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Webcomic / Carciphona

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Carciphona (formerly titled Blackbird) is a high fantasy web manga, found here, written, illustrated, and published by Shilin Huang.

In the world of Maelstrom, the use of magic is one of the most useful skills available to both humans and beast-humans. While beast-humans' control of magic stems from their affinity with nature, humans must rely on a decidedly more artificial way to practice sorcery; namely, by channeling the power of malevolent spirits. While the use of demons for sorcery was long believed to have no dangerous side effects, opinion changed when a mysterious assassin, immune to magic and possibly possessed by demons, began a killing spree of highly skilled magic users, including royalty. Faced with no way to defeat the enigmatic "Blackbird", the collective governments of Maelstrom initiated an international prohibition on the use of demon magic, effectively ruining the careers of countless sorcerers (although beast-humans more than picked up the slack).


Four years after the ban, almost every human sorcerer has either given up practicing magic or been imprisoned. However, Veloce Visrin, a young sorceress in the country of Kronzel, was exempted from the ban by the king, in exchange for her freedom and the promise to keep her abilities a secret. Unfortunately, an attempted "assassination" by Blackbird herself forces Veloce to act in self-defense and blow her cover. Pursued by the king's forces, Veloce is forced to rely on the help of two young aristocrats to escape.

The comic is well worth reading, both for the fantastic art and in-depth writing.


This webcomic provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Veloce, who comes from a long line of such. It's downplayed at first, but as more magic users of various types are introduced it becomes clear that Veloce is head and shoulders above them even in their specializations.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Keritzel is certainly very mature for his age, if disconcertingly naïve.
  • Alternate Continuity: In the Amongst Us webcomic, Veloce and Blackbird are a loving couple set in the present era.
  • Anti-Hero: Veloce is a Type II.
  • Anti-Magical Faction: Most governments, but only of demon magic, the most common magic available to humans.
  • Art Evolution: Though the art style remains mostly consistent, it becomes more refined as the series goes on, and certain characters, namely Keri and Weirin, start to look their ages.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Minister Meron survived long enough to get medical attention after getting stabbed through the heart. Now, maybe their inhuman blood had something to do with it, but even Shilin said in the comments section, "Shilin's horrible understanding of anatomy and trauma knows no bounds."
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  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This seems to be how generals are chosen: not just for their ability to command soldiers, but for their ability to personally kick ass.
  • Ban on Magic
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Iriel.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Well, more like a Bunny Ears assassin in Blackbird.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Veloce is on the receiving end of one early in the series when Blackbird attacks her for the first time.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Blackbird all but outright flirts with Veloce on several occasions.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
    • The Cynic: Veloce
    • The Optimist: Keritzel
    • The Realist: Weirin
    • The Apathetic: Iriel
    • The Conflicted: Meron
  • Healing Factor: Veloce can use magic to heal herself rapidly, although it takes quite a lot of energy.
  • Hero Killer: Blackbird is infamous for fighting the most powerful sorcerers in the world and curb stomping them. The first time Veloce fights her, she is so terrified she can't even control her powers, and Blackbird leaves her skewered to a wall. The second time goes much the same way until Veloce begs for another chance to be a worthy opponent: when Blackbird grants it she unleashes her full power and skill... and still loses.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Veloce has a strong sense of justice, but her aloofness and need to keep a low profile means that she doesn't demonstrate it much.
  • Magic Music: Holy magic apparently requires music to function, calling spirits based on the emotion in the music. The Immortal also uses songs. This is perhaps the only type of magic shown so far that Veloce has not demonstrated an ability to use.
  • Mundanization: In addition to the main series, Shilin is publishing an on-going Slice of Life series titled Amongst Us, starring Veloce and Blackbird as a musician couple living in the contemporary, superpower-free world.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The fairy is a necromancer; accepting its siren call is to die and become its servant. However, these are Technically Living Zombie, as while they can't be saved their bodies still live, which is why the Carciphona children still have to be mercy killed after their defeat.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire magic seems to be a favorite among beast-humans.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The sclera of the eyes of those dominated by the Immortal turn red. Fitting, as this kills them, so they are full on zombies. This is an Informed Attribute, as it can't be seen in the black and white and none are visible in the brief colored section.
  • Wham Episode: Page 57 & 58 of Volume 4: Meron gets stabbed by Blackbird.


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