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Webcomic / Maddie In America

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Time to see the world!

Maddie in America was the second webcomic in Ruairidh MacVeigh's series that began with "Maddie on the Island Hue" Picking up about a month after the end of the previous comic, Maddie is about to turn 18, and her parents allow her and her boyfriend Andy to travel anywhere in the world they want to as a present. They decide on America and decide to take along their best friends and same sex lovers Siobhan and Ebony. Through their trip, they get to learn more about the world around them as well as each other.

The comic seems to put a greater emphasis on comedy than its predecessor, but still has serious moments, particularly involving Siobhan and Ebony being victims of the homophobia rampant in society (keep in mind the comic takes place in 1985) and having to keep their relationship under wraps as a result.


This comic had originally been hosted on a variety of sites, but has now been entirely deleted.

MacVeigh later confirmed through a retrospective that this story would be the end of the "Maddie" series. Soon after, he began work on a spin-off comic: Outsiders starring Siobhan and Ebony.

Tropes present include:

  • Absurd Phobia: Andy's fear of flying can be viewed by some as one, as those who read the previous comic know that he has no problem with driving like a madman. MacVeigh himself claims it was done as an ironic character opposition.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Well, not all love, as everyone in the story is clearly happy with who they're with, but Andy reveals at one point that he had a crush on Siobhan when they were kids. This was due to her entering his life soon after his dad left them, and always stopped by with orange juice when he was working in the garage. When Siobhan comments that he should've told her, he says he wanted to, but it turned out she wasn't really interested. He also says that he believes that she got someone better than him to love her (Ebony).
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  • All Women Are Lustful: OK, so Siobhan isn't lustful per se, but she IS easy to tempt. The day after she hears Maddie and Andy having sex, increasing her jealousy towards their relationship, her desire to do the same with Ebony is so strong that she starts ogling every woman on the beach, which comes to a climax when she meets the very flirtacious and outspoken lesbian Yvonne. It is important to note, though, that she avoids masturbating to Yvonne in the bathroom to stay loyal to Ebony.
  • Author Appeal: Along with the car artwork that was also an example of this in the previous comic, MacVeigh mentions in the character profile for Yvonne that he always liked girls with their hair combed over the right hand side. Maddie and Rhia (in the previous comic) are examples of this, and Yvonne follows that design too, but a touch more masculine.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Just like the previous story, Ebony speaks a couple phrases in Danish, though the translations aren't shown. However, if you can figure out the meaning of the Danish word "lort," you can understand why she switches to that language at those points.
    • She also shouts some excessive Danish words of pleasure during her night of sex with Siobhan. Siobhan comments that she has no idea what she's saying, but that she should keep saying it.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When Ebony is about to hit her golf ball, she declares that she's taking her shot for "all the good things in this world," which include a warm Sunday Roast, snow at Christmas, and Siobhan in her underwear.
  • Bury Your Gays: While in the previous series, this mindset was what kept Siobhan from coming out of the closet, in this series, Ebony is more concerned about this mindset than Siobhan. This can be attributed to her spending her entire life on the island up to this point, and being more concerned about how the rest of the world thinks of her sexuality. It doesn't help that on their train ride, the first people who walk by them react with disgust at their relationship. She promises Siobhan that she'll show her all the affection she wants in the privacy of their hotel room, but not in public. She tells people they meet that Siobhan is her cousin. This starts to take its toll on them later on, as repressing their feelings makes their relationship more strained, especially when they reach San Francisco, where they see a lesbian couple kiss, but still aren't sure if it's legal. It also doesn't help that Siobhan hears Maddie and Andy making love in their room, which increases her jealousy towards their relationship, making her believe that she can't do the same with Ebony. In the end, Ebony admits that being so concerned about what those around her would think made her neglect Siobhan somewhat and lose sight of how important she is to her.
  • Call-Back: During the plane's descent into America, Andy's fear of flying gets the best of him and he hangs on to Maddie for dear life. Once they land, she asks him "Now who's the nervous, most over the top passenger?" (or "Now who's the nervous passenger?" in the edited version). This is a reference to Andy referring to her as such in the first story after a ride in his Range Rover.
    • Maddie's weird fondness for lingerie gets brought up again when the group is racing model boats in Central Park when Andy says he can imagine her bouncing around the open seas in it, to which Maddie responds by abruptly covering his mouth to prevent Siobhan and Ebony from knowing about it. Later, Ebony walks in on Maddie in her lingerie while the group is preparing to dine at a fancy restaurant, and Maddie admits her fondness for it, while also giving Ebony a set of lingerie to attract Siobhan later that night.
