Webcomic: Sister Claire

Claire shows off her Holy Watergun
Pregnant nun, Holy Crap!

Sister Claire is a webcomic by Elena Barbarich (a.k.a Yamino) and her wife, Ash. The genre starts off comedic and full of hidden Easter Eggs and homages, but becomes much more dramatic and serious in the transition to Book 2. As many of the characters are inspired by or directly based on existing ones from film and animation, Sister Claire is definitely a Shout-Out comic.

Sister Claire is a novice nun, and all she ever wanted was a purpose in life, and a kitty would be nice, too. But when a beautiful blue businesswoman named Gabrielle explodes out her toilet and tells her she's pregnant with the new Messiah, this Celibate Heroine realizes she may be in for more than she bargained for: a fantastic adventure to protect her miraculous baby (and possibly the universe.)

Sister Claire's best friend and mentor, Sister Catharine, is unfortunately extremely allergic to cats, which is why Claire is forbidden to play with them. Unfortunately for Catharine, Claire can't seem to stay away from her best cat-friend Snowy for long, and this brings down harsh punishment from the terrifying Sister Marguerite, who finds every excuse to torment Claire with cruel and creative punishments.

Claire initially crumbles under the guilt of accidentally aggravating Catharine's cat allergies and from the pressure of becoming the mother of the new Messiah. (Her pregnancy is confirmed by a flurry of strange blue babies, who turn out to be rather disposable.) The plot thickens as Sister Catharine appears to be stalked by an evil Cheshire-like cat, who eventually possesses her, turning her into the evil Sister Cat.

After temporarily defeating Sister Cat with her holy Watergun, Claire begins her training in Nun Fu. And as the story continues, it's revealed that there's more going on than Gabrielle let on and much bigger threats on the horizon coming Clarie's way. Will her newfound training see her through before the birth of her child?

The story is presented in two formats, comic updates (every Monday and Friday) and Missing Moment stories, illustrated prose that usually focuses on the characters' pasts, updated Tues-Thurs.

Now has a character sheet. Please contribute.

This Web-comic provides examples of:

