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Webcomic / Outsiders

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"Our future is in our hands now."

Outsiders (styled as "♀utsiders") was a webcomic by Ruairidh Mac Veigh spun off from his Maddie comics. This time, the focus was on same-sex lovers Siobhan Pattinson and Ebony Larsson, Maddie's friends from the previous comics, as they start to plan their future, battling fear and prejudice to reach their goals in life. It will follow their development from aspiring teenage girls to hard-working women. The comic has since been deleted.

Tropes present include:

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    A - L 
  • Aborted Arc: The entire series has become one after it was unexpectedly deleted.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Renee Pattinson gets one in Volume 3, which focus partly on her developing relationship with Harold Wisley.
    • Despite both having Demoted to Extra status, Maddie and Andy are briefly thrust into the spotlight again in Volume 10, part of which takes place at their wedding.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: Ebony is kept awake by the noise of her colleagues partying in the hotel room next to hers, but when she goes to complain she finds the party is in fact an orgy; with toppled furniture, scattered clothes and Jefferson Airplane playing on the TV. She promptly shuts the door and comments that it's like a real-life scene from the movie Caligula.
    • In addition, Michael and Jeff, a same-sex couple who Siobhan and Ebony meet in a gay bar, mention to them that when they first moved to New York in 1979, a bathhouse that they went to was full of horny Wall Street executives and even had an "Orgy Room."
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Played with. In Volume 13, when Siobhan and Ebony encounter a fellow same-sex couple Michael and Jeff in a new gay bar they visit, the latter recount their stories of the New York gay scene in the late 1970's. They first describe their naive visit to a gay bathhouse, where, being the youngest there, they are immediately the focus of many horny old men who see them as fresh meat. They then try a more conventional gay bar, but almost immediately Jeff is fondled by a fellow bar patron who wants to solicit him for sex. Michael responds by punching him in the face, leading to a bar fight. After this, they abandon the gay scene and instead keep to themselves.
  • All There in the Manual: While Siobhan's mother's first name (Renee) was already a case of this in the previous comics, her character profile for Outsiders also reveals her middle name (Julia). Renee's name is finally mentioned in Volume 3, however. Also, according to the character profiles, Harold Wisley's middle name is Michael.
  • Artistic License – Cars: In a flashback, the Pattinson family is revealed to have owned a 1974 Triumph Lynx when they first moved to the island. However, such a car would not have been possible for them to own back then since it never got past the concept stage, never actually becoming a production model. MacVeigh claims that while that was the case in real life, there's no reason why it didn't happen in the hypothetical world he's set the comic in.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Part of MacVeigh's reason for discontinuing the comic. With the more dire situations the characters get in later on, he felt that the cartoonish style he had started the series with didn't really gel well with the more realistic proportions he was starting to give his characters.
  • Ascended Extra: After being supporting characters (though still with crucial roles) in the previous two comics, Siobhan and Ebony are the main protagonists here.
    • Renee Pattinson, who only had two scenes (one of which was a flashback) in Maddie on the Island Hue and just appeared without dialogue for two panels in a flashback in Maddie In America is much more of a supporting character here, appearing in most of the volumes.
  • Author Appeal: When Siobhan and Ebony are taking a train, they pass through MacVeigh's hometown of Teignmouth.
  • "Awkward Silence" Entrance: When Ebony is introduced to the other pilots she will be working with, they all just stay quiet and give disappointed looks, possibly because of her being a female pilot.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Siobhan is filling out job applications, she mentions to her mother how she questions the relevance of some of the questions, and then a panel draws attention to one question in particular that asks Siobhan to specify her sexual orientation. For a brief second, we're led to believe that Siobhan's bisexuality is what will ultimately be the deciding factor for her potential employers- but she lies on the application, claiming she is heterosexual. What DOES ultimately make employers reject her, however, is her gender.
    • While on a lunch break, Siobhan talks on the phone with her mother and Ebony, and mentions that Jake has "an interesting new task" he wants her to help out with. Given the fact that Jake already is a bit too friendly with Siobhan for some fans' liking, some were worried that the task would be something involving trying to get closer to her, but after the next batch of pages was released, it turned out that it was actually just sending folders to the audit office. MacVeigh even lampshades this mindset in the description for those pages.
    • When Ebony asks for the $10 she bet for predicting that Siobhan would wind up singing along to Electric Light Orchestra despite claiming to hate them, Siobhan tells her "I'll repay you as soon as we get to the hotel tonight" with a smirk on her face. When we get to the hotel, we see an outside view of it, accompanied with a talk bubble of Ebony saying "Oh God! Oh yeah!" giving the implication that Siobhan is "repaying" Ebony by making love to her. In actuality, the next panel reveals she was just giving Ebony a massage like Maddie taught her to do (though it still doesn't stop her from wearing her lingerie).
  • Benevolent Boss: Siobhan's boss, John. He takes the time to listen to her after she gets hit on by Charles Donovan, and when she finally admits to him that she's bisexual, he is understanding and doesn't fire her. Also, when he learns of the fight she got in that left half of her face scarred, he immediately asks if there's anything he can do to help.
    • Ebony's boss, Tyler, turns out to be one as well when he sacks two teammates who, while Ebony was in a bathroom stall, hit her in the head with a toolbox because she's a lesbian.
  • Berserk Button: Siobhan does NOT approve of her relationship with Ebony being referred to as "filthy." She nearly gets in a fight with an officer when he refers to it as such.
  • Big Applesauce: In Volume 5, Siobhan is offered a job at the top of the World Trade Center in New York City. After she takes up residence in New York, the city becomes a focal location for the series in subsequent volumes.
