Webcomic / Erstwhile

"Brother and Sister"

Erstwhile is a collaborative comic project from Strawberry Comics publishing. The comic focuses on classic fairy tales that may be less well known in modern times, or no longer in their original version in modern tellings. These are all derived from The Brothers Grimm thus far, and are faithful to the versions published by them.

Strawberry Comic members Gina Biggs, Louisa Roy, and Elle Skinner are the current collaborators. Several stories are available online here.

Stories Include:

Provides Examples Of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In the original "Sweetheart Roland", the evil stepsister was described as being very ugly. Here, unflattering facial expressions aside, she's quite attractive. She's just as ugly on the inside, however.
  • Art Shift: The opening of "Maid Maleen" is told with pictures she drew herself.
  • Cue the Sun: Maid Maleen's description of her happy ending.
  • Curse Escape Clause: The husband of the woman in "A Tale With A Riddle" can save her from being a flower by picking her.
  • Deliberately Monochrome:
    • The night scene in "The Farmer's Clever Daughter" is done in blues.
    • "The Old Man and his Grandson" is done in beiges.
  • Depraved Dwarf: A mythical one serves as the villain in "Snow White and Rose Red".
  • Dirty Coward: The Dwarf from "Snow White and Rose Red". When the bear attacks him, he (mistakenly thinking he wants him for food) tries to get the animal to go after Snow White and Rose Red instead, saying they'd make a better meal.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The bride in "Maid Maleen" rejects this as causing future problems.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: The bear suggests this to Rose Red as a solution to her dilemma of wanting to get married someday, but not wanting to have something she couldn't share with her sister.
  • Exact Words: How the farmer's clever daughter won out in the end.
  • First-Name Basis: The king tells the farmer's clever daughter his name when she calls him "sire" just before the wedding.
  • Framing Device: "A Tale With a Riddle" is told to her daughter.
  • Ghibli Hills: Rose Red and Snow White are perfectly safe sleeping in the woods overnight.
  • Guile Hero: The eponymous character of "The Farmer's Clever Daughter."
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: "Snow White and Rose Red" makes Snow White a blonde, and she's the more gentle of the two sisters.
  • Honor Before Reason: In "The Farmer's Clever Daughter," the farmer unearths a gold mortar while tilling the land the king gave him. He plans on giving it to the king as a token of gratitude, but his daughter warns him not to do so until after they find the pestle to go along with it. The farmer ignores her advice, causing the king to believe the farmer is keeping the pestle for himself and has him thrown into the dungeon until he agrees to produce the pestle.
  • Identical Daughter: This sets off the plot of "All Fur." When she turns out to be as beautiful as her deceased mother, her father goes mad and insists on marrying her as replacement.
  • Identical Stranger: The first stage of princess Poppy's plan is to gather eleven girls with similar faces and body types to her. This is done without any difficulty whatsoever.
  • Impossible Task: Paradox version.
    King: Come to me, not dressed, not naked, not on a horse, not by carriage, not on the road, not off the road, and if you do, I'll marry you.
  • The Lost Woods: In "Brother and Sister", they actually live quite nicely there
  • Make-Up Is Evil: The bride in "Maid Maleen" tries to hide herself with this.
  • Man in White: Little boy in white in "The Little Shroud."
  • The Marvelous Deer:
    • A deer is one of Rose Red and Snow White's protectors in the forest.
    • In "Brother and Sister", the king and his hunting party pursue the transformed John, because a majestic white deer wearing a golden collar is an enticing quarry to them.
  • Megane: The king in "Brother And Sister". Which helps keep him nonthreatening when he meets Sister.
  • The Mourning After: The first king engages in this for a long time "All-Furs."
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: The bride's last attempt in "Maid Maleen."
  • Nameless Narrative: Averted in many cases, as several characters who were nameless in the original stories are named here.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: In "A Tale With A Riddle," the husband must choose one flower among three.
  • Pair the Spares: The end of "Sweetheart Roland" implies that Ivy and the shepherd will get together.
  • The Promise: All-Furs's mother extracts one while dying.
  • Race Lift: Several cases.
    • "A Tale with a Riddle" has one of the transformed women and her husband as black people.
  • Redhead In Green: Rose Red in "Snow White and Rose Red", when she isn't dressed in warmer colors.
  • Red Right Hand: The stepsister in "Brother and Sister" can't get her eye back.
  • Rule of Seven: How many years Maid Maleen was to be locked up.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Rose Red and Snow White's mother insists on it.
  • Scullery Maid: Where else will you work? The prince in "Iron Hans" even got a job there at first.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The farmer's clever daughter to the king.
    • Also how the princesses give the suitors the slip in "The Worn-out Dancing Shoes".
  • The Southpaw: Snow White in "Snow White and Rose Red". She apparently has enough dexterity to use right-handed scissors.
  • Sweat Drop: You'd sweat too, if your bride talked about your true love on your wedding day.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Poppy and her crew dress up as huntsmen to see her ex-fiance.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: The bear in "Snow White and Rose Red" does this after Snow White hugs him in gratitude for his advice.
  • Through His Stomach: The second king is much taken with All Fur's soup.
  • Time Passes Montage: Between the marriage in "Brother and Sister" and the baby's birth.
  • True Blue Femininity: Snow White in "Snow White and Rose Red" typically wears light blue, which helps underscore the fact that she's more of a homebody than Rose Red.
  • Walking the Earth: Svetla does this searching for Marcus in "The Singing, Springing Lark"