MerStory is a story-driven kind-of webcomic by bluepencil, a.k.a. Charles Bhepin. Yes, that Charles Bhepin. The general style is more akin to a certain flair of comic books, with simple, illustrative pictures on top and short, almost lyrical sentences at the bottom, where the characters' actions, observations, and speech are described.
Jason, the protagonist, is unceremoniously and rather unexplainedly dumped onto a tropical island in the middle of the ocean. Considering there're two moons in the sky, it's pretty obvious this isn't Earth. Whatever entity did this decided to take pity on him — next to him he found a machete, a Swiss Army Knife, a first aid box, and a magnifying class. Since Jason is a city boy with only vestigial knowledge of how to deal with the harsh life ahead of him, these tools proved their worth in gold quickly enough.
Jason manages bare survival relatively quickly, but there's a difference between survival and living. Despite his knowledge of modern technology, he has to figure out how to get there. While he has Aqua, a mermaid, to bounce ideas off on, she's also a quick study with ideas and preconceptions of her own.
The first "book" contained Jason's arrival and struggle to survive, as well as discovery of a mermaid and budding friendship with selfsame. It finished in May 2017 and can be read in its entirety for free, or purchased via paypal (or patreon).
MerStory provides examples of:
- Aliens Speaking English: Averted.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Offical is a good boy.
- Artistic License Biology: The CRAB KING shouldn't be able to move, what with the Square-Cube Law and all. That Might be due to magic, though.
- Artistic License Medicine: Thoroughly subverted. Jason knows he knows barely anything about medicine and is quite freaked out when put into a position to apply what little he knows.Jason: Knowledge is not power. The lack of knowledge is weakness.
- Art Major Biology: Jason notes how Aqua overheats easily out of water, and asks how she breathes underwater. When she shows him gills behind the ears, he briefly wonders about her hair getting in the way, before giving up trying to figure out magic biology.
- Bamboo Technology: Half-jokingly considered, then disregarded as requiring too much infrastructure to be actually useful.
- Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: Mermaids are human top, fish bottom. Merboys are implied to be the inverse, but worse. It's a bit fuzzy.
- Bookends: Book One begins with Jason's arrival on that island, and ends with the flight deeper into the island, in fear of the mer-men.
- Deadpan Snarker: At least in his inner monologue.
- Deserted Island: Where Jason finds himself. Since he's aware of the absurdity of his situation, he initially stays clear the island's interior, fearing it inhabited with monsters, or worse.
- Dream Sequence: Two so far. The first comes after falling unconscious, and he falls asleep in the sequence itself, while something happens in the background. He's more lucent for the second sequence's events.
- Improvised Clothes: Two sleeves + bamboo strips = gloves for the land-bound mermaid to move around with.
- Inner Monologue
- Giant Enemy Crab: First sign (besides the whole mermaid thing) that the wildlife can be widely outside of the expectations of a city boy.
- Godiva Hair: Unsurprisingly, given Aqua's early state of dress.
- Language Barrier: Starts out with this fully in effect: Jason can't fully pronounce the mermaid language, and vice versa, which leads to the mermaid calling him Isso. He has even more trouble with her name and settles for a nickname. They make an effort to communicate, and Aqua has far less trouble picking up words than the other way around.
- Male Gaze: Played with, see Seashell Bra.
- Our Mermaids Are Different: The mermaids are more or less what one'd expect. Their male equivalent, however, appear to have their sides flipped, not to mention what's implied about their general character.
- Punny Name: Jason's common sense took a leave of absence when he named the pet seal Official. Once he realized what he'd done...Aqua: Why you punch own face?
- Pyro Maniac: Aqua and her family are fascinated by fire.Jason: [thinking] Aqua, you're a sea-dweller. Why are you such a pyromaniac?
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: In the sense of Jason knowing stuff, and Aqua being energetic and driven.
- Seashell Bra: Jason is glad when he convinces Aqua of wearing one. She, on the other hand, is amused.
- Super Drowning Skills: Jason is like any modern device: void warranty if wet.
- Team Pet: Official, a seal.
- Time Skip: Of a month between the end of chapter two and start of chapter three.
- Trapped in Another World: Two moons. Merfolk. 'nuff said.
- Yonkoma: At the end of book one.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Aqua and her family seem to have distinctive hair colors. But so does Jason.