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Webcomic / Heroine Chic

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Zoe Porter isn’t a superhero. She doesn’t have super powers. But she is going to be the hero of her own life - and she’s going to do it with style!

A comic created by author David Tischman and illustrated by Audrey Mok, Heroine Chic tells the story of Zoe Porter, a 24-year old Parsons graduate trying to make it in the superhero fashion industry.

In a New York City where superheroes and villains are a fact of life, there are plenty of businesses devoted to keeping the super-industry churning: insurance, endorsements, and of course, ateliers. After all, someone has to sew all those leotards and capes! Zoe Porter is determined to make her mark in the superhero fashion industry, and she's just scored her dream job working for Dyna Cuff — exclusive designer to the top heroes and heroines of the Big Apple.

But the industry is cutthroat, and Zoe's got to watch her back if she wants to keep her job. She'll have to be wary of her competition, her clients, and even her boss if she wants to make it in the superhero fashion business.


The series was published between 2015 and 2017 on webtoons, where it remains available for reading. Though it is marked "complete" after 3 seasons, the conclusion of the series leaves several major plot points unresolved and the main character in the middle of what looks like another assassination attempt. At best, it could be considered Left Hanging; at worst, an ending Cut Short.

Some spoilers are unmarked, so proceed with caution.


Tropes Appearing in Heroine Chic:

