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Webcomic / Maddie on the Island Hue

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Why would anyone live here?

Maddie on the Island Hue was a Slice of Life webcomic by British transportation artist Ruairidh Mac Veigh. Set in the summer of 1985 the story follows 17-year-old Madison "Maddie" Stephanie Grey, an upper class girl from Plymouth in Devon who moves with her parents to the remote Scottish island of Hue in the Outer Hebrides due to her marine biologist father getting a job there. Although she initially finds it hard to adjust to living on an island of only 14 people where she lacks most of her high class luxuries (as well as experiencing some oddities like an outdoor shower), Maddie soon befriends some of the island's younger residents: Siobhan Pattinson, a nervous but well meaning girl who sold her their new house on the island (due to being the daughter of Hue's housing agent), Andy Taylor, the island's wild mechanic who lives next door to Maddie, Ebony Larsson, an upbeat sheep farmer and an open lesbian, and Matthew "Matt" O'Rourke, the son of the island's priest, and Andy's best friend. After Matt departs for a while due to his parents living in different places, he later returns to the island joined by his girlfriend Rhia from Ireland. Maddie often finds herself going to great lengths to solve her friends' personal problems.

The series is a fair mix of comedy and drama. Most of the funny moments comes from Maddie's experiences adjusting to life on the island and playing off of her friends, and a lot of the drama comes from her friend's backstories.

This comic has now been deleted.

Upon the conclusion of the comic's original run in late 2016, a sequel Maddie In America was released, followed by a spin-off starring Siobhan and Ebony named Outsiders; which was released in December 2017.

Tropes present include:

  • Accidental Kiss: What triggers Siobhan and Ebony's inner struggles. They don't actually kiss at that moment, but Siobhan gets close to doing it to Ebony when they talk about how she'd stick by her no matter what happens, calling her "Sweetcake." She stops herself just before doing it though, with the two girls asking each other what just happened. Siobhan initially dismisses it as something to do with the water, but when Ebony realizes their sexuality, Siobhan, too upset to reveal hers, starts to insult Ebony's sexuality saying it isn't right, causing Ebony to smack her. Ebony eventually realizes that Siobhan is attracted to her when she remembers "Sweetcake." She then tries to use herself as bait to get Siobhan to admit the truth, which seems to work, and the two share an actual kiss to confirm it, but Ebony tells Siobhan that since Siobhan has the mark on her face from Ebony smacking her, they'll have to pretend to hate each other until Siobhan is willing to accept her sexuality. They share several other actual kisses once Siobhan comes out.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted. The adults in the series (not counting the young adult characters who are the main focus) are very understanding and helpful to their kids. Siobhan's mom is very accepting of her daughter's sexuality and rekindling her relationship with Ebony, and Maddie's parents are glad to help her sort out her conflicting feelings towards Andy and vice versa.
  • Affectionate Nickname: "Mads" for Maddie, used by Andy, "Shivvers" for Siobhan, used by Ebony, and "Sweetcake" for Ebony, used by Siobhan once the latter comes out as bisexual.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Ebony averts the trope, but Maddie manages to use Sherlock Holmes style deduction to find out that Siobhan is bisexual this way. Some reasons she gives are her getting easily nervous around Ebony (like she knew Siobhan had something to hide), getting nervous again when Maddie's midriff was showing and when the group was undressing to go swimming, and figuring that the reason she took so long to return with sandwiches was because she was masturbating to pictures of her friends (and that bis are more sexually active than gays or heteros).
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Maddie and Andy. Though it comes off more as the bad boy wanting the girl and changing his "bad" behavior because of that.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Andy shows signs of this at a lot of points, but seems to be trying to stop it later, as right as he is about to have sex with Maddie, he stops himself, realizing the consequences of doing so.
  • All There in the Manual: The names of Maddie's father (Jeffery), Siobhan's mother (Renee), and Rhia's last name (Beckenridge) which don't show up in the story, but are mentioned in the character profiles on MacVeigh's website. Averted with Maddie's mom, whose name (Demelza) is mentioned once to Siobhan early in the story. Also averted in a later edit, which mentions Jeffrey and Renee's names as well.
  • Author Appeal: Artwork and talks about cars appear quite a bit, as MacVeigh is a transportation artist and auto enthusiast. He even dedicated a section of his website to explaining the cars of the comic in greater detail.
