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Comic Book / Vögelein

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"From dawn the first day until dusk the next. That is how long I have."

Vögelein is an independent comic written, penciled and inked by Jane Irwin.

When Jakob, Vogelein's Guardian of 50 years, dies quietly in his sleep one night, her life is thrown into utter turmoil. Left without someone to wind her, the tiny clockwork faerie has less than five hours to live — unless she can find someone to trust. Unable to reach the keyhole in her back, she continues to wind down until she stops — and then her memories of the past three hundred years will quickly slip away, leaving her a simple automaton unable to speak or move on her own. In her search for a new Guardian, Vogelein must grapple with her own past, her current daily survival and a true Faerie who has taken an instant disliking to her, all so that she will not lose her memories — and her self. The home page is here, where you can see one of the chapters.


This comic provides examples of:

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Vogelein is a clockwork faerie (in a world where this is not usual at all) and does not believe in actual faeries.
  • Art Evolution: Actually something of a detriment — when the appearances of characters change over a chapter, Irwin has to go back and update older comics to reflect this.
  • Empathic Shapeshifter: Real fae left behind in the real world slowly change into what people expect them to look and act like — in the Duskie's case, a tiny, winged, impotently furious trickster.
  • The Fair Folk: The Duskie once called Midhir.
  • Gratuitous German: "Vogelein" means "little bird", and she occasionally uses other German phrases. Justified because Germany is where she was made and learned to speak, and Irwin has gone to actual German speakers to make sure she was using words correctly.
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  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The Duskie's position. To be fair, they did "steal his wife, murder his children, and desecrate the land of his people".
  • Painting the Medium: Every character has his or her own text.
  • Photographic Memory: Except when she hasn't been wound — in which case she forgets more and more — Vogelein forgets nothing.
  • Really 700 Years Old: More like two hundred plus. She doesn't look it, but then, she is clockwork.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Vogelein was built after Heinrich's beloved, Birgit, died. Her hair used to be a lock of Birgit's.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Vogelein is a clockwork, but you wouldn't know that she wasn't a flesh-and-myth faerie until you got a very close look at her hands.
  • Truly Single Parent: Heinrich. Admittedly, he had the Romani trader Alexi to gather materials and help raise Vogelein, but he built her by himself.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Vogelein is potentially immortal, but needs to be wound every 36 hours. She entrusts her existence to a chain of Guardians who all inevitably die. Sometimes this makes her very unhappy.
  • Winged Humanoid: Vogelein herself — her wings are detailed like that when still, featureless when in motion. The Duskie qualifies, too, though in his case he didn't start out with them.