover her ring.
- Ancient Tradition: The society of Finders stands apart from their native cultures, in order to see them as outsiders do, and there are specific customs to enlist their help.
- Battle in the Center of the Mind: Magri versus his Enemy Within, who happens to look like Jaeger.
- The Beautiful Elite: The Llaverac clan.
- Beauty Contest: The Llaverac competition to gain clan acceptance.
- Becoming the Mask: Sort of; Jaeger was originally partially protecting the Grosvenor family from Brigham and partially providing Brigham with information about them. This eventually shifted to Jaeger entirely protecting the Grosvenor family.
- Big Fancy House: Rachel has one of these now...which she can't really afford.
- Binge Montage: When Rachel gatecrashes the Ascian wake in "Voice".
- Bio Punk: Borderline example as the biotech seems to have been used by a previous ultra-tech civilisation that collapsed, but it's the only non-magical explanation for many of the oddities of the setting (certain characters' mildly superhuman powers, how physically and mentally similar the members of the Clans are, the Petting Zoo People...)
- Black Comedy Rape: Not quite rape, but the aforementioned Magri porno, and Jaeger's body rendering has become a popular porn star.
- Blessed with Suck: Jaeger's Healing Factor, which keeps him from being killed but also makes him ill if he doesn't get hurt. It's also implied to be tied to his inability to stay in one place for any extended amount of time
- Bloody Hilarious: Jaeger messing up Grazie's bathroom while cutting himself to activate his Healing Factor.
- Body Horror: "Dream Sequence" is not recommended for people sensitive to this.
- Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Invoked but quickly subverted with the Ascians.
- Casting Couch: If you can't get accepted as a full member of a Clan in Anvard, pretty much your only option to rise socially is to find a mentor/sponsor, and it's openly accepted that sexual service will be part of this.
- Catgirl: The Nyima, partially crossing over with Talking Animals.
- City of Adventure: Anvard is a mighty strange place.
- The Clan: a big part of society in the cities.
- Cryptic Conversation: All over the place. One character even complains that everyone in her family acts as if they're in on some secret.
- Deconstruction: Jaeger is one of the Loveable Rogue and Walking the Earth tropes. On the surface he may seem like a traditional action-adventure hero, except that his medical conditions force him to live that lifestyle. The only therapy for his unknown disease is for his body to endure a physical shock, meaning that he has to keep moving and getting hurt just to stay healthy.
- Domed Hometown: Anvard, as well as some others that don't really come into the story much. Anvard's design is a variation on the usual trope, though- rather than being a normal city with a big dome on top, it's built in layers, and in most parts of the city, you'd never see the dome itself. It was also built so long ago that the inhabitants don't really know how it works, and is starting to break down. No one seems to be that alarmed, though.
- Downer Ending: "The Rescuers". Well, it is mostly about child murder.
- Dysfunction Junction: The Grosvenor family. Mom's a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, Marcie is a Creepy Child sometimes, Lynne is a Deadpan Snarker and Well-Intentioned Extremist with gender issues, Rachel's the closest thing to the Only Sane Man, and Dad is a crazy Stalker with a Crush for Mom, who walked fifty miles through a warzone to get away from him.
- Enemy Without: Still technically within, but causes plenty of problems nonetheless. On the border between this and Jekyll & Hyde.
- Everyone Is Bi: According to the endnotes, it's culturally accepted that the majority of people in Anvard are bisexual to some degree. To the point that some people define two sexual orientations: bi and "monosexual".
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Lots. Jaeger's many haircuts show the passage of time and his general status; if the cut happens onscreen, it usually says something about his relationship to the character doing the cutting. Lynne dyes it brown to pass as a Medawar. The decline and fall of Magri's fabulous hair closely reflects his mental state.
- Expy: The awkward line between archetype and expy is riffed on throughout "Dream Sequence"; one of its themes is the golden ideal of originality vs. the basically influence-driven nature of actual art. Many side characters have their roots pointed out in footnotes. Magri himself is a partial expy of several characters, and he gets some on-screen trouble for it.
- One that isn't pointed out in the footnotes: tweenage Marcie Grosvenor in the middle section of "Talisman" has some similarities to Marcie in Peanuts.
- Fantastic Arousal: Vary's unknowing sexual favours to Shar at the start of "Mystery Date".
- Fantasy Gun Control: Guns exist in this Scavenger World, but the means to manufacture guns and ammo is limited. The Nyima refuse to use guns for this reason, except for one tribe that makes their own, averting the logistical vulnerability dependence on firearms would open.
- Can someone check the above? I'm not sure enough to edit, but I had the strong impression that guns aren't harder to manufacture, rather the Nyima avoid them simply because it would foster dependence on outsiders (Amish logic).
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink
- Full-Frontal Assault: Jaeger strips naked while being chased by the security guards of a Disneyland-esque city and nails one of them in the face with his soaking-wet underwear.
- Gender-Blender Name: Lynne, deliberately. Most Llaverac men have female or gender-neutral names, and Emma carried on the tradition.
- Genius Loci: Magri White identifies as such though he's not as good at it as he thinks
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Blythe's binary representations of her conflicting priorities - she's programmed to look out for her user's best interests, but also to push for new upgrades whenever possible.
- Handsome Lech: Jaeger
- Healing Factor: Jaeger has one, which is the main reason he's still alive. On the down side, if he doesn't get hurt for a while, it starts making him sick.
- Hollywood Psych: Averted; the books' portrayal of mental illness (of various stripes and strengths) is stylized but well-researched.
- Humanoid Female Animal: Female Nyima are humanoid bipeds, while the males look like, well, lions. The reasons for this are only hinted at, but the one non-humanoid female we see, and the humanoid king implies some sort of hormonal manipulation that suggests the Nyima were artificially uplifted.