  • Author Avatar: Word of God says all the characters are based off parts of MacVeigh's personality, but Andy seems to be this the most as he shares the author's fascination with cars. Justfied as Andy is a mechanic.
  • Author Phobia: Siobhan's fear of homophobia is based on MacVeigh's own fear of the same thing.
  • Badass Driver: Once you get past the fact that Andy Drives Like Crazy, you realize he is this as he IS able to get passengers to town in one piece. Driving since he was twelve years old probably helped with that. Maddie even asks him to teach her how to drive later in the series.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ebony. She is normally one of the most cheerful people on the island, but take a topless photo of her, and you WILL have hell to pay. Also evident when she smacked Siobhan for insulting her sexuality.
  • Bilingual Bonus: As a family tradition due to her Viking roots, Ebony's first language is Danish, and, at least in the published version, she speaks Danish around her family (and to prove to Maddie that she knows the language) and English around her friends, although the translations of the Danish she says can be seen inside her speech bubbles in parentheses- with one notable exception: When she and Siobhan get together, just before they kiss, she says "Siobhan, vidunderlige Siobhan!" Though not shown in the comic, "vidunderlige" is the Danish word for "wonderful." In the character profiles, MacVeigh commented that if the comic was ever put to film, Ebony would have a noticeable accent, though not as heavy as those who were born and grew up in Denmark, as her association with British people would dilute it somewhat. This is likely why he chose Danish actress Mia Jexen as her hypothetical voice if the comic was adapted for animation.
    • In the most recent re-edit, Ebony speaks Danish from the very start of the story, with her first lines being "Hej! Gå tilbage til feltet, du loppe-redet røvhuller! Kristus, du tager en pisse og de gar overalt!" ("Hey! Go back to the field, you flea-ridden ass holes! Christ, you take a piss and they go everywhere!).
    • Both Maddie and her mother are fluent in German because her mom was born to a German mother. Maddie at one point comments on Andy through speaking German while staying over at his house. Though not shown in the comic, what she says translates to "My friend Andy is a fantastic cook. But he has wild hair and drives like a madman!"
    • MacVeigh did a series of "alter ego" drawings for his characters. One is of Maddie, Siobhan, and Ebony as anime schoolgirls, and the conversation they have is in Japanese as follows:
    Siobhan: (to Maddie) You look so pretty!
    Maddie: Thank you very much! I am very cute!
    Ebony: (aside to the "camera") Damn it, Rory!
  • Bury Your Gays: This mindset is what initially makes Siobhan reluctant to come out with her sexuality. Fortunately, Maddie reminds her that people in 1985 (the year the comic is set in) are far more accepting of gay or bisexual people than they were 100 years prior.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: This is why Andy is reluctant to get together with Maddie. He discovers it when his mind tells him to have sex with her and he can't bring himself to do it. Then again it's a reason why Maddie's parents are more supportive of them getting together.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Siobhan and Ebony, though it's a bit complicated for them, with a few years of being just friends, then two years of pretending to hate each other, then a few weeks with them slowly getting the urge to drop the act, and then suddenly becoming an item.
  • Coming-Out Story: For Siobhan.
  • Deleted Scene: A few parts from the DeviantArt version have become this after being removed for the published version due to not adding much to the story. An example is the part where Andy spins around the beach in his Rolls Royce before nearly crashing into a big rock.
    • Also, some parts of the story were changed. Aside from the change in dialogue mentioned below in Naked People Are Funny, in the original DeviantArt version, the way Maddie's friends decide to make hiking the mountain easier for her due to her asthma is by stopping every few minutes to give her time to catch her breath. In the published version, Andy just carries her most of the way.
  • Determinator: Maddie when it comes to helping her friends. In particular, she goes to great lengths to make sure Siobhan and Ebony become friends again.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Andy. Despite this, he is able to get Maddie to town in one piece. See Badass Driver above for the reason why.
  • Edited for Syndication: More accurately, for publication. New panel layouts and additional angles for character's heads have been employed for this format, but the biggest change is that due to MacVeigh not being able to secure brand name use for companies like Rolls Royce, Land Rover, and Toyota, some of the cars will be changed to avoid the risk of copyright infringement.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Maddie considers her real first name "Madison" to be this, not because she thinks it's a bad name, but because she thinks it's childish and has "too many syllables in it."