  • Big Damn Reunion: After being separated at the end of Volume 5, Siobhan and Ebony finally get to see each other again when Ebony visits Siobhan in New York for the holiday break. Ebony reveals that she earned her CPL, and ever since, has been applying for jobs in the States, meaning her and Siobhan could be permanently reunited soon.
    • At the end of Volume 8, they are finally permanently reunited when Ebony is approved as a Second Officer at Newark International Airport, making this the bigger example of this trope even though the two had spent time together before this while Ebony was training.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Siobhan does this in Volume 4 when she reads a response to one of her job applications. Volume 5 reveals that she'd been asked for an interview at the World Trade Center in New York.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Once again, from Ebony with the following examples:
    • She exclaims "Storslået!" (Danish for "Magnificent!") when she first sees the plane her instructor trains commercial pilots in.
    • She says "Hej Siobhan, min smukke skotske blomst!" which translates to "Hi Siobhan, my beautiful Scottish flower!" when talking to Siobhan on the phone.
    • Right before going into an interview to become a regional pilot, she tells herself "Du kan gøre dette, vise dem, hvad du er lavet af," which translates to "You can do this, show them what you are made of."
    • Another instance comes in Volume 9, where Ebony, who is being kept up by the noise of a party in the hotel room next door, exclaims "Kristus! Hvad fanden laver de?" (Christ! What the hell are they doing?). She then comments "Dumme bastarder der gør hele denne støj klokken 1:30 om morgenen. Feste hele den skide tid som idioter!" (Stupid bastards that make all this noise at 1:30 in the morning. Party all the damn time like idiots!) When she walks in on an orgy, she exclaims "Hellige lort! Det er ligesom en virkelige liv scene fra Caligula!" (Holy shit! It's like a real life scene from Caligula!).
    • At one point, when Ebony is in the bathroom, two of her coworkers toss a heavy toolbox into her stall which hits her in the head causing her to bleed before calling her a dyke. Ebony then says "Åh gud, hvad skete der?"("Oh God, what happened?")
    • In Volume 12, when Ebony gets into bed with Siobhan, she tells her "Seng kærlighed tid!" ("Bed love time!") before proceeding to tickle her under the sheets.
    • In Volume 13, after a flight, Ebony is in a hotel in Indianapolis. She hears a knock on her door and looks through the peephole to see that it's Leni. She then asks "Huh, hvad laver hun her?" (Huh, what is she doing here?).
  • Bittersweet Ending: Volume 5. After struggling for months to get a job, Siobhan is finally offered one at the World Trade Center, but because Ebony cannot legally live in the United States with her, the two are forced to be separated. Fortunately, as of Volume 8, they are living together again.
    • At the end of Volume 9, while Ebony has now successfully got her job working as a pilot in the USA, and is once again living with Siobhan, her very busy work roster means she is often away from home at important times. The case in point is New Year 1989, where Ebony is out flying while Siobhan is left at home to celebrate the new year alone.
  • Blood from the Mouth: After Ebony gets a punctured lung from her fight with the homophobic bar patrons, she starts to cough up blood.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: OK, so it's not THAT gory, but Volume 10 is the first of MacVeigh's comics to show blood when Ebony gets physically assaulted by two coworkers who throw a toolbox over the bathroom stall she's using so it hits her on the head, giving her a nasty cut, all because the coworkers knew she was a lesbian.
    • Exaggerated with the bar fight in Chapter 11.
  • Boredom Montage: After Siobhan's first day of work and finishing her phone conversation with Ebony, there is one of her eating dinner, taking a bath, watching TV, and finally in bed, looking increasingly more upset with each activity as these aren't the same without Ebony living with her.
    • While at a Christmas Party held by her boss, John Wilson, Siobhan becomes increasingly bored after finding no common ground for conversation, so much so she ends up watching the bubbles in her Champagne glass to pass the time. Eventually, after seeing her boredom, John's daughter Theresa decides to take Siobhan up to her room to amuse themselves.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to Siobhan and Ebony after the couple are beaten by a pair of homophobic bar patrons in Florida. To try and save Ebony, who had been knocked to the floor and was now being stomped on, Siobhan has to break her usual passive and calm demeanour by stabbing one of the patrons with a knife. As for Ebony, what she suffered during the beating left her not only with physical injuries (5 broken ribs and a punctured lung) but also severe mental trauma, as her once outgoing, chirpy and optimistic personality is replaced by a cold, reclusive and emotionally unstable one.
  • Breather Episode: After the bombshell that was Volume 11, Volume 12 can be considered one. Sure, it has Ebony starting to experience PTSD from the incident, but it also has Harold Wisely giving her a motivational talk that seems to get her back on her feet, and a rather heartfelt moment where the two of them prepare a special dinner for their significant others. It also ends on a hopeful note for Siobhan and Ebony, seemingly alleviating people's concerns that they would never be able to feel true happiness again after the end of Volume 10.
  • Brick Joke: When Ebony takes her medical exam in Volume 3, she uncomfortably tells the nurse that she doesn't wear a bra when asked to take her shirt off so her heartbeat can be checked. By the time she takes one again as part of her tests to become a regional pilot in New York, she has learned, and even tells her nurse "This time, I came prepared," as we see that she does have a bra on this time.
  • Butch Lesbian: Ebony, though this is somewhat downplayed. While in the context of her relationship with Siobhan, Ebony is demonstrably the 'Butch' of the couple; illustrating more masculine traits such as not regularly wearing feminine clothes or acting in a feminine manner. However, as an individual she can still be considered fairly 'girly'. MacVeigh stated in an article that he wanted to avert the typical 'butch' stereotype with Ebony, instead going for a more 'soft butch' approach to her character; a noticeably masculine girl who still possesses feminine traits.
  • But Not Too Bi: Even though Siobhan is stated to be bisexual, she has only ever shown interest in other women.
