Webcomic about multiple fantasy universes connected to ours, each designated by one of the cards in the traditional Tarot deck. Follows a depressed Action Girl
from Earth, her elf-like Dreamwalker friend Chrystalline, and Chrys's jackal-headed ex-boyfriend, William as they carry out missions for the mysterious owner of the Inn they all live in.
Mysteries of the Arcana's genesis began back in the days of 2400 baud modems and dial-up bulletin board services as a roleplaying exercise. From that humble beginning it grew and meshed with J's interest in the tarot. At first, Arcana told the story of Chrystalline's father but, in time, the story became about Chrys and, finally, Chrys and Theresa.
Written by J Gray. Originally drawn by Keith W, then by Sarrah, then by Jessica "Senshuu/Miluette" Cantlope, Gennifer Bonc, and now by the original artist.
Ambitious in number of characters and settings and plot points, and therefore somewhat slow-moving.
You can read the archives here
Mysteries of the Arcana provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Theresa. Fighter William nicknames her "Man-Woman."
- Art Evolution: By Keith W, the original artist, then by his three successors. And now by Keith again.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Theresa's super-power.
- Berserk Button: Theresa. "Unless it's to save my life, DON'T EVER TOUCH ME!" Chrys. "You used me! You devised a plan and included me without my consent!"
- The Chessmaster: Chrys's father. He gets himself captured and imprisoned by alien pirates so his family thinks he's dead - and later helps them lure his daughter Chrystalline into captivity - just so they can hide in their cell and plan against their mysterious enemies until the capturing aliens realize the bounty set up for himself and Chrys won't be paid. Chrys: "You want to use our friends - my mother - as bait?" Yep.
- Collection Sidequest: Story arc three, Two by Two.
- Creator Breakdown: Cited by the writer for Schedule Slip below.
- Druid: Chrystalline.
- Gayngst: Theresa. And Chrys.
- Heroic BSOD: Theresa. In a flashback, confronting her mercy killing her friend and lover Debby at 15
- Humanity Ensues: William's origin.
- Parental Abandonment: Theresa's parents. Chrys's father. before showing back up after Chrys is captured by pirates.
- Schedule Slip: To the point of Orphaned Series but a hopeful page saying "We're Not Dead Yet" may be redeemed this year.
- And it has. Mysteries of Arcana has returned and wrapped up the storyarc it had paused during.
- Tarot Motifs: A prime example. Each universe is represented by a card. Even the page frames are Tarot cards.
- Translator Microbes: An artifact in the inn places a long-term translation enchantment on anyone who enters. It even works on Mandrake, by changing the pictograms that others see her broadcasting into ones they can understand.
- Zen Survivor: Chrys's mother.