  • Arc Words: NO ESCAPE
  • All There in the Manual: The strip that reveals Sister Oscar as transgender is a bit vague, since her speech balloon saying "I'm no man." can throw readers off a bit. Your only confirmation for sure is the Word of God below the strip, which can escape your notice if you don't scroll down to see it.
    • The "Missing Moments" stories go into more detail about the characters, including Oscar.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Grimm, the Cheshire looking cat. Yamino has stated that Grimm doesn't have a specific gender and is mostly referred to as "they".
    • Magpie is genderflux, which means the character's gender is usually something different depending on what part of the story you're reading, which can be confusing if you haven't seen the page that explains it.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Gabrielle makes a few subtle passes at Claire. But then again, maybe her real form isn't even female?
    • She's female alright, and her more recent backstory paints her in a more godmother-esque light given her friendship with Clementine when she was a Selkie.
    • Later comic pages, however, have Gabrielle being as subtle as a flying mallet
  • Ambiguously Human: Sister Catharine, even when she's not being possessed by an evil cat.
    • Gabrielle and the animal witches definitely count toward this.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Say hello to the Mondo Shard.
  • Author Avatar: If Yamino needs a random-ass background character to throw up or otherwise humiliate themselves melodramatically, she'll usually just draw herself.
  • Bait and Switch: The Queen's pregnancy. While hinted to be Rosalie and Marie, they turn out to be two unrelated sons. Who sadly only live about a week.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Gabrielle told Claire that she was pregnant with the new Messiah. As it turns out, not so much.
  • Because Destiny Says So
  • Black Comedy: Sister Claire accidentally squishes a Bubble Boy with her bare hands, but they turn out to be "rather replaceable," in Gabrielle's words.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Heterosexuals are a rare commodity in this comic.
  • Cat Girl: Sister Cat A.K.A Grimm
  • Celibate Hero: Played with, in that Word of God has said that while the nuns do take celibacy vows they're not strictly enforced, and most Mother Superiors not only know that many nuns have relationships but don't care unless it interferes with their duties, in the case of the main cast mostly revolving around protecting Mercy and the attached village. Even Sister Abraham is said to not really care if the Helsings have relationships as long as it doesn't compromise them.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: It begins to be hinted at around here things are not as bright or silly as they appear. And then the witch trial begins...
  • The Chew Toy: Poor Claire just can't catch a break.
  • The Chosen One: Claire is chosen as the mother of the Messiah by Gabrielle.
    • By the latest update, this gets completely subverted by the fact that there was no Messiah, Claire is more or less Clementine 2.0, and Gabrielle's hand in all this is now rather ambiguous given her less-than-ominous origins.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Claire's true origins haven't been explained yet, but she was found on the doorstep of the abbey by Sister Catharine.
    • It was later hinted that Sister Catharine might actually be Claire's mother. This also somewhat explains how Catharine had the pregnancy test.
    • Now starting to look like maybe Claire is Catherine's reincarnated younger sister, though that would still make her an orphan.
      • First theory got Jossed in a Missing Moment where Catherine is telling stories to Claire, but the latest comic update more or less confirms the second.
  • Demonic Possession Grimm (the Cheshire looking cat) to Catharine though going by the ritual and Catharine's words later on, this seems like a willing one. Grimm claims its a permanent one though they could be lying. What's more Grimm can only take over at night while Catharine regains her body during the day.
    • Whatever magic Esperanza and Claire performed on Catharine seems to have ended this, as Grimm was seen in the form of a cat for the first time in a long while, and Sister Cat hasn't been seen since.
  • Door Stop Baby: Sister Claire.
    • We find out later that this isn't the true story, and that Catherine knows quite well where she came from.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The series was a lot more quirky in the beginning and had a bit of a modern vibe to it. But shortly after the witch trial and Ash joining in on fleshing out the world. It now has more of a somber and serious tone while downplaying more of the modern aspects for a medieval feel.
    • Rosalie and Marie swooning over Oscar in her first appearance becomes disturbing when it's later revealed that not only did she raise them like they were her daughters, but also that she's their older half-sister, but it's been confirmed the two of them don't actually know this.
  • Easter Egg: Yamino loves throwing in homages and references for readers to find. Some are more subtle, others are direct homages, such as the Powerpuff Girls 10th anniversary page, featuring Claire and the PPG sharing a cake.
  • Empathic Healer: Sister Catharine when she was a young girl.
  • Everyone Can See It: Jackson and Olga's relationship is about as well kept a secret as the ending to Citizen Kane. Everyone from the Mother Superior to Azi, who literally just met them, could tell.
  • Fan Disservice: Naked Sister Marguerite, complete with disgusted reactions from the other nuns. Of course, her dialogue probably didn't help matters. Word of God says looking up references for that page was quite a harrowing experience.
  • Fanservice: Here you go.There is lots!
  • Femme Fatalons: Sister Cat.
  • Finger-Lickin' Evil: Sister Cat here and here.
  • Filler: Gabrielle taking Claire to an undersea nightspot in order to relax. It's a good kind of filler, though, building character and the relationship between the two characters
  • Foreshadowing: Check the third panel here and notice the placement of the antlers on the wall. Given the hints about Claire's connection to Clementine/The Horned One/The Witch Queen this is probably not an accident.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Sister Claire loves all animals, but especially cats. She's a vegetarian for this reason.