  • Badass Normal: Umbra Langoustine of all people, who can take on Garmento's elite "Vowel" ninja squadron (some of whom are turncoat supers doing a little contract work) without breaking a sweat. She flips, kicks, she sticks the landing, and she delivers devastating punches all without chipping her manicure OR relying on superpowers.
    Umbra: All it takes is dedication and training — and a flair for the dramatic. And no carbs. Ever.
  • Big Applesauce: Zoe lives and works in New York City, and from the looks of it NY is the center of the superhero industry.
  • Bouncing Battler: Khatie's powers get more effective every time she ricochets off a wall, so naturally her fighting style is based on evading hits while she charges up her powers by bouncing. From Chapter 12:
    Khatie's powers are kinetic-- enabling her to "bounce" off objects like a rubber ball. The energy created by those bounces increases her mass. Basically, the faster she moves, the harder she gets.
  • Brought Down to Normal: When Zoe finds out that Valiant is teenage Geordie's Superhero identity, she takes his Power Crystal until he's old enough to use it responsibly. He doesn't seem to mind.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S": Superheroes Valiant and Huge both have Chest Insignias featuring stylized letters.
  • But Not Too Bi: Zoe confirms in Chapter 2 that she dated girls in college, and there is an offhand reference to a female ex of hers at one point. But she never shows attraction to women in the comic and only dates (or sleeps with) men.
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment:
    • Discussed and then Averted — when Dyna fires Zoe in Chapter 25, Zoe's replacement Miguel has already packed Zoe's personal effects into a Bankers Box. Zoe leaves without taking the box.
      Miguel: Ginger snaps! Your stuff's in a box by the elevator.
    • Inverted when Dyna buys out Zoe's lease and moves her business in to the Heroine Chic offices. The first glimpse Zoe gets of her is Dyna moving a box of her business paraphernalia (one of dozens) into the workroom.
  • The Cameo: Kanye West, Kim Kardashian-West, and Anna Wintour are among a few famous faces that make a cameo appearance at the fashion show in Chapter 16.
  • Chest Insignia: Overlaps with Brought to You by the Letter "S" for several characters.
    • Valiant's first costume includes a stylized "V" on the chest.
    • Laren's "Liberteen" costume features a white star on a blue background — Zoe's redesign moves it from the forehead to the chest.
    • Super Ego's costume has the insignia on the chest and the back.
    • Superhero Huge has a stylized "Y" on the front of his costume because, according to him at least, the name is pronounced "yuuuuuuuuge."
  • Cleavage Window:
    • Laren's original "Liberteen" costume comes with a cleavage window, until Zoe re-designs it. This is especially glaring because the rest of the costume is made of stab-proof, nigh-bulletproof cortex, and Laren doesn't even have superpowers to protect herself — she's just a Pilates instructor who took a few martial arts classes and picked up the sidekick gig to make some extra cash. There's no mention made of any of the other Liberteens having superpowers, so The Nation essentially has a troupe of Badass Normal sidekicks running around and facing armed foes with a great big hole in their armor right over their hearts and lungs. The Nation, notably, does not have a cleavage window in his outfit.
    • In Chapter 19 Laren disguises herself with a blonde wig and a white cropped sweater with a cleavage window in order to test Zoe's theory that Valiant only rescues attractive women. The outfit might be a reference to Power Girl.
  • Combat Stilettos:
    • Avalon's costume features chunky, 3-inch heels.
    • Laren's original "Liberteen" costume included boots with a pointy heel. Zoe's redesign got rid of the pointy heels and replaced them with what looks like a slim army boot.
    • Zoe's first unfortunate "Gilded Lily" costume features some sort of oversized glass heel that projects a good inch from the back of her foot.
    • Paragon II's costume by Heroine Chic features knee-high boots with a tall (3-4 inches), chunky heel.
    • Badass Normal Umbra annihilates Garmento's elite "Vowel" ninja squadron, and does it all in heels.
  • Combo Platter Powers: While Zoe mentions that Single-Power Superheroes are more common, some do get multiple powers. Valiant has Enhanced/ X-Ray Vision, Super-Hearing, Flight, Super Speed, and Super Strength - basically a Flying Brick. Zoe largely gets the same powers when she takes custody of Valiant's Eternity Stone.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Supervillain Mindful wears a custom tailored trenchcoat while he commits crimes.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Superhero: Endorsement deals are expected for any popular superhero. In Chapter 21, Zoe even mentions that demographically speaking, teen-hero Spinner's mother (the retired hero Avalanche) could get better endorsement deals than her daughter.
    Zoe: Y'know... I was just reading how sponsors are looking for single mothers, because they're the true face of today's America.
    Avalanche: Really? You saw that?
    Zoe: On the internet. It seems like you're what the sponsors want. And you're in such great shape. Detergents, cars, cosmetics. A teenager can't speak to those products the way you can.
    Avalanche: That's very interesting.
    Zoe: And because you're an adult, the insurance rates are much lower--
  • Dresses the Same: Umbra Langoustine always inexplicably shows up in the same outfit Dyna Cuff is wearing.
