Webcomic / Leif & Thorn
In the nation of Ceannis, a prophecy of doom has been revealed. Only one man and his team of loyal knights stand between disaster and salvation. Now as soon as the Ministry of Prophecy can figure out which knight that is, everything should be fine. Right? Right.
Created by Erin Ptah
, Leif & Thorn
is described as "Sparkly Magical Fantasy Dramedy" right under the title. Following Sir Thorn Estragon, a national hero of Ceannis tasked (unaware of the prophecy) with the protection of the embassy of the neighboring nation of Sønheim, the comic shows that no matter the world, people are alike all over.
Updates six days a week with art pieces on Saturday.
Tropes found in the comic are:
- Alliterative Family: Sibling pairs Thorn and Tansy...and Hyacinth and Hawthorn...and now Rowan, Rhodey, and Rosie.
- April Fools' Day: In 2016, interrupting a dramatic battle.
- Bilingual Bonus: Two major languages are spoken in the comic. Not all characters understand both of them, but they're both written as English (in different fonts), allowing the audience to pick up on things the characters may not.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Or rather, Bunny Ears President Olive Romarin.
- Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Thorn's "cat" looks like a cross between a cat, a fox, and a blue Eeevee.
- Canon Immigrant: Erin has taken several characters from But I'm a Cat Person to use as extras in Leif & Thorn.
- Censor Box: When Leif lists the few Ceanska words and phrases he knows, half of them are censor-barred out.
- Child Mage: Holly is fourteen, while the rest of the team consists of adult knights.
- Cool Sword: Thorn and his team are from the subset of knights that can draw heartswords, Utena-esque magical weapons whose shapes reflect the owner's personality. They appear to be unmatched by any in-universe weapon besides other heartswords and other soul-based weapons.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Ivy versus Laceleaf's stalker. Takes control of all the water in the vicinity, so firmly that he can't even control enough to make a misguided attempt to placate her, much less actually fight back.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The vampire couple, Lady Stanczia and Lord Imri.
- Elemental Powers: Mages in come in magical domains (with corresponding spirits). Mentioned so far: water, nature, fire, and stars. Almost anything appears to fall under that last category, under the more science-based logic that all matter was originally star stuff.
- Elseworld: A few have been visited during Sunday strips, including Vampire Hunter Thorn and Leif & Thorn: IN SPACE!
- Empathy Pet: Tiernan, Thorn's soul-bonded cat, who helps him deal with PTSD symptoms.
- Eyepatch After Time Skip: The brief appearance of time-traveling future Thorn. Who Holly first guesses to be "alternate-dimension evil Thorn."
- The Faceless: A recurring man-in-black type is always seen in convenient shadow.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Sønheim is closely based on Sweden and Norway, while neighboring Ceannis is more of a Culture Chop Suey.
- Floral Theme Naming: All the characters from Ceannis have plant-related names, including flowers (Violet, Tansy), trees (Juniper, Rowan), fruits (Plum, Olive), and so on (Thorn).
- Fourth-Wall Observer: Tiernan.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: In-universe. Ivy is a Fangirl of a lot of series from Sønheim, and will throw Sønska words into her dialogue (represented by a font change in the strip/a color change in the transcript).
- Has Two Mommies: Thorn and his sister, thanks to expensive magic-based Homosexual Reproduction. (Probably. The author hasn't ruled out any characters being transgender.
- Holiday Nonupdate: Christmas 2015, about in-universe winter holidays.
- Humans Are White: Averted. Most of the main characters are some shade of brown. The only ones with Caucasian skin tones are the people from Sønheim, who are also the only ones with nonhuman physical traits.
- In the Name of the Moon: An in-universe magical-girl series has the catchphrase "In the name of the mountain, I'll punish you!" Ivy quotes it during battle, in the original Sønska.
- Language Drift: Invoked with both major languages. Ceannis has a national epic that was written in Middle Ceannic; most of its citizens have read it in school, but in a modern translation. The multi-century-old vampires in Sønheim speak modern Sønska, but their native language was a much earlier version, which would make them an invaluable resource for linguists...if they weren't also prone to making stuff up for their own entertainment.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: For the existence and appearance of the resident man-in-black type. She has to arrange for other characters to remind themselves that she exists.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: With background characters, who get names in the transcripts like not!Touga, not!Buffy, and not!Bella.