    • Turns out the cat thing might not be coincidence.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: So far a pretty main theme of the comic. We're lead to believe witches are evil but the ones seen so far only wish to live in peace and are only hunted down out of fear for their powers. Likewise the nuns, coming off a war, are paranoid that witches are still doing evil deeds and a few seek to destroy them outright. All actions on both sides are well-intentioned but only keeps prolonging the conflict leading to more pain and hatred.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The twins, even going so far as to have deliberate yuri symbolism all over them. But in their case, it's not forbidden love (...maybe) but forbidden psychic powers.
  • Hot Springs Episode: starting here. One of many homages to anime and manga.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Happened in a guest strip that has since been lost to restructuring of the site.
  • Hulking Out: Behold. The resulting Oh Crap! face is entirely justified.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Annulus. Word of God states that making a pact with one was meant to represent marriage, specifically the nun’s marriage to G.O.D.
  • I Have Many Names: Gabrielle.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: The new habits the nuns are wearing in the newer chapters may qualify.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The reason Claire is in the bathroom when she first meets Gabrielle is because Sister Marguerite gave her a severe dose of "Holy Shit Laxative".
  • Jerkass: Sister Marguerite, AND FUCKING HOW.
    • The artist admitted that Marguerite was based on a nun teacher she once had. She does say she knows that not all nuns are so scary.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: going nearly to Crazy Cat Lady extremes.
  • Knight Templar: A few of the nuns toward witchcraft. Even if said person isn't truly evil. Justified as the older nuns are still reeling from a war with witches and know that there are some still out there. Considering Claire's case, this is tragically ironic.
    • Likewise works the other way with witches as the introduction with Hanabi shows.
  • Little Hero, Big War
  • Ms. Fanservice: Almost every character can qualify for this after their respective trip to the hot springs, though it's more Innocent Fanservice Girl instances, if anything. Straighter examples would be Gabrielle, and Sister Cat.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The order Claire belongs to is called the "Sisters of Mercy", so, naturally, they're actually battle nuns who train to fight evil with violence rather than, say, Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • Noodle Incident: Claire has reputedly almost killed Catharine by accident several times, including the unexplained "watermelon incident."
  • Nuns N' Rosaries
  • Nuns Are Mikos: Though it's likely that this trope is just in effect for Rule of Cool, since the artist actually does know quite a bit about real nuns and has even been taught by them in real life (see Jerkass and Write Who You Know).
  • Nuns Are Spooky: Well somewhat justified in a few cases as they're either or partly witches themselves.
  • Nun Too Holy: Some of the more extremest nuns, most notably the Helsing branch.
  • Obviously Evil: Evil Cat
  • Orwellian Retcon: The artwork was redrawn in many places for the first print volume, and the online pages were replaced with the new versions. Changes include a more salamander-like design for Sal and more elaborate backgrounds for the Atlantis chapter.
  • Panty Shot: A minor one on page 100, and two in a row on pages 160 and 161.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Sister Catharine has refused to explain herself on a number of topics, even when it would be rather helpful to her companions, especially Claire.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "I'm sorry to tell you that our name, Sisters of Mercy, is a bit misleading. God shows mercy. We don't."
  • Rule of Three: The Trinity plays a large role in most aspects of the story.
  • Secret Relationship: Between Olga and Jackso with Oscar's accidental discovery of it taking place in one of the Missing Moments, and by the time this gets revealed in the main comic it turns out to be a case of Everybody Knew Already.
  • Sexy Mentor: Sister Catharine. AND Gabrielle.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Schizo Tech: The series originally featured things like social media and like, but that has been mostly downplayed in favor of a more medieval setting.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Catharine claims Sister Marguerite is one, but it's becoming increasingly apparent that she just really misses her job as a witch hunter, and Claire's mistakes are just convenient excuses to vent her pent-up sadism.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Subverted by the eel bouncer at Atlantis. He has a lisp.
  • Strange Syntax Speaker: Talk like Yoda, Mother Superior does.
  • Strictly Formula: Jerky character seems evil. Jerky character has sympathetic/tragic backstory. Jerky character is now good. Repeat ad-naseum.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Grimm, and Catharine while possessed.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: "There's nothing suspicious or weird happening!"
  • Tears of Blood: Claire passes a statue weeping red tears here, signaling that events are about to take a turn for the worse...
  • Took a Level in Badass: Claire. Just look at her first encounter with Grimm, versus her second.
  • Torture Technician: Sister Marguerite, apparently.
    When it comes to pain, I'm a professional. And I love my job.
  • Valley Girl: Sister Marie talks like one.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: After immaculately conceiving the Messiah, Claire is sick.
    • As is Yamino, when she sees an opportunity to use theatrics to save the world from Sister Marguerite.
  • Virgin Power
  • Wacky Cravings: Om nom wooden mugs nom nom.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Claire asks Gabrielle this, tearfully wondering if she ever cared about her at all, or even saw her as Claire instead of Clementine.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the nuns such as Olga and Marguerite and, according to Catharine, Grimm.
  • Wham Episode/Wham Shot: The end of Chapter Six of Book 2. Claire suddenly starts growing horns on her head, just like the Witch Queen. She likewise loses the baby as well. Then we find out it was never a baby to begin with.
  • Wham Line:
    Wolf Witches Queen: We can't ignore the signs that a war is brewing again. We could use powerful allies. Lupo, track these witches. Protect them.
    • And later:
      Marguerite: I do hope to see her again one day, that child with her antlers. Little Clementine.
    • From Chapter 7 in Book 2
    Gabrielle: It's not a baby, Claire. I'm so sorry. It was never a baby.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Sister Claire.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Grade C on Sister Claire in Book 1.