  • Excalibur: Superhero Avalon is the mythical Lady of the Lake, and she wields King Arthur's legendary sword due to a loophole in Merlin's rules. The sword was meant only to be carried by King Arthur, but the Lady of the Lake had to be able to bequeath it upon him — and thus she gained an exemption to the Only the Chosen May Wield clause.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After being rescued from Excelsior's ship by her future self, present-day Zoe adds a stripe of purple dye to her red hair to resemble future Zoe.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Superhero Huge joins Garmento's squadron of "Vowel Ninjas," claiming Garmento "made me an offer I couldn't refuse." He goes from hero to faceless goon.
  • False Flag Operation: The Nation and Liberteen foil what appears to be a terrorist attack perpetrated by ISIS operatives. When the "terrorists" are unmasked, they turn out to be white men in brown-face makeup.
  • Fanservice:
    • Zoe and Laren spend a lot of time in their apartment dressed in only their underwear.
    • As part of her job, Zoe tends to encounter a lot of attractive, athletic superheroes who strip down to their skivvies for costume fittings.
  • Fashion Designer:
    • Zoe wants to be a fashion designer... for superheroes.
    • Dyna Cuff and Umbra Langoustine are both successful superhero designers.
    • Arpaya Servachi is a successful designer, who at the end of Season 3 wants to break into the superhero design business.
  • Fastball Special: The trope gets namedropped by Khatie when she and Avalon team up in Chapter 31, with Avalon using her strength to launch Khatie into a super-powerful bounce.
  • Fiery Redhead: Zoe's a natural redhead with a strong, outgoing personality.
  • Flying Brick: Valiant's Combo Platter Powers include Enhanced/ X-Ray Vision, Super-Hearing, Flight, Super Speed, and Super Strength. When Zoe takes his power-granting Eternity Stone, she gets the same slate of powers.
  • Invisibility: Umbra's assistant, Cosmo, has the power of invisibility.
  • The Lady of the Lake: Avalon is the legendary Lady of the Lake who bequeathed Excalibur to King Arthur. She's over two thousand years old (at least according to Paragon II), and has turned to the hero-ing business in modern times to make use of her super strength and magic sword.
  • Legacy Character: Paragon passed her name down to Paragon II. This is apparently pretty common in the superhero business, and there's a charity event held every year called "Heritage Con" that brings together legacy heroes and their namesakes.
  • Minidress of Power:
    • Khatie's ballerina-inspired costume and her tennis-inspired costume from Dyna both featured short skirts.
    • When Umbra rescues Zoe from the clutches of Garmento's Vowel ninjas, she does it in a minidress so short even the baddies make a quip about it.
      Y: Your party dress is a little short, don't you think Umbra?
      Umbra: Y, do you care?
      Y: Women your age usually wear a more appropriate length.
  • My Future Self and Me: When Zoe is kidnapped by Excelsior, her future self comes to the rescue.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: A recurring plot point in the comic is the use of Cortex: the fabric preferred for super suits by discerning heroes. Dyna Cuff made her fortune when she invented the "indestructible fabric of metastible molecules" [sic], and now it's an industry standard. It's heat resistant, flame retardant, and odor repellent. The fabric shows up several times:
    • In an early episode, Laren sells her cortex sidekick suit because she needs money. She gets $8,000 for it and starts wearing a knockoff of lesser quality, but needs Zoe's help to get her hands on more Cortex and create a replacement before her boss finds out.
    • When Zoe opens her own business, she designs custom superhero suits and sells cortex-imbued off-the-rack fashion.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Designer Arpaya Servachi and her murdered brother, Geno Servachi, are thinly-veiled references to Donatella and Gianni Versace.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Superhero Avalon is The Lady of the Lake from mythology, but she is able to wield King Arthur's legendary sword Excalibur thanks to a loophole in the rules — since she was prophesied to bestow the sword upon him, she had to be able to wield it as well. When Zoe tries to pick up Avalon's sword in Chapter 2, she finds it's impossible to lift.
  • Power Crystal: The Eternity Stone that Geordie and Zoe use to gain super powers.
  • Product Placement: Unusual for a webcomic, but Heroine Chic features several instances where fashion products and services are advertised in the comic:
    • Refinery29 gets a shoutout and an As Herself cameo on the part of it's co-founder, Christene Barberich, in Chapter 26.
    • The Hayward Luxury Crossbody bag gets a feature in both Chapter 34 and Chapter 35.
    • Zoe and Laren gush over a reversible jacket from Dolores Haze in Chapter 38.
  • Pun-Based Title: The webcomic's name, "Heroine Chic", is a play on the phrase "heroin chic", a look popularized in the 90's that takes its name from the effects of heroin use on the body (pale skin, dark under-eye circles, unhealthily skinny proportions that evolved into an androgynous mien). "Heroine" (a female hero) and "heroin" (the drug) are homophones.
  • Punny Name: Zoe runs into Police Detective Komicz several times throughout the series — his name is a pun on Detective Comics (one of the earliest superhero comic series and the direct predecessor of modern-day "DC Comics").
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: Apparently a pretty popular way to gain powers in the comic:
    • Khatie was hit by a "radioactive rubber ball," which gave her the power to store up kinetic energy when she bounces.
    • Amp was bitten by a radioactive eel, allowing her to generate electricity.