  • Call-Back: When Ebony is getting her haircut from Maddie, Maddie mentions how it was lucky she moved to the island when she did because "the people on this island really needed a hairdresser." This is a call back to her giving Andy a haircut in Maddie on the Island Hue.
    • When Siobhan and Ebony are on the train to London so that Siobhan can take her first exam, Ebony laments how she can't sleep with Siobhan, to which her lover reassures her by reminding her that it's only for one night, and then Ebony adds that Siobhan is always complaining about how she rolls on her in her sleep, to which Siobhan says that because they're sleeping in bunk beds tonight, Ebony shouldn't do any rolling because she doesn't want her to land on her like she did with Andy at the sleepover in Maddie on the Island Hue.
    • During Siobhan and Ebony's trip to London, Siobhan's skirt catches a draft at one point, blowing it upward. When she and Ebony talk about it later, Siobhan comments that she doesn't know why she bothers wearing skirts that keep getting blown up, which also happened during a flashback in Maddie on the Island Hue.
    • Ebony refers to herself as Siobhan's cousin during a phone conversation with one of Siobhan's potential employers and when talking to the receptionist at the World Trade Center. This continues the pattern of that method being Siobhan and Ebony's default way to hide their relationship in front of others, as was first seen in Maddie In America.
    • When Ebony walks in on the people in the room next to her having an orgy, she comments that it's like a real-life scene from Caligula, which she and the rest of her friends watched together at a sleepover in Maddie on the Island Hue.
    • When Siobhan and Ebony are invited to Maddie and Andy's wedding, the two soon to be newlyweds discuss how by tomorrow, Maddie will either be "Madison Taylor" or "Madison Taylor-Grey." Ebony then comments that either way, it will ruin her "classic Madison Square Grey joke," which she brought up after the group had tried to visit Madison Square Garden in Maddie In America.
    • When Siobhan is giving Ebony a massage, Ebony comments "Maddie really taught you a mean massage!" referencing how Siobhan learned how to give a massage from Maddie in Maddie on the Island Hue.
    • Ebony refers to her and Harold Wisley preparing a special dinner for Siobhan and Renee as "MacBrae Appreciation." This term might seem confusing for those just reading this comic, but in Maddie on the Island Hue, Siobhan mentions that her mother's maiden name, as well as her own middle name, is MacBrae. Ebony likely used that term due to Siobhan earlier mentioning her hatred for her surname Pattinson due to it reminding her of her father who abandoned her family.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: MacVeigh's comics have always had some drama in them, but they were usually balanced out with a fair amount of lighthearted and comedic moments as well. However, Volume 11 cranks things up to eleven (appropriately) when Siobhan and Ebony are nearly beaten to death by a pair of homophobic bar patrons. This results in Siobhan being left with permanent, facial disfigurement due to being glassed, and Ebony, who is also left with serious injuries, suffering from PTSD; causing her to become mentally unstable and emotionally distant. It's arguably the darkest the comics have ever gotten, and according to MacVeigh's comments at the end of Volume 10, Siobhan and Ebony may never be able to feel true happiness again after this.
  • Characterization Marches On: For a while, a big part of Ebony's character was that she liked to follow the traditions of her ancestors. However, in this series, she realises that continuing to do that could limit her possibilities for the rest of her life. Eventually, she tells Siobhan that if the two of them had to move away from the island for career related reasons, the traditions of her ancestors, which probably would have kept her on the island in that situation, wouldn't stop her from going with Siobhan. This becomes Harsher in Hindsight later on, see that tab for the reason why.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Two that were set up in the previous comics trigger Siobhan and Ebony's motivations in this comic.
    • Firstly, one of the Concorde pilots in Maddie In America gave Ebony the business card of his flight instructor after finding out she wanted to be a pilot. In this series, Ebony finally starts taking lessons from that instructor.
    • Secondly, in Maddie on the Island Hue, Maddie uses a Home University paper to find out that Siobhan is bisexual. In this comic, that's what inspires Siobhan to start taking a Home University course for property management and finance.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Matthew O'Rourke from Maddie on the Island Hue is conspicuously absent from Maddie and Andy's wedding. While his absence in Maddie In America was explained (he and his girlfriend Rhia were attending school in Ireland at the time), it seems strange that a character who was Andy's best friend since he moved to the island wouldn't be invited to his wedding. Granted, he could have just been off-screen the whole time, but he isn't even included in the photo the newlyweds take, which they include Siobhan and Ebony in.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Siobhan lapses into a pattern of swears and insults after a policeman shames her for kissing Ebony.
  • Coming of Age Story: The story follows Siobhan and Ebony's progression from idealistic teenage girls to hard working women with careers.
  • Cool Plane: In the course of Ebony's training and work, she is able to fly a variety of aircraft, ranging from small propeller planes like the Cessna Caravan and the Beechcraft Baron 58 to large jets like the Hawker Siddeley Trident and the British Aerospace 146.
  • Cool Teacher: Harold Wisley, Ebony's flight instructor. Since his introduction in Volume 1, he has been a constant support and an apt mentor to Ebony, not only in terms of teaching her how to fly, but also on a personal level regarding issues of her sexuality. In Volume 3, he is demonstrated to have been a veteran of the Korean War and Suez Crisis in the 1950's, and soon develops a romantic connection with Siobhan's mother, Renee, after meeting her at a Christmas party in late 1986. He also uses his experiences in life to help Ebony overcome her PTSD after her and Siobhan were beaten half-to-death by a pair of homophobic bar patrons, with his previous knowledge of those suffering from the equivalent 'Shell Shock' helping to put things into perspective for her.
  • Costume-Test Montage: Siobhan goes through one, with commentary by Ebony, in Volume 4 when trying to pick out clothes to wear for a job interview.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover of Volume 11, "The Sunshine Hate," shows Siobhan and Ebony driving around Florida with worried expressions on their faces. That actually does happen in this volume- except that on the cover, Siobhan and Ebony don't have the bloody injuries they sustained in the bar fight they got in.