    • When Ebony's bikini top breaks, Maddie consoles her by telling her and Siobhan how she was in a similar situation of exposure when she met Andy. Later, that moment is brought up again- when Maddie and Andy are preparing for a night of love, Maddie points out that Andy has already seen her in all her "sexy" underwear, so she decided to go without. Andy is then reminded of their first meeting when he sees her disrobe, completely naked, in front of him.
  • Chekhov's Gun: There are two that come into play during the final volume.
    • First, the bag of swimsuits Siobhan bought in "The World's Largest Store" also contained a sexy outfit she puts on when making love to Ebony.
    • In the same scene, Ebony reveals that the ice cream stand she stopped at in San Francisco also was selling a book of lesbian sexual practices.
  • Coitus Ensues: Surprisingly averted with the sex scene between Maddie and Andy. Though MacVeigh realized that putting such a thing in the comic would make some think he's run out of ideas and just turned the thing into erotic fanfiction, it actually does serve a purpose to the story. His cousin pointed out to him that when doing an adult themed story involving romance, various moments in the couple's love life should be examined, and one of those is the couple's first time having sex. MacVeigh was torn on whether to depict it as implied and brushed over in two pages (which he felt would lack any development), or make it a descent into something similar to Caligula, which he notably criticized in the first story. In the end, he went with a mix of erotic situations (the characters readying themselves for the experience, talking to each other, and taking the time to let themselves go), but didn't really make it a descent into porn, as we never see the character's genitals (though we do see Maddie's breasts). It also serves another purpose to the story- reminding Siobhan of her dilemma in that she feels she can't show passionate love to Ebony the same way that Maddie and Andy show love for each other- though they do get their chance by the story's end.
  • Coming of Age Story: While the trip in the story happens because of Maddie's 18th birthday, this can arguably be considered even more of one for Ebony, who, despite being older than Maddie, reacts to everything new she sees with childlike wonder and is just learning to adjust in society after spending her entire life up until this point on an island of only 14 people.
    • Also counts as a big step in Maddie's life with she and Andy making love for the first time.
    • And by the end of the story, so have Siobhan and Ebony.
  • Critical Research Failure: According to MacVeigh, Maddie, Siobhan, and Andy are 18 years old, and Ebony is 19. However, they're seen drinking alcohol in San Francisco, and someone on DeviantArt pointed out to him that the legal drinking age in California was 21 at the time. Justified as MacVeigh, as a Brit, is, in his own words "not an expert on California's legislation on alcohol!"
  • Darker and Edgier: A minor case, but Volume 4 of this comic was the first of any of MacVeigh's comics to get an R rating on (the previous ones were all rated PG-13). This is likely because of a few unobscured topless panels of Ebony (nudity in the previous comics was either shown from the back or obscured). When asked if any of the coming volumes will do anything to get an R rating, MacVeigh said "Maybe...".
    • And sure enough, Volume 5 amps things up with a sex scene between Maddie and Andy.
    • And Volume 6 has another one between Siobhan and Ebony as well as Siobhan in the bathroom fighting sexual urges.
    • Averted when the comic was moved to due to MacVeigh not being satisfied with the tonal shift these parts caused, though it DOES still keep in the topless panels of Ebony in Volume 4.
  • Deleted Role: A rare example with a character in a webcomic. Due to MacVeigh removing the more explicit parts of the story when it was transferred to his account, this meant that the character of Yvonne from Volume 6 was completely removed. Even her character description on MacVeigh's website was removed around the same time.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Siobhan and Ebony's relationship is treated as something they need to hide in order to be accepted by society. While in 1985, a few places (such as San Francisco, where part of the story takes place) started to be more accepting of same-sex couples, it was still frowned upon by most people. Nowadays, it wouldn't be thought of as that much of a problem. Once the two see a lesbian couple kissing in San Francisco, they even feel the need to ask Andy "Is it legal to be gay here?"
  • Fashion-Shop Fashion Show: The part with Maddie and Siobhan trying on outfits in "The World's Largest Store" can be counted as one. For an even better experience, read this part while listening to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper, as Ebony tells Andy she has it running through her head as soon as Maddie and Siobhan go into the changing booths.
  • Gilligan Cut: When the group decides to turn in, Ebony comments that she feel's she's gonna sleep like a log. The very next panel is her telling the rest of the group that she can't sleep due to jet lag.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Ebony reacts with disgust to this mindset after seeing a billboard for a lesbian porn show on Broadway. She insists that if people develop this mindset about lesbians, they won't be able to be taken seriously by anyone. Though she does give into temptation a bit during her night of sex with Siobhan.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: At first, it seems like the story is going to be a mostly lighthearted one about Maddie and her friends enjoying a vacation in America, but once they reach San Francisco, it suddenly becomes a more serious story about Siobhan and Ebony's relationship being strained. Averted in the version, which, despite keeping some of the strained relationship moments, removes enough so that the tone is mostly lighthearted throughout the whole thing, and the relationship strain in the edited version appears to be resolved more by Maddie and Andy getting the girls to actively participate in activities than by Siobhan confessing her desire for sex to Ebony.
