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Characters / Phoebe and Her Unicorn

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Phoebe Grizelda Howell

An imaginative nine year-old girl, and one of the main characters of the strip.


Marigold Heavenly Nostrils

A narcissistic but kind-hearted unicorn, and Phoebe's best friend. The other main character of the strip.

  • All Animals Are Dogs: Played with in that she often displays catlike traits, including purring.
  • "Awesome McCool" Name: Lampshaded by Phoebe when they first meet.
  • Bad Liar: Like all unicorns, as she explains to Phoebe. She also says this is the reason for her frequent self-praise: "For unicorns, bragging is the highest form of truth."
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma: Often misunderstands human expressions. Overlaps with Literal-Minded.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Usually right, for no reason other than being a unicorn.
  • Catchphrase: “Unicorn!” Usually said as an explanation for how/why she does the various magical or impressive feats she pulls off.
  • Creepy Child: As a little filly she used to sell minor curses to other unicorns for 5 uni-cents.
  • Disapproving Look: She claims that "Unicorns can scare away clouds with a very stern look", but doesn't use that power often because she doesn't want her face to get stuck like that.
  • Expy: The Hobbes to Phoebe's Calvin. Both Hobbes and Marigold have a high appreciation of themselves and a low appreciation for humanity. Played with in that Marigold can be seen by other people, unlike Hobbes.
  • Goth: For her, it was a phase she went through decades ago, and she's embarrassed when a rival unicorn brings up a web page she made during that era.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Marigold thinks a Triceratops with its three horns is — ostentatious.
  • I Dub Thee Sir Knight: Gives her best friend Phoebe an honorific unicorn name she made up personally to suit her: "Speckleface Spiderhooves".
  • Informed Attractiveness: When she lowers the Shield Of Boringness, the rapt fascination of humans is the sign of her good looks.
  • It's All About Me: She's very self-centered and convinced she's the most important thing in the universe. It's not that she doesn't care about others, it's more that she usually cares about them in relation to herself. However, this is starting to change because of her relationship with Phoebe.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She may be narcissistic, but she does appreciate Phoebe's friendship.
  • Large Ham: Often talks using Bold Inflation.
  • Narcissist: A huge part of her character, to the extent that looking at her reflection causes her to get trapped watching her elegance.
  • Proud Beauty: Very much so. Expect a daily lecture from her on how beautiful she is.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Claims to have seen “oceans become deserts become forests”.
  • Self-Deprecation: She's aware enough of her own narcissism to make fun of it, as shown by this strip, in which she happily admits to having a "massive ego".
  • Spock Speak: She has a semi-formal speaking style with an utter lack of contractions. When called on it, she admits she likes to talk fancy.
  • Weirdness Censor: Uses a “Shield of Boringness” to prevent people from noticing her.

Ethan and Emily Howell

Phoebe's laid-back, somewhat geeky parents. Ethan is a systems administrator, Emily is a painter, and they both enjoy video games.

  • Deadpan Snarker: Ethan is good-natured kind. Usually his snarky side shows up when Phoebe is being unreasonable or wants to do something she's not allowed to.
  • Good Parents: They are very kind and understanding with their daughter, never raising their voices to her and allowing her to be her quirky self — but they're not afraid of setting limits either. The creator has stated she deliberately wrote them as an aversion of the type of parents you see in many other comic strips:
    “Comic strip parents seemed like they stepped out of the '50s. I don't have kids. But I try to think what it would be like if people like me, the band geeks, had kids. I don’t want the parents to be like those in Calvin and Hobbes, where they fight all the time."
  • Happily Married: They tease each other from time to time, but they love each other very much.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Completely averted. They're fairly involved in their daughter's life and are fully aware that she has a unicorn best friend from the start. Helps that they get eased into it by Marigold gradually lowering her Shield of Boringness around them.

Dakota Reed

Unpleasant neighborhood girl, who used to be Phoebe's enemy.

  • Alpha Bitch: And frequently made use of it to make Phoebe's life miserable.
  • Frenemy: Used by Phoebe to describe their relationship after it evolves.
  • It's All About Me: She starts out as relentlessly self-centered, believing herself to be the coolest kid around. She gradually evolves into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold as the strip progresses.
  • Large Ham: When auditioning for the play.
  • Odd Friendship: She makes friends with Blartholomew the goblin, causing a little bit of Character Development.
  • Prehensile Hair: Once she gets the magical kind. For a while her hair actually becomes sentient, to the point of being able to make threats — at one point it writes Dakota a note, telling her to buy more expensive shampoo, or else. (Marigold assures her that "magic hair is always making empty threats.")


Nerdy classmate of Phoebe's; her second best friend.

  • Deadpan Snarker: Lampshaded here. Word of God is that he's based on the same person as Ozy.
  • Has Two Mommies: Is revealed to have two moms in a camping storyline from 2017.
  • Nerd: He's fascinated by science in general and electronics in particular. For Halloween, his costume is Nikola Tesla: "Maybe one person's gonna get it, and that'll be the highlight of my day."
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: He's a brainy kid who wears glasses. The trope is Lampshaded by Phoebe when she borrows his glasses and ask if they make her look smart.
    Max: (looking at her without his glasses) Are smart people blurry?
    Phoebe: (deadpan) Yes.


Phoebe's crazy bunk mate at camp.


The camp's lake monster.

Queen Prunella von Blaart

Goblin queen.


Dakota's goblin friend.

Todd the candy dragon

A friend of Marigold's.

Lord Splendid Humility

A unicorn that Marigold admires greatly because of his humility. He is in fact so humble that he never shows himself and spends most of his time hiding in bushes.

  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The only part of him we ever see is his horn, poking out of whatever bush he's currently hiding in.
  • Nice Guy: He's very friendly and thoughtful.


A lightning dragon who first appears in The Magic Storm. She's friends with Max.

Aurora and Fawn

Dakota's sunbathing companions.

Infernus, the Unicorn of Death

A young cousin of Marigold. Neigh go by "Ferny" as a nickname.

  • Deathbringer the Adorable: "Infernus, the Unicorn of Death," screams Names To Run Away From Very Fast, yet neigh're a cute foal whose name is often substituted by the much less threatening "Ferny."
    • Turns out to apply to their entire immediate family, parents Maledicta Unavoidable Catastrophe and Onyx Darkbane, Foreteller of the World's End, while neir sibling Buttercup Jeweled Delight is a Goth.
  • Interspecies Romance: Neigh have a crush on Phoebe, according to Marigold.
  • Pronoun Trouble: Subverted, as neigh go by the standard Unicornese pronoun.
  • Puppy Love: Ferny is interested in Phoebe, which she does not seem to mind. Marigold finds it cute.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Described as "younger than the forest's median-aged tree," which makes neigh about the same age as Phoebe in unicorn terms.
  • Transgender: Does not identify as male or female. It has not been confirmed whether this means neigh has No Biological Sex.


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