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Andy's full name is Andrew Maximilian (or just "Maxi" in the SmackJeeves version) George Thomas Taylor. The "Maxi(milian)" part comes from his parents seeing an Austin Maxi outside the hospital where he was born.
  • Famous Ancestor: While not necessarily qualifying as "famous," Ebony's family is the oldest on the island (she is the only character who's spent her entire life on it). Many of her relatives have their graves in the island's church.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Ebony seems to be one if this drawing of her hugging a sheep is any indication- granted, she is a sheep farmer, but MacVeigh in the description calls her "the biggest softie ever to walk God's earth." There's also this drawing of her surrounded by butterflies.
  • Genki Girl: Ebony at times, like when she compulsively hugs Maddie for accepting her as a friend despite her sexuality, and overall being the most excitable out of Maddie's friends. She also performs rather flamboyantly when she sings.
  • Get Back in the Closet: Siobhan until Maddie convinces her that people on the island WILL be accepting of her.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Andy goes to Confession at one point, but Matt has to be the one to absolve him due to his father being at a meeting with the Diocese. Andy takes issue with telling Matt "Forgive me, Father" since Matt is younger than him. It comes off as funny, but when we later learn how Andy's own father left him it could offer another explanation as to why he was a bit nervous.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: MacVeigh was very surprised to learn that two Boux Avenue (lingerie) products offered to him on a right side of his DeviantArt page were the "Siobhan spot mesh suspender belt" and the "Ebony velvet and satin suspender belt." He wondered if they'd been snooping around his computer and naming products after his characters just because they noticed he's drawn lingerie before. Here's the proof. The latter would even make its way into Maddie In America, being worn by- who else- Ebony to attract Siobhan.
  • I Am Not My Father: Andy. This mindset led to his father abandoning him. Fortunately, Matt helped him get back on his feet.
  • Important Haircut: Andy is given one by Maddie at one point which is still a bit like his old mop, but not as messy. This seems to symbolize his transformation into a more polite young man.
  • It Was His Sled: Siobhan being bisexual and she and Ebony getting together seems to be becoming this now thanks to the covers for this comic and Outsiders being prominently displayed together on pretty much all the websites they're hosted on.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Andy comes off as this at first, but loses the "jerk" part over time.
    • In the published version, him being a jerk at first is pretty much done away with, as they don't have him cracking jokes at Maddie's expense during their first meeting anymore, and Siobhan mentions that he brought Maddie's family's belongings up from the other house they would have stayed in (which got destroyed) because "he always thinks of everyone before himself,"
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Best that you try not to glance at the icons for MacVeigh's other comics when reading this one for the first time, as the one for Outsiders pretty much spoils that Siobhan is bisexual and she and Ebony get together. Acknowledged by MacVeigh when a commenter replied about Ebony being embarrassed about her singing, saying that it could attract the love of her life, then saying "Oops, I spoiled something," to which MacVeigh replied "Don't worry, people just have to take one look at Outsiders for that xD!"
  • Luminescent Blush: Siobhan sports one in the most recent edit when Maddie does her bed test, making her struggle to control her sexuality even more obvious early on.
  • Monochrome Casting: Every character that's appeared so far is white. Semi-justified in that Ebony is the only character who's spent her entire life on the island, and only 14-16 people are on the island at one time. Also justified in that the characters are from different backgrounds: British (Maddie, her family and Andy (who specifically is a Brummie)), Scottish (Siobhan and Ebony (who is also of Viking descent)), and Irish (Matt and Rhia).
  • Naked People Are Funny: A few instances:
    • The first meeting between Maddie and Andy occurs when he points a gun at her while she's outside wearing only a towel. She drops it in shock, and Andy asks her if she's "enjoying the full moon." When she says there isn't one, he replies "There is from where I'm standing."
      • In the published version, this exchange is removed, and after Maddie tells Andy about the complications of her outdoor shower, he instead says "Ah, I see. For a moment, I thought a family of nudists had moved in next to me" (shortened to "I see, I thought you were a nudist." in the most recent edit).
    • When Maddie and her friends are having a sleepover, Siobhan has to take a shower, but due to Maddie's shower being outdoors, she needs to rush back into the bathroom to change, but due to Maddie's misunderstanding of how the child-proof locks in her new home work, Siobhan comes into the bathroom while Maddie is on the toilet, not realizing it until she takes her towel off and exposes her naked backside to Maddie.