  • Dandere: We learn from a flashback that Ebony was one when she was a kid. She observed Siobhan from afar ever since her first vacation to the island, but couldn't muster up the courage to talk to her, to the point of nervously running away the first time Siobhan actually saw her. Once Siobhan learned who Ebony was from her Housewarming party, however, Ebony finally has the courage to speak to her, and admits that her shyness is mainly caused by not knowing English very well. In fact, Siobhan is the one who taught her how to speak and read English.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A recurring theme in MacVeigh's comics due to changing views on homophobia. This time, there are quite a few examples:
    • Siobhan is concerned about getting a job due to a newspaper article saying that 76% of homosexuals are dismissed from jobs within a year of making their sexuality known. Keep in mind this is early 1986 we're talking about here.
    • In one part, a police officer gets off scot-free for calling Siobhan's relationship with Ebony "filthy."
      • However, later on, when Ebony is hit in the head with a toolbox by two teammates in response to her being a lesbian, they are fired right away.
    • When applying for jobs, Siobhan gets rejected by eight potential employers because of her gender. Ebony mentions that they could've at least had the decency to mention that they don't take women on the form.
    • When the hospital that Siobhan and Ebony get treated at reports that they got assaulted to the police, the police hang up when they hear the victims are a gay couple.
  • Demoted to Extra: Maddie and Andy. So far, they only appear for a few pages each in Volumes 1-3, with Maddie appearing again in Volume 8, while Siobhan and Ebony are definitely more of the focus here. Lampshaded by MacVeigh in the description of the batch of pages in Volume 8 where Maddie reappears:
    MacVeigh: Oh hey, weren't you the star once upon a time?
    • However, Maddie and Andy at least get A Day in the Limelight, in Volume 10, when Siobhan and Ebony get invited to their wedding.
  • Devoted to You: If you had any doubts about how strong Siobhan and Ebony's relationship in the previous comics was (especially since the moment that proves it in Maddie In America has now been removed) it is in full force in this comic. The two are living together now, Ebony always tries to find a way to cheer up Siobhan when she's upset, and even after being informed that being a pilot may mean she won't have much of a family life, both she and Siobhan are willing to accept that, because they know that even if they were miles away, they'd still be supporting each other through their work. This statement ends up more true than they expected when Siobhan gets a job at the World Trade Center, but Ebony can't legally live with her. Ebony tells her that she will do whatever needs to be done to get back to her, but Siobhan shouldn't let their separation hold her back. Ebony does at least manage to visit Siobhan in New York over the holidays and mentions that she started applying for jobs in the States after earning her CPL. And by Volume 8, she has gotten a job as a Second Officer at Newark International Airport, allowing her to live with Siobhan again.
    • How hard does Siobhan care about Ebony? She will resort to extreme measures to prevent physical harm coming to her, including stabbing a homophobic bar patron in the arm with a knife to get him off Ebony.
  • Double Entendre: When Siobhan calls Ebony after a stressful day at work, she mentions that after dinner, she's gonna go to the gym for "some much needed stress relief." Ebony jokingly suggests that it means she's gonna masturbate at the gym and says "Whatever floats your boat, I guess!" Siobhan just gives an amused smirk when that remark is made.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: Volume 7 is full of snowy scenes around New York as Siobhan and Ebony enjoy the Christmas season; including decorating the tree, window shopping on the streets of Manhattan, and having snowball fights.
    Theresa: Look at all the snow! I'm gonna build myself a snowman first thing tomorrow!
  • Easter Egg: Apparently Maddie is a fan of MacVeigh's transportation artwork because one of his train drawings can be seen framed in her house. It even has the signature "Ruairidh M" on it!
  • Embarrassing Last Name: When Ebony asks Siobhan if she would choose Pattinson or Larsson as her last name if the two of them got married, Siobhan says she would choose Larsson because she grew to hate the name Pattinson due to it being her dad's name.
  • End of an Era: Ebony's last few moments living on the island before moving to New York are shown in Volume 8. The final panels of that moment linger on a sandcastle she built while trying to relive her childhood.
    • During one phone conversation between Siobhan and her mother, Renee mentions that a hurricane is reported to be coming their way, though "Mr. Fish on the News is denying it." The date that this conversation takes place? October 15th, 1987. In the description for those pages, MacVeigh gave his readers a heads up that something rather alarming is about to happen. That thing is the Great Storm of 1987. Fortunately, Siobhan tells her boss in the next batch of pages that she called her family, and they weren't affected by it.
    • During a client meeting Siobhan and her boss have with Select Group member Charles Donovan, Charles starts telling Siobhan that he can offer her the chance to go far in life if she spends the night at his townhouse. She politely rejects his offer, but not before a close-up panel shows tears in Siobhan's eyes. It is never outright stated that he planned to do anything explicit with her, but given her reaction and MacVeigh's comments in the description, it was most likely the case.
    • During Ebony's interview, a close-up of her application form reveals that she had acknowledged she was homosexual under the sexual orientation question. MacVeigh lampshades in the description whether her choice to reveal her sexuality will lead to ramifications in the future.
    MacVeigh: Do you think she's made a mistake stating her sexuality? We'll see how that pans out later.
    • In Volume 10, we learn that the HR Department of America National made the knowledge of her sexuality public by mentioning it in a pamphlet. This leads to Ebony being hit in the head with a toolbox by two coworkers while in a bathroom stall. Fortunately, they get fired as soon as Ebony's boss finds out it was them.