    • Dyna's husband Gareth, who operated under the superhero name Big Kahuna, "ate some bad poke" after atomic testing done in Pacific Ocean. The radioactive seafood he ate gave him the ability to shoot force beams out of his eyes.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: According to the narration in Chapter 46, The last time the Eternity Stones were used together, it created the Ice Age — a global disaster that lasted over nine thousand years and forced man to wear animal skins at unfashionable lengths.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Superhero Avalon is 2,000 years old, but doesn't look a day over 40.
  • Rubber Man: Scot, Alex, and Gabe Flexstein are a trio of superpowered brothers who can all stretch like rubber. They fight crime as "The Flexmen."
  • Sidekick:
    • Khatie's sidekick, Mr. Ping, also functions as a personal assistant.
    • Zoe's roommate and best friend Laren works part-time as "Liberteen", sidekick to superhero "The Nation." She shares the gig with seven other women, all with matching costumes and similar builds.
  • Sizeshifter: Superhero Huge's powers enable him to grow in size.
  • Stage Names: Dyna Cuff's real name is Dyan Rosenzweig. Her rival, Umbra, is the only person to ever call her "Dyan."
  • Straw Misogynist: Huge as Vowel Ninja "Y" makes a snide remark about Umbra's Minidress of Power in front of Zoe, giving Zoe license to go on a rant about sexism in the fashion industry. (There also appears to be some institutional bias in the baddies' elite ninja squad wages. According to former ninja squad member "U" ( Umbra), male Vowel Ninjas are paid more.)
    Zoe: And you! How dare you tell Umbra what she should wear! That's body shaming and ageist! Fashion is a personal statement for men and women, and no one has the right to dictate the color, or the style, or the length. We each decide what's right for us!
  • Steven Ulysses Perhero: The Flexstein brothers are a trio of superheroes with Rubber Man powers. They fight crime as "The Flexmen."
  • Show Within a Show: Dyna's renovation of Zoe's business gets its own six-episode HGTV special called "Dyna Might."
  • Time Dilation: When Zoe gets kidnapped and confined on Excelsior's spaceship, she experiences only a day's worth of time. On Earth she's gone for six weeks.
  • Title Drop: When Zoe founds her own business designing superhero suits and selling cortex-imbued off-the-rack fashion, she calls it "Heroine Chic."
  • Trans Tribulations: Khatie's coming out is traumatic and unplanned. After seeing her sidekick murdered, having all her worst fears dragged to the surface & paraded around in her mind, and being beaten within an inch of her life by Mindfull, photos of her ended up on the internet when the paparazzi Mr. Ping had called to witness her triumphant defeat of a burglar instead found Khatie bloodied, unconscious, and partially stripped.
  • Transformation Trinket: Geordie uses a red Power Crystal to transform into Valiant. Zoe later uses that same crystal to transform into Gilded Lily.
  • Two Beings, One Body: Silverman and his twin sister Super Ego share the same body. It's unclear if it's only Super Ego who has crime-fighting super powers, but it appears they both have the ability to swap their body's gender presentation based on whoever is in control at the time. When Super Ego appears out-of-costume in Chapter 53 at Zoe's party, she looks like as a young woman with short blonde hair getting very up close and personal with the hero Huge. When Silverman is in control, he takes the form of a young man with shaggy brown hair and brown eyes. The two of them start dating Quincy in the third season, as he's aware of their arrangement (and turned on by it).
  • Twin Threesome Fantasy: Quincy is not only aware that Silverman and his twin sister Super Ego are in a Two Beings, One Body situation, it's part of the reason he's dating the two of them.
    Laren: You know Silverman's twin sister is Super Ego, right? And that they share--
    Quincy: I know. I'm looking forward to it.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: In the first season, Zoe seems to have an unlimited number of cute dresses and accessories to wear to her job and on her dates, despite working a handful of gigs to make ends meet. Many of those dresses (including the polka-dot dress she wore when she met with Captain Jack in Chapter 13 (and then booty-called Valiant in Chapter 14), the graphic-print dress she wore to the fashion show with Dyna in Chapter 15, the sleeveless red dress she wore clubbing with Laren in Chapter 20, the blue mod-style dress she wore while working with Spinner and Avelanche in Chapter 21, the black dress she wore on her first date with Daniel in Chapter 22, and the white dress she wore in the season 1 finale in Chapter 26 ) make a cameo appearance in the first episode of Season 2, when she's picking out what to wear to an important consultation.
  • Unusual Pop Culture Name: Laren's parents are huge fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, having named her after the character Ro Laren.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Fan favorite "Man Bun Jogger", or "MJB" was a recurring background character in Seasons 1 and 2 notable for being an attractive guy with a man-bun who jogged while shirtless. As of Season 3 he was upgraded to a named character (Tom) making more appearances (and wearing more clothes) as Laren's boyfriend.
  • Weight Woe: Scott, leader of the Flexmen, is hyper-conscious about his weight, and is always worried about whether his costume makes him "look fat." He mentions having been on a juice cleanse before his latest fitting with Dyna.
  • Wicked Cultured: Villain Excelsior goes to great lengths to show off how well read he is:
    Excelsior: One last thing... while I have you— there's something I've always wondered about... are you named after "Zoe" in Salinger's "Franny and Zooey"? I was an English Major and kind of a Salinger nerd... I'm one of those guys who tracked down a copy of the June 19, 1965 New Yorker to read "Hapsworth 16, 1924". I have to say, it's a little hard to get through.
    Zoe: It's Zooey! "Franny and Zooey!"
    Excelsior: I have a copy here, somewhere. I'm going to go check.