Critter Coven is a webcomic by Austin "Lucheek" Vanderwilt about "Real witches, who just happen to be animals". Set in a World of Funny Animals, it follows scholarly neo-pagan Florence Greentail, who decides to set up a study group concerning practical and theoretical magic.
This fails immediately.
Instead, she finds it hijacked and turned into a coven, bringing together some eccentric characters intrigued by magic for various occult and New Age adventures, playfully poking fun at stereotypes of all sorts along the way. The comic normally updates on Wednesdays and Saturdays, though it takes occasional hiatuses. See also the character page (coming soon) for more character-specific tropes. This page is a WIP!
Critter Coven provides examples of the following tropes:
- All There in the Manual:
- The character tags name the characters who don't have their names mentioned in the comic itself, like Denise Hopper (Clara's mom) and Inkshadowblood's family members.
- The character bios reveal that Clara and Rosie identify as a transwoman and demi-woman, respectively. They also reveal the main characters' ages (except for Arepo's) and birthdays (only for Florence and Clara).
- All Witches Have Cats: Arepo is a black cat who claims to be part of a very long line of powerful black cat witches.
- Amicable Exes: Clara and Rosie dated in high school, they're not together at the time of the comic but still close friends.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The 13th Vigil is one of these in-universe, playing the part of a magical Illuminati that appears frequently in movies. Arepo claims to represent them, and she's got the robes and taxidermied corpses as proof.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: An educational page detailing a relevant real-world principle of magical belief appears after each chapter. Rosie, being skeptical, questions exactly how much educational value this provides.
- Animal Gender-Bender: Rosie appears to be a female cardinal with male coloration, but here it's justified; see Furry Confusion below.
- Asleep for Days: When Arepo appears in chapter 2 she claims to have just woken up, after 167 hours asleep (six days, 23 hours).
- Bewitched Amphibians: Both Clara and Ink imagine Arepo turning people into frogs when posting about the first coven meeting on Tumblr.
- Big Eater: Arepo. In a bonus comic where the coven entered a baking contest she tried to eat all the entries, she bought Clara's whole bake sale in advance, and when she finds out Ink's family owns a butcher shop she asks if they'll adopt her.
- Cheesy Moon: Florence practices the Lunar Cheese tradition of magic and refers to the light of the savory moon once.
- Chromosome Casting: All named characters (with the exception of Inkshadowblood's brothers and a guest character) are female, unsurprisingly for a coven of witches.
- Discriminate and Switch: When Inkshadowblood tells the coven that her mother doesn't want her hanging out with them anymore, Florence assumes it's because she's The Fundamentalist Christian and hates witches irrationally. In fact, it's just that all of the members are significantly older than Ink.
- Dumpster Dive: Florence raids her neighbors' garbage to feed her ever-growing jar collection.
- Eyepatch of Power: Rosie wears an eyepatch over her left eye.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble:
- The Cynic: Rosie Reeds. A relaxed Gamer Chick bird and artist, explicitly disbelieving in the supernatural and amused by her best friend's credulity. Prefers Cutting the Knot to more elaborate plans. Views herself mostly as the Only Sane Man, but hates when people act superior.
- The Optimist: Inkshadowblood (AKA Mary Pope). A Hot-Blooded, edgy teenage punk fox rebelling against her (allegedly) oppressively Catholic mother. Fond of Heavy Metal and expects to be able to use magic to fight her high school bullies.
- The Realist: Florence Greentail. A cheerful rat author and gardener. Worships the Moon. Down-to-earth and good at keeping balance between some of the wilder elements of the group, and prefers to use magic for mundane and pragmatic purposes. Can be agitated when not treated with respect.
- The Apathetic: Arepo. A mysterious, huge robed cat who claims to represent an even more mysterious cabal. Spends most of her time sleeping at home or eating snacks, but becomes intrigued and bossy when offered the chance to do something stereotypically arcane. Decides to form a coven out of the study group, on the basis of her self-proclaimed authority. A cloudcuckoolander. Seems to desperately want friends, but has little idea how to go about making them.
- The Conflicted: Clara Hopper, a nervous, sweet goat, Rosie's best friend (and ex-girlfriend). An Occidental Otaku and cosplay fan with seemingly deep pockets and a shy manner. Is both The Ditherer and The Cutie. Also a "fruity"—this universe's equivalent of the Furry Fandom. Not sure at first whether she belongs in the coven.
- Furry Confusion: Neatly solved in the worldbuilding section of the site. None of the characters are actually the animals they seem, but are rather a single omnivorous mammalian species which mimics all other species found in nature, which still exist. They displaced humans a long time ago but created a world otherwise very similar. This also explains Rosie's Non-Mammal Mammaries.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Florence after the ghost encounter.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The closest thing to a supernatural event in the comic thus far has been Rosie's encounter with a ghost, consisting of her walking through a cold spot, hearing phantom footsteps, and a spooky voice growling her name. And then a windstorm when the coven try to contact it.
- Mummies at the Dinner Table: Arepo has the taxidermied corpses of her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother in her house.
- Perky Goth: Inkshadowblood dresses the part but is a bit high-strung for the stereotype.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Clara tries using these to convince Rosie to help clean up Arepo's manor.Rosie: Aaagh! No!! You're using your moe powers for evil, Clara!
- Salt Solution: Florence uses a bag of all-natural sea salt to make a protective circle when they try contacting a ghost, but doesn't have enough to make it wide enough for all of them.
- Tarot Troubles: Florence uses readings, and when she inquires whether starting this coven was a good idea, she gets..."Really Stupid Fool". Mostly she's just annoyed at herself for buying the novelty deck.
- Themed Tarot Deck: Started as part of the Patreon rewards. The Fool shows Inkshadowblood about to try flying on a broomstick.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: According to the author, Lighthouse Landing is somewhere in the Northeastern US. Presumably it's on the ocean or a lake.
- Voodoo Doll: Arepo makes poppets of the other coven members after their first meeting, and Florence explains the difference in the first chapter end.
- Wall of Blather: Florence has a habit of rambling on about subjects like the origins of witchs hats, or how ghosts can be banished.
- We Used to Be Friends: Florence and her (self-declared) nemesis, Trish Honeyblood, were best friends in 8th grade.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: Each update is styled as an "updayte", spoofing "magyck" and similar spellings found in various modern magical practices.