    • Maddie offers to give Ebony a massage at one point since Ebony's never had one and she already gave Siobhan one. Ebony, not quite knowing about massages, asks for a full body one, to which Maddie obliges, but tells Ebony to take off her bikini top so she can do it. While Ebony does lie with her body pressed to the ground (so we don't see her breasts when Maddie is giving her the massage), Matt and Andy decide to take a photo of her, to which she angrily fights them for doing so.
  • Not So Above It All: Despite her high class upbringing, Maddie isn't immune to doing things unbecoming of a girl of her status. Pointed out by Andy when she compulsively swears while being shaken up riding in his Range Rover. She also has a thing for well made, elaborate underwear.
  • Only Six Faces: While MacVeigh IS able to distinguish his characters well enough, some people complained that Rhia looked too much like Maddie, which led to him altering Rhia's facial structure somewhat for the published version.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Rhia, who enjoys soccer, fencing, netball, and hockey, the last of which she is Team Captain of at her school.
  • Period Piece: As the comic is set in 1985, this is bound to happen at times. Notably, a lot of classic British cars and rock bands are mentioned.
  • Precision F-Strike: In the SmackJeeves version, Andy delivers a pretty nice one after having had just about enough of watching Caligula:
    Andy: Pardon my French, but what the FUCK is wrong with this horrid movie?!
  • Re-Cut: Received no less than three during its run:
    • The first happened when the comic was still on DeviantArt, where MacVeigh went back and rewrote some of the dialogue in the earlier pages to be more in line with that of the later pages.
    • The second was the published version, which rewrote some of the dialogue, used new angles for character's heads, removed some scenes that didn't affect the plot too much, and changed some of the cars to avoid copyright issues.
    • The third edit is the SmackJeeves version, which includes rewritten dialogue for an easier reading experience, new artwork, and prevents some of the character's names from being just examples of All in the Manual.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: While Ebony wasn't a HATED character, some people didn't like her seemingly stubborn refusal to rekindle her friendship with Siobhan, especially when the two had a few moments when it looked like they could be friends again, but then Ebony says no. This is explained, however, when it is revealed that Siobhan is bisexual. Ebony was just trying to help her come out on her own. Once Siobhan does come out, the two finally rekindle their friendship and even become an item.
  • Retroactive Recognition: An odd case caused by the constant website-hopping and re-edits of MacVeigh's comics. On SmackJeeves, where Outsiders is there with all the current pages uploaded while (as of the time of this post), this comic is still releasing pages twice a day, many people are more likely to read Outsiders first and then read this comic realizing that it's the "origin story" for Siobhan and Ebony. This also contributes to the moments in It Was His Sled having that status.
  • Sad Clown: Andy qualifies to an extent. He gets along great with the rest of the group and is a source of some of the more wild bits of humor, but his dad left him due to getting involved in Union strikes, which led to Andy breaking and his dad abandoning him. He tries not to let it bother him though.
    • His character profile delves into this even further, saying he was even SUICIDAL during that time.
  • Scenery Porn: At its best weather, the island of Hue is quite beautiful. Of particular note is the final panel showing the full "lover's" moon rising over the North Atlantic where its reflection is showing. Still, MacVeigh found it limiting, as the island was mostly similar scenery, which is why he set Maddie In America in a big city.
  • Squick: Siobhan masturbating to photos of her friends in the back of her truck.
    • In universe, the entire group has this reaction when they watch Caligula.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Siobhan and Ebony, although they had to pretend to hate each other for two years before getting together.
  • What Could Have Been: MacVeigh was originally going to go with "It's A Hard Life" by Queen as the song Ebony sings when she and Siobhan visit Maddie when she's sick as a wink to Siobhan and Ebony's inner struggles, but instead decided to use "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush because he felt they'd heard enough about Queen from the Live Aid playing on Maddie's TV. However, when he drew the comic, he had already drawn Ebony's performance to move in motion with the Queen song, so he changed it back to that song for the published release.
    • Siobhan was originally going to be named Catherine, but MacVeigh wasn't really satisfied with that name as he found it too bland and too anglicized for her character origin. At University, a senior technician in his department was named Siobhan, and after it took him a long time to learn how to pronounce her name, it stuck with him, so he chose to rename Catherine to Siobhan.