    • In Volume 11, Siobhan has to resort to stabbing a man in the arm with a knife to prevent him from further hurting Ebony in a bar fight. She could very well be arrested for assault for doing something like that. Despite the fact that it was in self defense, the men who started the fight could very possibly find a way to frame themselves as victims in that scenario, not helped by the fact that considering the time period, the court might not be too accepting of a same-sex couple getting in a bar fight- which, while Siobhan isn't charged for what she did, is the case with the police, who hang up on the hospital Siobhan and Ebony get treated at when they report the incident and mention that the victims are a gay couple. Not helping is the fact that MacVeigh earlier stated that Volume 10 is the LAST chapter of happiness for Siobhan and Ebony, meaning that no matter what happens, any hope of Siobhan and Ebony possibly trying to build themselves back up after this might be too much to ask.
  • Gilligan Cut: Of the more dramatic type. After Siobhan and Ebony mail their application letters, Siobhan tells Ebony that nothing's going to break their spirit. The next panel shows a thunderstorm, immediately followed by Ebony coming home to find Siobhan already feeling defeated because of the newspaper article she read about homosexuals being dismissed from jobs. Fortunately, both she and Ebony wind up getting accepted to what they apply for. And when Ebony DOES (accidentally) make her sexuality known to her instructor, he is understanding and doesn't kick her off his course. The same applies to Siobhan when she reveals her sexuality to her boss at her job in New York.
    • After finding there are no available parties to celebrate Siobhan's first New Year in America, Ebony mischievously considers watching the celebrations from Siobhan's empty office at the top of the World Trade Center. Despite Siobhan's protests, and Ebony encouraging her with nothing but a devious smile, the next scene cuts to them already at the top of the Twin Towers getting ready to watch the show
    Ebony: What stops people from getting into your office at the World Trade Center?
    Siobhan: A coded door, nothing else really.
    [Siobhan comes to a sudden realization before cutting to Ebony looking at her with a mischievous smile]
    Siobhan: No Ebbie.
    Ebony: [Continues to stare at her, cocking her head slightly]
    Siobhan: 'No' Ebbie!
    [Cuts to the World Trade Center on New Year's Eve]
    Siobhan: I can't believe you talked me into this, I just can't!
  • Guilty Pleasures: Siobhan at one point tells Ebony that she hates Electric Light Orchestra when Ebony plays their music in her car, but Ebony says that she's heard Siobhan hum along to them in the shower, and bets Siobhan $10 that she'll be singing along by the end of the song. As it turns out, Ebony was right.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: A continual trope throughout the series, most notably with Siobhan. While Ebony is more confident and isn't as reluctant to either reveal or discuss her sexuality (though she often addresses the relationship between her and Siobhan as cousins to avoid trouble), Siobhan constantly struggles with her bisexuality and how it could affect her future. She even goes so far as to falsely write on her application forms that she's heterosexual for fear it may compromise her chances at getting a job. Fortunately, when she reveals her sexuality to her boss, he is understanding and doesn't fire her.
  • Holding Hands: Harry and Renee doing this seems to be the moment where they realize that maybe they're more than just friends.
    • Volume 5 has another moment of this: In order for Siobhan to take a job at the World Trade Center, she and Ebony have to be separated.
    • In Volume 10, we find out that Ebony being a lesbian is now public knowledge to everyone working at America National due to them mentioning it in an article they published about her. This soon leads to her being hit on the head with a toolbox by two coworkers who toss it over the bathroom stall she was using at the time. Fortunately, they get fired as soon as Ebony's boss finds out it was them.
    • Even though there seemed to be no other way at the time to free Ebony from his clutches, no one probably expected Siobhan to stab the bar parton holding her down in the arm with a knife.
  • Idealized Sex: Played with. The scene in Volume 1 where Siobhan and Ebony have sex while Renée (Siobhan's mother) is sleeping next door would likely not happen in real life; especially when considering parent's usual reservations on their children making love.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Yes, it was a questionable, and possibly criminal act for Siobhan to stab a bar patron in the arm with a knife, but she only did it to prevent him from delivering a worse fate to Ebony.
  • Important Haircut: Ebony gets one from Maddie, which is trimming off the back and the sides so her hair doesn't get in the way when she's flying a plane.
  • Innocent Swearing: In a flashback, we learn that as a kid, Ebony was the one who taught Siobhan the S word. She said it after bumping her head when trying to retrieve Siobhan's ball from under her car, and didn't know what it meant, claiming her dad says it all the time when something goes wrong. After that, Siobhan's first time using it was apparently when burning her tongue on her mother's soup.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Technically, the intimacy itself isn't interrupted, but Siobhan and Ebony making love does wake up Siobhan's mom, who walks into her room the next morning while Siobhan is in her lingerie and Ebony is bottomless. But the best part is that not only is she completely OK with Siobhan and Ebony making love, but Siobhan's lingerie, which Siobhan thought her mother wouldn't approve of if she saw it, also gets a pass by her saying that when she was her age, she couldn't afford anything like it (which Siobhan is likely able to do so thanks to Maddie). She then asks Siobhan to stand up to see how good the lingerie looks on her. Both Siobhan and Ebony agree that it's the most awkward wake-up they ever had.
    • A better example is in Volume 9, when Ebony walks in on an orgy that the people in the room next to her are having.
    • In Volume 11, Siobhan and Ebony are staying at a hotel in Florida and decide to make love in their room. Unfortunately, Ebony forgot to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on their door, so a housekeeper walks in on them while they do it.
  • I Shall Return: When Ebony finally has to go back home after spending the holiday break with Siobhan in New York, she promises that "this isn't goodbye" and the next time she comes back, it will be for good. She was right in a way, the next time she comes back is for training to become a Second Officer at Newark International Airport to set up for her permanent return. Her next trip is when she's back for good.