- Lilliputians: The doll-size Tamaputians.
- Magical Database: apparently a lot of them, including translation dictionaries, which can be queried from a distance using their magical Internet.
- Meet Cute: The title characters meet when Leif is pruning a tree, and a branch knocks Thorn in the head.
- Multicultural Alien Planet: The strip deals with, not only cultural differences between two of its fantasy countries, but ethnic differences within each country.
- Multiethnic Name: In both countries.
- Birch Baker, a Ceannic citizen whose family comes from Getsun, has a mainstream Ceannic first name and a Getsunai last name
- Violet Dupont, of mixed ethnicity, has a first name from one ethnic group and a last name from the other
- Overlapping with Language Drift, the older vampires in Sønheim have first names, Imri and Stanczia, from a no-longer-extant culture. Their last name, Fågelson, is a mainstream modern Sønska name. This is because they were born before surnames were invented, and adopted one much later for legal purposes.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Astrid Rødlund, author of a popular children's fantasy series, bears more than a little resemblance to J. K. Rowling.
- Of the People: Averted. The Ceannic demonym, in its own language, comes from "the central people", and the Sønska demonym is from "the sun people".
- Power Dyes Your Hair: Magical girls can get multicolor hair effects when they transform. Compare powered-down Holly (all dark green) with transformed Holly (light-green for the last few inches). Note that for a character like Ivy, who has the mundane kind of dyed hair, that color doesn't get overridden by a transformation.
- Psychic Link: Thorn and his cat Tiernan, who can stop him from having dragon flashbacks.
- Punny Name: In-universe, the Sønska name Leif sounds like the Ceannic word for "leaf," in keeping with the Floral Theme Naming.
- Queer Romance: Slow-burn between the title characters, with other same-sex pairings in the supporting cast.
- Silent Scenery Panel: First strip of the "Leaves That Are Green" storyline, and again in a view of Leif's hospital room, doubling as a bittersweet Identical Panel Gag.
- Speech Bubbles: Different fonts represent people speaking different languages. For vampires, they're outlined in red.
- Squee!: Ivy has been seen expressing high-pitched excitement approximately once every other sentence.
- Sunday Strip: Including alternate universes, worldbuilding details, double-sized weekly strips, and one-shot extras.
- Super Wheelchair: Iona has a chair that hovers, but, notably, doesn't fly.
- Swiss Army Appendage: A rare leg-based example. Birch's foot can be swapped out for other attachments, like a clamp.
- Teens Are Short: Pointedly averted. Teenage Hyacinth is a full head taller than her uncle.
- Tongue-Tied: If the servants in Leif & Thorn try to say anything that would incite conspiracy against the Embassy, they get zapped with pain.
- Transformation Sequence: For the magical girls (and boys, women, men, etc). Teenage girl Ivy gets a lavish one; so does an adult male character earlier in the same storyline.
- Transformation Trinket: The mages use brooches, apparently all brightly-colored crystals in metallic settings.
- Translation Convention: Everything is rendered in English, with some notable effects:
- Sønheim has a gender-neutral third-person pronoun, like the English "ze", so it doesn't use the singular "they". However, Sønska dialogue may use "they" for a person of unknown gender, because it flows most naturally in English.
- Ceannis has a t-v distinction (different pronouns for the formal "you" and the familiar "you"). Ceannic dialogue uses the English "you" for all of it.
- Puns, wordplay, and Thorn's awkward mispronunciations of Sønska words are translated literally, even when the English words don't have the same similarities.
- Unicorn: The steed of choice. Thorn's unicorn, Caiomhe, reacts badly to Leif, giving both of them different ideas about how he might be "impure."
- Undead Tax Exemption: Inverted. Vampires have legal identities under their original names and real ages...and have so much collective wealth that they're subject to an undead-specific ''tax'' to keep them from unbalancing Sønheim's economy.
- Undercover as Lovers: Thorn needs a ride in an ambulance; friends can't ride along, only family; Leif is obviously not a blood relation. The solution: claim Leif is his husband.
- The VJ Day Kiss: Mata and Pato, celebrating an engineering success.
- Your Magic's No Good Here: Ceannic magic doesn't work within the borders of Sønheim, so a Ceannic spell backfires within the walls of the embassy.