The Fox Sister
is a webcomic
written by Christina Strain and drawn by Jayd Aït-Kaci. It is described as a "supernatural thriller/dram-edy" by the creator. It is based on the Korean folk tale of the same name, about the shape-shifting nine-tailed fox Kumiho
The comic is set in Seoul, Korea, of 1968. After having witnessed a Kumiho murdering her family as a child, Cho Yun Hee has grown up a bitter young woman. On her hunt for said Kumiho, who has taken the shape of her sister Sun Hee, she meets the American ex-soldier Alex.
- Cho Yun Hee: The protagonist. Besides being a university student, she works as a Mudang - a priestess of an almost extinct indigenous Korean religion.
- Soot Bull: Yun Hee's faithful Korean Jindo dog.
- Alex Martin: a former US-Army specialist who after his term stayed in Korea as a Christian missionary.
- Mrs. Park: Alex's neighbor and a member of his church community.
- Min: A friend of Alex and another member of his church community. This is the identity the Kumiho has assumed in her human form.
The Fox Sister contains examples of:
- Alt Text: The comic image's title tag sporadically contains funny remarks about the respective page.
- Berserk Button: Yun Hee is very serious in her faith and really dislikes it if her religion is treated like some sort of ren-fair novelty.
- Bilingual Bonus: For Korean speakers, Soot Bull's name will reveal a Punny Name (see below).
- Broken Bird: Yun Hee might be warming up towards Alex, but overall she's still quite brusque and closed off.
- Canine Companion: Soot Bull.
- Cassandra Truth: The comic doesn't actually show it, but it's easy to imagine how Yun Hee's eccentrics after waking up in the hospital are received.
Yun Hee: "That's not Sun Hee! Kumiho! Keep it away!!!"
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Often seen on the Kumiho in human form.
- Christianity is Catholic: Averted with Alex being Methodist.
- Demon Slaying: Apparently part of a Mudang's job description.
Yun Hee: "This is what I do. I kill demons."
- Disproportionate Retribution: After Yun Hee harasses the Kumiho by plastering Pujok to ward off evil spirits all over the place, she retaliates by messily killing a group of three young men right at Yun Hee's front porch.
- Elvis Impersonator: Both Alex and Yun Hee are huge Elvis Presley fans, and Alex likes to impersonate him - with mixed results.
Alex: "I won my unit's Elvis impersonator contest. Twice."
Yun Hee: "The judges must have been very kind to you."
- Fingore: The Kumiho loses a couple of fingers to Yun Hee's knife.
- Flashback Effects: The flashback panel to Yun Hee's family's murder when she finds the three dead men at her doorstep is reddish monochrome and grainy, with faded edges.
- Gorn: The Kumiho's kills involve a lot of blood and spilled intestines.
- In the Back: The Kumiho's fighting style of blindsiding an opponent and attacking from behind sure isn't pretty, but effective.
- Knife Nut: Yun Hee's weapons of choice are blades of various sizes. She is quite proficient with them.
- Lady in Red: The Kumiho wears a sexy red dress when she seduces her first victim.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Isn't Soot Bull just lovable? But don't let his cuteness fool you! He can be scarily ferocious if the situation calls for it.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Kumiho.
- Meaningful Background Event: Combined with The Shadow Knows (see below). The Kumiho is shown in human form, presumably nursing her shoulder which was hurt in a fight with Soot Bull. Her shadow on the wall behind her shows her fox form, licking said shoulder.
- Motion Blur: Used in some action scenes.
- Mysterious Animal Senses: Soot Bull picks up the Kumiho's presence right away whenever she is near; justified as Jindo dogs are excellent hunting dogs.
- Nice Guy: Alex.
- Nosy Neighbor: Mrs. Park exhibits some traits of this. How severe remains to be seen, though.
- Oh Crap: The Kumiho of all characters gets a nice moment, when she runs into Soot Bull.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Alex has a talent to say just the wrong things to Yun Hee.
- Paper Talisman: Yun Hee's Pujok charms are the Korean version.
- Permastubble: Alex sports a perpetual 5 o'clock shadow.
- Physical Scars, Psychological Scars: Yun Hee's arms, hands and chest are covered in scars which she received when attempting to fend off the Kumiho during their traumatic first encounter.
- Pink Elephants: Subverted. The vicious, red-eyed canine creature the drunk man sees, is in fact not just a “stray dog”.
- Punny Name: Soot Bull (숫불) in Korean means Charcoal Fire.
- Rapunzel Hair: Min. It's a bit hard to tell when her hair is never still, even when, logically speaking, it should be, but it is always at least hip length, and usually between her hips and knees.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Kumiho loves this one.
- Reflective Eyes: When Alex and Yun Hee find the little mess the Kumiho left at Yun Hee's house.
- Religion is Magic: Yun Hee's charms to ward off evil create actual physical barriers that the Kumiho is unable to cross.
- Revenge: What the story is all about.
- Schedule Slip: The intended update schedule of one page each Thursday has several times been disturbed by Real Life.
- The Shadow Knows: In a few scenes where the Kumiho is shown in human form her shadow reveals her true shape.
- Temporary Bulk Change: After gorging himself on Alex's gift of leftover bulgogi, Soot Bull is much tubbier than usual. Yun Hee even comments on it.
- There Is Only One Bed: Alex insists on Yun Hee taking the bed while he sleeps on the floor when he invites her to stay at his place after the Kumiho turned her home into a crime scene.
- Translation Convention: All Korean spoken in the comic is translated to English, for the readers' convenience. Interestingly, English spoken in the comic, and not Korean, is marked by angle brackets.
- The Vamp: The Kumiho uses the attractiveness of her human form to bait men.
Victim: "You shouldn't be out alone at night like this, miss."
Kumiho: *smiling coyly* "Is that so?"
- Waking Up Elsewhere: The opening sequence closes with a classical example, when Yun Hee wakes up in the hospital.
- Webcomic Time: The one-page-per-week update schedule with occasional Schedule Slip has the story advance by only a few days in-universe in about one and a half years of real time.
- Word of God: Christina Strain occasionally posts in the comic's comment section, adding interesting background information or clarifying details.
- Write What You Know: Writer Christina Strain grew up on the Yongsan military base in Seoul, on and around which the comic takes place.