  • It's All My Fault: In Volume 12, following the events of Siobhan and Ebony's encounter with the homophobic bar patrons in Florida, Ebony starts to look back on her impulsive behavior that got her found out by the bar patrons, as well as Harold Wisley, the policeman, and her and Siobhan's landlady, and comes to the conclusion that because of that, every bad thing that's ever happened to them is her fault.
  • Jaw Drop: Siobhan has a moment like this when she is surprised to find Ebony waiting for her at the World Trade Center after work so they can spend Christmas together.
    • When Ebony accidentally walks in on an orgy taking place in the hotel room next to hers in Volume 9, all she can do is stand in shocked silence with her jaw hanging open.
    • When a magazine article published by her airline's HR department outs her as a lesbian, Ebony is left stunned with her jaw open.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The covers of the comics on MacVeigh's website don't usually give stuff away, but the title and cover of Volume 6, "Atlantic Divide" sort of spoils from its title and somewhat somber mood with the mist around the scenery of New York that Siobhan and Ebony are separated when one of them has to go to New York. What's more, the covers are released on his website so that when a new volume comes out, the cover of the volume that will come after that also appears on MacVeigh's site, making it possible for some people to guess the outcome of Volume 5 before they read through it entirely. However, it seems that MacVeigh has now learned from this, as now the covers of his comics only appear on his website if they are available to purchase on Amazon, even if they have already been released in their entirety on Webtoons, as was the case with Volume 7 at the time of this post.
    • Exacerbated with the revised cover used for the series' profile on Smack Jeeves, which quickly demonstrates the direction of the series.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Siobhan demonstrates that she is far more feminine that Ebony, preferring to wear female clothes such as dresses and skirts while also acting in a more female manner. In the context of her and Ebony's relationship, she takes the role of the femme.
  • Love Epiphany: Harry and Renee's seems to come when he holds her hand.
  • Lover and Beloved: The impression given within the series is that Ebony, despite her isolated upbringing, is a touch more worldly than Siobhan. The implication is also given that she is not as sexually active as her partner, but is happy to make love with Siobhan in order to satisfy her needs. This is, however, no indication that she does not love Siobhan, nor that she does not enjoy lovemaking.

    M - W 
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Siobhan and Ebony. Based on their personalities and what they wear, it is clear that Ebony is the more masculine of the two, while Siobhan is the more feminine.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Siobhan has a moment like this when her and Ebony are on the London Underground. As a train arrives, her skirt is blown upward by the draft, revealing her underwear.
  • Meaningful Name: Harold Wisley's name is actually an allusion to aviation history, specifically a reference to the former British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) testing ground at Wisley Airfield in Surrey.
    • Possibly unintentional, but "Renee" can be considered the feminine version of the French word "rene," meaning "reborn." If you think about it, this really fits with Renee Pattinson, as she is trying to rebuild her life after her husband divorced her, and you could consider her relationship with Harold Wisley as a way of feeling reborn.
  • Mistaken for Romance: When Siobhan and Jake arrive together hand in hand at their boss's Christmas party, a few of their coworkers automatically assume they're dating, and despite their attempts to correct them, still insist that they make a cute couple.
  • Mood Whiplash: Siobhan's conversation with her mother after her interview at the World Trade Center goes from being told she got the job she interviewed for to being informed that Ebony cannot legally live with her in the United States.
    • In Volume 11, Siobhan and Ebony's time inside the bar in Florida goes from having a laugh about the maid walking in on them making love earlier in the day to being confronted by an angry patron disgusted by their remarks. Then again, it might not be as much of a whiplash to those who read MacVeigh's Snicket Warning Label at the end of Volume 10, as they had already been warned ahead of time that something like this was going to happen.
  • Morality Pet: After Siobhan nearly gets in a fight with a police officer who shames her for her sexuality, Ebony reminds her that she could've gotten arrested if she'd acted out her rage on him, and although she initially says she doesn't care, she soon relents to listening to Ebony because she's "the only one who truly knows how much it hurts."
  • Ms. Fanservice: While this is a lesbian drama, the story is focused more on Ebony and Siobhan's drive to succeed in their individual life's goals while maintaining a stable, monogamous relationship. Although the comic does include moments where the two make love, these are usually fleeting and implied rather than shown; either cutting off before sexual intercourse begins or illustrating its aftermath. Nudity is tastefully handled, and does not extend beyond glances at their bottoms, or the girls are positioned in a way in which neither their breasts or genitals are exposed.
  • Multinational Team: Basically the reason why Siobhan winds up interviewing with a business in New York City. Their business was merged with a British-based company, and the office manager requested that all resumes from prospective UK employees be forwarded to him so they could fill positions in New York. This is so they can have a good balance of British people and Americans in their team.
  • Naked Apron: During Volume 4, after her mother has left for an evening out with Harold Wisley, Siobhan prepares the place for a night of intimacy before Ebony comes home. One of the ways she does this is by stripping down to nothing but an apron and waiting for Ebony's return, who comments with surprise how cold she is after waiting so long for her.
    Siobhan: I hope you're hungry, I cooked your favourite!
    Ebony: Ooh, please tell me you're fully naked under that.
    Siobhan: A good chef doesn't miss the best bits!
    Ebony: Ooh, I know I'm gonna eat toni... [touches Siobhan's bottom] Christ! You're cold!.
    Siobhan: Hehe! I've been waiting in this apron for so long, I'm bloody freezing!
    Ebony: Well, let me warm you up then...
  • Naked People Are Funny: When Siobhan and Ebony were kids, there was a time when Siobhan didn't want to go home from swimming and Ebony encouraged her to get undressed and streak across the beach with her while shouting "Freedom!" Since they are just kids in that scene, we only see their backs.