  • Harsher in Hindsight. Siobhan and Ebony's concerns about keeping their relationship under wraps become validated in Outsiders when them having a laugh in a bar about a maid walking in on them making love attracts the attention of two homophibic bar patrons who beat them up, leaving them with serious injuries.
  • Hidden Depths: While it was hinted at in the previous series, here Ebony shows off an encyclopedic knowledge of planes and aviation, as she hopes to one day become a pilot. This is why the Concorde pilots wind up inviting her and Siobhan into the cockpit.
    • Maddie is also shown at one point to be good at firing guns, due to coming from a Naval family.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: When Ebony is disgusted by the fact that a lesbian porn show is showing on Broadway, Siobhan reassures her by saying that she knows that the two of them would never do what the lesbians in the show do, which includes licking each other. Come Siobhan and Ebony's night of sex, and one of the things Siobhan does is lick Ebony's bottom, and although Ebony's words say otherwise, she seems to enjoy it. Also arguably a case of Crosses the Line Twice is the Smack Jeeves version, where Ebony's response to the show is "Imagine what you'd catch if you put your tongue there." Made even more blatant in the Smack Jeeves version, where Siobhan says "You know when we make love, we'd never do that, right?"
    • When the group leaves New York, Ebony is visibly upset about leaving, and Siobhan tries to reassure her by saying "I get the feeling you and I will be seeing a lot more of New York in the future." This statement is truer than Siobhan could've realized at the time, because in Outsiders, her big job interview winds up being in New York. Though it also becomes Harsher in Hindsight when Siobhan gets a job there, as while she will most definitely see a lot more of New York in the future, Ebony cannot legally live with her in the United States. However, she eventually does earn the legal right to live with Siobhan in Volume 8 of Outsiders.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The reason later volumes are rated R, see Darker and Edgier for more on that. Averted for the versions, which eliminate all the lewd content except for Ebony losing her bikini top.
  • I'll Be in My Bunk: This is pretty much Siobhan's reaction when she rushes to the bathroom after seeing Yvonne. Ultimately subverted in that she doesn't actually masturbate to Yvonne.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Maddie and Andy wind up being this after their night of sex, as Siobhan heard what they were going at from the room next to theirs, and it made her believe that she can't show love to Ebony on the trip the same way Maddie and Andy show love for each other. Justified in that Maddie and Andy thought that she wouldn't be able to hear them due to the concrete walls and possibly being asleep.
  • Ironic Fear: Again, Andy's fear of flying considering how much of a crazy driver he is.
  • Lesbian Jock: Ebony in this story is shown to be just about as good at lifting heavy weights as Andy.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the previous series, this one puts more emphasis on silly antics- at least for the first half. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, as it does allow for some great self-discovery moments for the characters. It still has some serious moments, but nothing too serious compared to Siobhan's struggles in the first story. Of course, if you disregard the story and focus on the content of each comic, the first story seems like the Lighter and Softer one instead. That content, however, was removed when the comic was moved from MacVeigh's website to his account.
  • Naked People Are Funny: While Ebony is swimming in the Pacific Ocean, a big wave tears her bikini top in half. Note that this is the first time MacVeigh has drawn unobscured frontal nudity, however, he feels that he did it not as a degeneration into fanservice, but because he felt that people wouldn't get the joke if they didn't see it. This is the most NSFW the comic has gotten so far- until the sex scene in Volume 5, that is. Although it IS still the most NSFW the comic gets in the Re-Cut version for, which, despite removing most explicit content, actually keeps this part.
    • When Maddie pulls down Andy's shorts during their night of passion, her immediate reaction is to gasp. Andy comments that he has no excuse for it, and Maddie replies that she did it because she never saw a man's... "y'know." Andy then says it's OK because the last time he saw a lady's "area" was probably the maternity ward (for the record, during this part, we do see Maddie's breasts, but neither her's, nor Andy's reproductive organs).
  • Obligatory Joke: Played with. Ebony doesn't think of the connection between "Madison Square Garden" and "Madison Stephanie Grey" until hours after they try to visit it.
  • Put on a Bus: Matt and Rhia from the previous comic don't appear here because they're busy attending school in Ireland. However, it is mentioned that Rhia has relatives who live in Seattle and that they could always go visit them.