    • The story was originally going to be a novella, but changed into a graphic novel when MacVeigh started to hone his ability to draw human bodies and faces.
    • Originally, the story was going to be an all out comedy, with episodic short comics following Maddie adjusting to life on the island. These would've included her manning a small lighthouse and almost causing a disaster over the radio with ships in the channel, or attempting to farm sheep only to end up a muddy mess. Maddie was also going to be more bad tempered and harder to adjust to island life, Matt was going to be in his 20s instead of the youngest of the bunch, and Siobhan and Ebony were going to be both lesbians who hated each other's guts in a cruel twist of irony. Ebony was also meant to be more comedic and flirtatious around Maddie, while Siobhan was still very repressed, but more open. The decision to give it a more serious tone came when MacVeigh decided that comedies are far too easy to do, and that he wanted to make the perfect love story for the multiple parts of his personality, while also exploring humanity.
  • The Woobie: Siobhan. Her parents separated when she was young, with her claiming her dad didn't want any part of their life. Although she still has her mom raising her, she needs someone to fill the hole left by him in her life, which is why she warms up so easily to Maddie. Her character profile reveals her father started a sexual relationship with a much younger office assistant.
    • Taken to further extremes when we learn why she gets easily nervous and why Ebony refuses to get back together with her. Turns out the two nearly had an Accidental Kiss two years before Maddie came which led to Ebony realizing she's a lesbian and Siobhan realizing she's bisexual. She then has a hard time admitting it to Ebony, but doesn't want anyone else to know because she thinks they won't accept her, so Ebony tells her that she'll respect that, but since the entire island knows that they fought each other about it earlier (they don't know what it was over, but they knew of a fight because with a population of only 14 on the island, news travels fast) they have to pretend to hate each other. Her getting nervous is a result of her trying to control her sexuality. At least she and Ebony make up later when she comes out.
    • Andy too, when we learn how his father abandoned him.
    • And Maddie, once we learn how her asthma makes it hard for her to go hiking with her friends.
  • Word of God: In a Q&A journal on his DeviantArt page, MacVeigh said that the way the residents of Hue get petrol for their vehicles is that fuel is stored in tanker trucks positioned about the island and topped up when required by going to the mainland by ferry. This is based off of his experience visiting the isle of Rum, off which Hue is based, where the fuel tankers were former RAF vehicles from the airbase at RAF Leuchars.
    • He also said that for the character designs, Maddie, Siobhan, and Ebony all are drawn from his own constructs somewhat, while the design of Andy is based off of Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, Maddie's dad is based off of Star Wars expanded universe character Kyle Katarn, and Maddie's mom is based off of actress Marsha Fitzalan. Their general builds are due to MacVeigh wanting some variety to the dimensions of his characters, such as Siobhan being taller than most other girls around her (which MacVeigh's mom apparently had issues with for unknown reasons).
    • The reason the comic is set in 1985 is because MacVeigh believed from his parent's recollections of the time that it was a great time to be alive, and that people actually had goals and opportunities for the future as opposed to being ruled by social media.
  • Write Who You Know: All of the teen/young adult characters are based off of different aspects of MacVeigh's personality. In particular, Siobhan's story of coming out as bisexual is based partially on his own struggles doing the same.
    • Specifically, Maddie is essentially a more feminine version of himself with her traits of being polite, helping others, and being open minded and attentive. Siobhan is him when he was in school- nervous and afraid of homophobia. Andy is the most similar to him at the moment, with his fascination with cars, Ebony is based slightly off of him, but also off a really fun, easily excitable lesbian he used to be friends with back at University, and Rhia is based off the more sporty side of him that does fencing, jogging, and swimming in his spare time.
    • Maddie mentions going through a rough patch in her life when her grandmother died, which is also based on a real life experience in MacVeigh's life.
    • The decision to use Caligula as the film Maddie and her friends watch at their sleepover was based partially on a viewing of the film MacVeigh had with his University housemates. Of their allegedly mixed reactions to the film, he claims the most memorable was when his female flatmate curled up in a ball and grabbed her genitals in pain when seeing a part where a woman gets a railway spike nailed into her privates with a sledgehammer. In the comic, Siobhan's reaction to that part is pretty much the same as hers.