  • No Bisexuals: While Siobhan is bisexual, she has, so far, demonstrated affection solely for other women. However, the appearance of Jake after she starts work in New York has left some commentators worried that her partial attraction to men may result in trouble later.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The normally kindhearted, often nervous Siobhan snapping at a police officer when he calls her relationship with Ebony "filthy," however justified it might have seemed, seems like something she never would have done early in the series, and is enough that Renee has to restrain her before she makes any sudden movements. It takes a motivational talk from Ebony to snap her out of her rage.
    • Even though the situation in which it happened was a last minute resort, Siobhan stabbing the bar patron holding down Ebony in the arm with a knife also counts.
  • Official Couple: Siobhan and Ebony.
  • Older Than They Look: One of Siobhan's co-workers, Jake Keefe, is 22 years old, but looks like a high school student.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: A few readers aren't going to let Siobhan live down actively suggesting to walk hand in hand with Jake to her boss's Christmas party, saying that it makes her seem like an unfaithful girlfriend to Ebony.
  • Only Sane Employee: Judging from what we've heard about the other employees of America National so far, Leni and Ebony seem to be the only ones in the company who don't see sex as something that you need to do in order to be successful.
  • Out of Focus: Some people complained about Ebony being out of focus after Volume 5 when most of the pages focused on Siobhan in New York. There is a good reason for this though. It helps to set up a reveal in Volume 7 when Ebony comes to New York to visit Siobhan over the holidays and reveals to her that she obtained her CPL and has been applying for jobs in the States ever since. This sets up for her finally permanently reuniting with Siobhan in Volume 8.
  • Parents Walk In at the Worst Time: Siobhan's mother comes into her room the morning after Siobhan and Ebony have had sex at one point while Siobhan in her lingerie and Ebony is bottomless.
  • Period Piece: The series begins in January 1986, with the 80's setting being emphasized through cars, phones and other dated technology, as well as Siobhan's workplace after Volume 5, where she gets a job at the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York.
    Commenter: These strange things with cords on them they're holding next to their faces... I think I remember them from my youth... communication devices of some sort...
  • Queer Romance: Siobhan and Ebony.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: A case in point with Siobhan in Volume 4, where she sets up the house for a romantic evening of intimacy with Ebony, while also stripping down to nothing but an apron for added effect.
    • A surprising case with Ebony in Volume 10, where after Maddie and Andy's wedding she is so desperate to make love with Siobhan that she climbs out of her hotel bedroom window and sneaks across to her girlfriend's so as to avoid the hotel staff; who forbade them from sharing the same room.
  • Re-Cut: Similar to what he did for Maddie In America, when this comic was transferred from MacVeigh's website to his account, he cut out a bit to make it more tasteful. Notably, the pages from showing Siobhan and Ebony having sex to Ebony putting Siobhan's panties back on have been removed, although their intimacy is still very evident in the edited version, as they still show Siobhan's mom being woken up by the sounds of them making love, and her walking in the next morning.
  • Scars are Forever: Ebony received a large scar across the top left of her head after two of her colleagues dropped a toolbox on her for being a lesbian.
  • Scenery Porn: The comic begins in January 1986, so one of the first things we see is the island coated in snow.
    • Also, many of the parts with Ebony flying a plane have great images of the sky.
    • Volume 7 is MacVeigh's favorite so far because it allowed him to do some fun snowy scenes. The title of the volume is "New York Snow" which should give you an idea of what to expect.
    • Many views of New York and the surrounding American countryside as the two girls go about their various jobs.
  • Secret Relationship: Siobhan and Ebony will sometimes refer to each other as cousins to avoid causing trouble.
  • Seme: Of a lesbian variety and totally interchangeable. While, based on their behavioural traits, Ebony is illustrated as the butch and Siobhan the femme, whoever is the dominant partner in the relationship is never truly established.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Becomes a discussed trope when Siobhan talks to her (American) boss's daughter Theresa, who is curious about British culture and learns that what Americans call elevators, sneakers, and gas are called lifts, trainers, and petrol in the UK.
  • Separated by the Wall: The "wall" in this case is the fact that Ebony cannot legally live in the United States, where Siobhan has to work. Though she does vow that she will find a way to get back to her no matter what it takes. In Volume 7, she visits Siobhan over the holiday break and reveals that after obtaining her CPL, she started applying for jobs in the States. Volume 8 features her finally permanently reuniting with Siobhan after getting a job as a Second Officer at Newark International Airport.
  • Sex Is Cool. According to Leni, this seems to be the mindset of most of the people working for America National, as they try to pressure her into having sex because she's never done it before. Subverted with Leni herself, who only wants to make love when she's happily married, and not before.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: When Siobhan's boss's daughter, Theresa, comments that her boyfriend, Jake, is really cute, Siobhan denies this.
    Theresa: I think your boyfriend is really cute!
    Siobhan: He's not my boyfriend, but yes, he's very cute.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: It is implied that John Wilson became one after his time in Vietnam.
    • Furthermore, Harold Wisley tells Ebony that he knew some people like this from when he was in Korea and Egypt.
  • Shoot the Dog: In order to stop an angry bar patron from doing any further physical harm to Ebony, Siobhan winds up having to stab him in the arm with a knife.
  • Shout-Out/Homage: The cover art for Volume 11 is a subtle homage to the cover of the Gin Blossoms 1992 album "New Miserable Experience", with Siobhan and Ebony (standing in for the band members) in colour in the windscreen while the rest of the car and scenery is sepia. This choice seems fitting, considering what happens to the two girls during the course of this volume.
  • Shown Their Work: Volume 6 is full of this, with quite a few real life events that happened in 1987 worked into the dialogue, including Iran attacking U.S. ships, the Great Storm of 1987 hitting the UK, and the stock market crashing. In fact, when Siobhan's family reads about the stocks rising 24 hours after the crash, MacVeigh had to give a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer in the description of that particular batch of pages to say that what happened wasn't plot convenience, and that the crash actually did largely recover after 24 hours.