  • Re-Cut: When moving the comic from his website to his account, MacVeigh looked back at the more explicit parts and decided that, despite a lot of character development being put into those parts, they created a big tonal shift and didn't add anything to the story. As such, during the conversion, these parts were removed to keep a more tasteful tone. As such, any reader confused about tropes describing some explicit moments should note that these were only in the original version, which can no longer be found. Though this version DOES still keep the scene of Ebony losing her bikini top in Volume 4, as well as her uncensored breasts. The cut content is as follows:
    • In Volume 3, the end part, showing Ebony getting out of the dress Maddie gave her to show Siobhan her lingerie is removed, so it instead ends with Siobhan and Ebony playing piano and singing while Maddie and Andy dance at a restaurant in the World Trade Center.
    • The latter half of Volume 5 and Volume 6 have been removed due to showing sex scenes, and in Volume 6's case, having pretty much the entirety of the volume be build up for a sex scene. As a result, the story now ends with Maddie and Andy talking about getting dolled up for a night of love, but we don't actually get to see it.
    • A second re-edit has been made for Smack Jeeves. This one touches up some of the dialogue (supposedly for an easier reading experience, like what MacVeigh did when Maddie on the Island Hue moved to Smack Jeeves), and, although it hasn't been seen yet, may actually include some of the adult content that was edited out of the first re-cut.
  • Running Gag: In Volume 2, there's one involving Maddie and her friends wanting to visit some great location in New York, but being unable to do so for various reasons.
  • Scenery Porn: The various drawings of the New York and San Francisco landmarks in the story. This was what MacVeigh was trying to achieve, as in his first comic, the locations were very limited.
  • Sleepwalking: Both Siobhan and Maddie are revealed to be occasionally prone to this, which sets up the comical scenario of Siobhan and Ebony accidentally giving Andy and Maddie respectively wake up calls by trying to kiss them, though Maddie is too asleep to notice Ebony doing it to her.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The passengers on the train who walk by Siobhan and Ebony during their flirting only appear for one panel and don't speak a word, but the visible disgust they show at the two's relationship is what motivates them to try and conceal it for most of the comic.
  • Squick: Surprisingly enough, Maddie and Andy's sex scene mostly averts this by not showing the grosser details of it or Maddie and Andy's genitals, but after they're done, we do see Maddie holding Andy's recently used condom.
    • At first, Siobhan fighting sexual urges in the bathroom seems like it's heading this way with her masturbating seeming inevitable, but during her night of sex with Ebony, we learn that she avoided doing it to remain loyal to Ebony.
    • For some, Siobhan licking Ebony's rear might be an example. Especially in the context of the Smack Jeeves version where Ebony's earlier response to the lesbian porn show on Broadway is "Imagine what you'd catch if you put your tongue there."
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Siobhan doesn't seem to think too highly of this mindset, as she sees most of the abstract art at the Guggenheim as too simple to be taken seriously, and she isn't too happy with people being rewarded for simplicity when she and her mother had to struggle to support themselves.
  • What Could Have Been: Originally, Yvonne was supposed to have a much bigger role. After Siobhan left the scene, she and Ebony were going to have more conversations. This would've included her telling Ebony why she is the way she is, and mentioning that she had an Investment Banker girlfriend in Reno. However, MacVeigh decided that much of it was either repetition or didn’t really add anything to the story, so he left it out.
  • Write What You Know: The set of lingerie Maddie gives to Ebony is modeled after the "Ebony velvet and satin suspender belt," a Boux Avenue brand set of lingerie that MacVeigh stumbled across an ad for on his DeviantArt page while uploading Maddie on the Island Hue. The fact that another set advertised on the page was the "Siobhan spot mesh suspender belt" made him wonder if they'd been snooping around his computer and naming products after his characters.
  • Write Who You Know: Ebony's bikini top splitting is based on an incident MacVeigh had where he stuck his head out the window of a high speed train, a drop of water hit him on the face between the eyes, and his sunglasses split in half.
    • Yvonne from the last volume is based off a bisexual girl MacVeigh knew at his university who was very outspoken in her sexuality and would often tease people she came across by saying lewd things.
    • Also, Ebony breaking her club while golfing is something MacVeigh has actually done a few times.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: "The World's Largest Store" in Volume 3 is very obviously Macy's, but without the name mentioned due to trademarks.
  • The Woobie: Both Siobhan and Ebony. After the former finally overcame her fear of what others think of her sexuality in the previous story, she must once again keep herself hidden due to society's reaction to her and Ebony's relationship. Neither one wants to do it, but they feel they're doing so for their own good, and it eventually starts to put a strain on their relationship. Ebony soon realizes that being so concerned about the opinions of those around her made her lose sight of how important Siobhan is to her, and even though Siobhan's admittance of wanting sex with Ebony seems sudden, Ebony feels that it doesn't makes their relationship seem shallow because she knows Siobhan loves her for more than her body. The two do eventually reconcile and make love in their room. Siobhan even has the courage to stand naked on their room's balcony afterward because she feels complete.