- In the Blood: Members of the clans have a *lot* in common.
- Inspired By: The murder mystery in "The Rescuers" is loosely inspired by the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping.
- It Makes Sense in Context: Pretty much everything; it's sort of the point of the series.
- Jerk Ass: Lynne, who becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold for Marcie (but for almost no one else).
- This becomes especially noteworthy in Voice, where Lynne helps Marcie but refuses to help Rachel find her ring, even though by helping Rachel Rachel in turn could help Marcie (because if Rachel can get admitted into the Llaverac clan, Marcie can go to college)
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Lynne to Marcie. He wouldn't give his older sister Rachel the time of day, though because he figured out she's only his half-sibling, and isn't actually a halfbreed like him and Marcie.
- Lizard Folk: The Laeske. According to Prof. Zivancevik, they're the only non-human intelligent people in the world who evolved sentience naturally and weren't uplifted by humans. (Which makes sense, since they're by far the least humanoid.)
- Lost Technology: All over the place, particularly the domes enclosing Anvard and elsewhere.
- Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game: "Elsewhere", the central concept of "Dream Sequence".
- Mixed Ancestry: Jaeger, Rachel, Lynne, and Marcie, all of whom socially suffer for it; only Rachel can pass for one side or the other. (This turns out to be because she's actually entirely Llaverac.)
- Naked People Are Funny: see Full-Frontal Assault. Also, one of Magri White's fans makes virtual gay porn starring Magri, then shows it to him.
- Ninja: One character calls Jaeger a "ninja do-gooder". It's more accurate than you'd think.
- No Pronunciation Guide: is the ll in Llaverac pronounced as the Spanish or the Welsh version?
- Noble Savage: Averted. While a lot of city folk THINK the Ascians are like this, they're just as annoying and tradition-bound as anyone else.
- Especially blatantly called out in "The Rescuers" when the part-Ascian scullery maid Lydia, who's fascinated by Ascian culture, refuses to believe Jaeger when he points out to her some rather unpleasant facts about Ascian traditions, including traditional misogyny and viewing twins as ritually impure (to the point that if one twin doesn't die, it needs to be abandoned), two customs that arose from Ascians being nomadic and needing to conserve resources
- Noodle Incident: However Jaeger annoyed Brom enough for Brom to nearly beat him to death.
- N-Word Privileges: Jaeger is allowed to call Brom "fag". (Although see also the Noodle Incident entry.)
- One-Gender Race: Almost. Thanks to genetic engineering, all Llaverac, regardless of actual gender, look like women.
- Le Parkour: Jaeger has this in spades and demonstrates it repeatedly throughout the series.
- Petting Zoo People: Many, by implication the result of a very-high-tech past culture engaging in genetic augmentation of animals. The ones who get most development are the Nyima, humanised intelligent lions who retain something close to contemporary lions' social arrangement.
- Power Tattoo: Jaeger's Finder tattoo, which doesn't have inherent power, but which marks him as a member of the Finder society and has to be frequently redone as his Healing Factor causes it to decay.
- Present Absence: Jaeger in "Voice".
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: the Medawar men, most of whom work as police officers in Anvard
- Remember the New Guy: Brom is introduced in "Five Crazy Women" as one of Jaeger's best friends, but has never previously appeared (although there's a guy who may just possibly be him visible in the edge of a panel at the end of "Sin-Eater"). Justified to a degree given Jaeger's wandering habits and solitariness.
- Scavenger World
- Schizo Tech: The setting may or may not be Earth in the far-flung future. One marketplace scene looks like a standard fantasy setting, until you notice a veiled woman carrying a Walkman and wearing Chuck Taylors.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Custom requires Jaeger to refuse payment for his services as a Finder, but then he doesn't have much use for material wealth, and he has a knack for scrounging up what he needs.
- Screw Yourself: Once Magri realizes the Jaeger-monster is the personification of his repressed anger, he declares, "you're mine to do with as I please", and kisses him.*
- Self-Harm: Jaeger has to resort to this sometimes if he doesn't get accidentally hurt or deliberately injured by someone else, because his healing factor turns on him and gives him auto-immune problems if it has nothing to do for too long. This is played for combination black humour and Squick.
- Serious Business: The Llaverac beauty pageant (and all of the other clan initiation tests, but the Llaveracs are the most dramatic about it), and generally anything to do with family rings.
- Shout-Out: Many, often referred to in the notes. A possible one not acknowledged is that the bookseller who Jaeger buys Marcie's gift from at the beginning of "Talisman" looks a great deal like the horror writer and critic Kim Newman.
- Souvenir Land: Munkytown in "King of the Cats" is a heavy Disney theme park parody.
- Stalker with a Crush: Brigham Grosvenor to Emma. Rachel also gets two of these later on.
- Stern Teacher: Zivancevic
- Stock Scream: As a young woman, Marcie makes money as the voice for them.
- Straight Gay: Brom
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Lord Rod
- Teacher/Student Romance: Vary, Zivancevic and Shar.
- Trickster Archetype: It's very difficult to get a straight answer out of Jaeger, he rarely holds a steady job, and his decisions often appear random and inscrutable. When someone sees him rolling dice she asks what he's doing. His answer? "Thinking."
- Unproblematic Prostitution: Vary, mostly, although the nastier kinds of prostitution also exist.
- Verbal Tic: Jaeger tends to call people 'cousin'.
- Laeske tend to enunshhiate their 'S's, being deshcendantsss of lizardsss.
- Voudoun: despite the fact that Ascians are basically Native Americans, their religion most resembles Voodoo, with various gods riding priests who act as their temporary representatives on Earth
- Walking the Earth: Pretty much Jaeger's job.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Most Llaverac men. For libertarian values of "wholesome".