  • Slice of Life: This webcomic is a slice-of-life lesbian coming-of-age story.
  • Sleeping Their Way to the Top: It is never outright stated, but highly implied, that Charles Donovan wanted to lure Siobhan to his townhouse by tempting her with this mindset. Thankfully, she rejects his offer.
    • Played with in Volume 9, where Ebony, after receiving an overly generous tip from one of her passengers, comments that she's surprised he didn't ask her to sleep with him.
    • Volume 10 reveals that some of the flight attendants in Ebony's airline, America National, use this to get extra gratuity from the passengers; as demonstrated when Ebony catches one of the stewardesses leaving the bathroom with a male passenger.
  • Snicket Warning Label: At the end of Volume 10, MacVeigh gives his readers a heads up that it will be the last chapter of happiness for Siobhan and Ebony, and that Volume 11 is where things take a bit of a sudden tonal shift, changing their lives forever.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: Harold Wisley inadvertently finds out that Ebony is a lesbian when he sees her kissing Siobhan when she's getting dropped off at the airport for her lesson. He later tells Ebony that he saw her do it, to which she initially panics and tries to come up with an explanation, but he then tells her it's OK because she's not the first homosexual person he's ever encountered.
  • Talking in Bed: Frequently occurs throughout the series as a means of exposition, with the two girls often discussing either their future or things that are presently happening. Some of the more notable instances of this trope are listed below:
    • The first instance is in Volume 4, where after making love on Siobhan's sofa in front of the fire, the two girls share a tender moment talking about their futures and wonder where their lives will lead.
    • The next instance is in Volume 7, where after Ebony's arrival in New York to visit Siobhan over Christmas the two girls make love for the first time in several months and the next morning they chat on the bed about what they plan to do over the holidays.
    • Another brief instance is on the morning of Ebony's interview for her job as a pilot in America, where an enthusiastic Siobhan attempts to wake her sleeping girlfriend up with a tender kiss and cuddle.
  • Teacher/Parent Romance: Harold Wisley, Ebony's flight instructor, ends up in a relationship with Siobhan's mother Renee. Unlike most examples, the teacher in question is not the daughter's, but her girlfriend's, and neither one has any objections to the relationship. Siobhan even takes to calling Harry "Daddy" at one point.
  • Time-Compression Montage: The first montage is in Volume 2, which compresses around six months between January and July 1986; with each page showing a few panels for every month. Each panel shows Siobhan taking her Home University courses while Ebony progresses on her flying and driving lessons, while also taking time to showcase Ebony and Siobhan's birthdays.
    • The next is in Volume 3, which compresses several months into a few pages between August and November 1986; and shows Ebony continuing to work towards her CPL.
    • There is a smaller montage in Volume 4, which shows Siobhan's struggles at applying for jobs, taking interviews, but ultimately not succeeding at making the position.
    • There is another in Volume 7, which shows Siobhan and Ebony enjoying each other's company in New York during the former's first Christmas there; including the couple shopping for presents, decorating the Christmas tree, and having a snowball fight in the street.
    • Another appears in Volume 8, showing a week of Ebony taking tests to become a regional pilot in New York compressed into eight pages. MacVeigh even lampshades the comic's tendency towards these in the description:
    MacVeigh: Outsiders, compressing weeks into days more times than are strictly necessary!
    • Volume 8 also has a second one, though this is only covered in one page. This montage demonstrates Ebony spending her final three months on the Isle of Hue and reminiscing about her life as she waits for her work visa in the United States to be processed.
  • The Vietnam Vet: John, Siobhan's boss, is eventually revealed to be one. He even earned a Distinguished Service Cross for his work in the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968 (one of only 1,000 to do so), but doesn't like to talk about it because it's the only thing that made him truly ashamed to be American.
  • Wham Line: When Siobhan is talking to her mother on the phone and gets informed that she got the job she wanted at the World Trade Center, she tells Ebony that they can move into the apartment they wanted to rent out. Siobhan's mother's response to that provokes Siobhan to deliver the following line:
    Siobhan: Hold on, wait. What do you mean by there may be a problem with that?note 
    • Another one occurs in Volume 8 when Maddie visits the island to celebrate Ebony's birthday while Siobhan is off working in New York. The two of them walk to Ebony's house, where they notice an Air Mail envelope on her desk. Ebony opens it and then delivers the following line to Maddie:
    Ebony: Maddie... guess who's going to the United bloody States!!
    • In Volume 10, Ebony catches a stewardess with a passenger in the bathroom of a plane. She confronts her about it, and what follows could be an entire Wham Conversation:
    Ebony: Providing the in-flight entertainment, I see?
    Stewardess: Just putting my assets to good use, we all need some extra cash.
    Ebony: There's a word for people who sell their bodies.
    Stewardess: Not like you're any better, Dyke.
    Ebony: What did you just call me?
    Stewardess: I called you a Dyke. What are you, deaf?
    Ebony: Yes, I heard what you called me, but how did you know I was a lesbian?
    Stewardess: Haven't you read your own article? (hands Ebony a pamphlet featuring a section welcoming her as the company's first female pilot. Indeed, the article does mention that she is a lesbian).
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: As is tradition to do on New Year's Eve, Siobhan and Ebony wait for this moment to officially toast to a new year. At first, Siobhan looks at her watch while she's counting down, but then looks at the city where nothing much happens for a while. She wonders what's going on, but the fireworks start a few seconds later, at which point Siobhan realizes that her watch was 20 seconds off. In the description of that batch of pages, MacVeigh quipped "This is why people don't buy analogue watches anymore."
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Flame: In Volume 13, Siobhan signs herself and Ebony up as members of a gay bar called The Moonshine Club (with a sign showing a moon shining rainbow colors).