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Webcomic / Shaderunners

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Ezra, Domigo, and Pamina.note 
Radioman: Is that the sweet scent of perfume liltin' through the air, or the harmonious tones burgeoning fellowship? Amongst thieves, who can say where tricks end and trust begins? Hold onto your hats, ladies and gents and those otherwise inclined, because the real test's gonna be Aces!

Shaderunners is a historical fantasy webcomic written by Lin Darrow and drawn by Alex Assan. Set in a fictional city reminiscent of a big American city in the 1920s, it centers around a poor gang called the Shaderunners, who have the goal of making sure everyone is able to glimpse color in a black and white world.

Find it here.


  • At the Opera Tonight: Act II, Chapter 2 features Domigo and Ezra attending the opera Song of the Siren to catch a glimpse of Faunet's Green. They get more than they bargain for, as soprano Aida Laghari's life is threatened and Domigo suddenly kisses Ezra.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Given that it takes place in a fantasy 1920s North America, this is understandable. In the world of Shaderunners, everything is black and white, but the "gilts"—the wealthy—have gotten ahold of color, and they don't plan on sharing.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Most of the cast is queer in some way or another.
  • Deal Withthe Devil: Satinder turns out to be caught up in one with Seraphina for Ivo's sake
  • Far East: Through context clues given by Ivo, the country of Orolin seems to borrow its identity from Asian cultures. It even serves as the country furthest east from the story's setting of Galos.
  • Fictional Zodiac: The card game of Masque operates as a universal zodiac for all folklores and religions.
  • Foreshadowing: Domigo's side-glances towards Ezra throughout Act I come to a head in Act II, Chapter 2. Despite knowing about his relationships with Easton and Lord Hareton, Domigo kisses Ezra at the opera and gets the cold shoulder for it.
  • Future Slang: Well, technically past slang. The characters use a lot of made-up slang meant to mimic the sound of 1920s North American slang.
    • "Shards/jagged shards/shards and garters" = general exclamation of surprise
    • "Palpitatin'" = worrying
    • "Had a flat tire in Dreamland" = been spacy/out of it
    • "Keep it above water" = be honest about it
  • Gayngster: Most of the cast seems to be gay or polysexual, and all the main cast are part of the Shaderunners gang.
  • The Infiltration:
    • When The Team uses Dom's job to sneak into a lab facility to steal a dose of color.
    • They also use Ivo and Domigo to infiltrate the Otrion, a house for unranked Paravinian nobles.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: The Shaderunners consider themselves this—their goal is purely to make sure that color doesn't wind up exclusively in the hands of the elite, with no chance for the poorer classes to experience it.
  • Kid Hero All Grown-Up: Between Act I and Act II, Domigo has time to take a few odd physical jobs. Needless to say, he gets buff.
  • Large Ham: While rehearsing for stage plays and operas, Ivo tends to chew the scenery as a joke.
  • Long Hair Is Feminine: Inverted—Satinder, one of the most masculine characters, wears her hair long, while her partner, the much more feminine Ivo, wears a short cut.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: When Ivo presents as female, she and Satinder are this.
  • Narrator: The character of Radioman, who closes almost each chapter with a summary, is a homage to early 20th century radio narrators.
  • Polyamory: Domigo ends up juggling a few sweethearts at some points. His paramour Giviny agrees to an open relationship.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Ivo and Ezra stop by a "wine bath" to try to pick up dirt on a particular gilt.
  • Queer Media: Big LGBTQ cast.
  • Queer Romance:
    • Easton and Ezra, if one can apply the word "romance" to their relationship.
    • Satinder and Ivo.
    • Domigo and his male crushes
    • Maviry and both her love interests
  • Rags to Riches: The opera singer Miss Aida Laghari was an orphaned street urchin before the Faunets took her in.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Shaderunners gang. They're a colorful bunch, to be sure.
  • The Roaring '20s: Based on this era.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The whole gang has this kind of attitude—their belief that everyone deserves to have access to color, not just the wealthy elite, leads them to lie, steal, and break into secure facilities in the name of fairness.
  • Show Within a Show: Pam's puppet show in act II, chapter 1 serves as this.
  • Splash of Color: Induced via the plot. The world of Shaderunners only sees muted white, grey, black, and brown. Color is considered an exotic luxury item.
  • Tarot Motifs: The fictional card game of Masque takes many inspirations from the real world tarot, while inserting Shaderunner's lore and historical figures. During a round, the gang gets handed out roles by Satinder based on their personality and nationality:
    • Domigo = Poet of Ashes, a Tourmish historical figure who composed an illegal poem detailing the book-burning crimes of the Royal House of Joya that was so inspiring, it led to a coup.
    • Easton = The Citrine Hunter, a pirate of uncertain origin famous for her illicit affair with Queen Sorizahana of the First-Land.
    • Ezra = The Great Crowned Hart, a stag motif based on the Paravinian god of rulers.
    • Pamina = Knight of Skies, a mythological First-Land cartographer who charted the night skies for the sun god Zoll to chase after the moon god Ara.
    • Ivo = The Yearning Songbird, an Oroline legend whose siren's call touches the hearts of the uncertain, leading them to either clarity or death.
    • Satinder = Maid of Western Waters, a figure in Autrian folklore.
    • Also name dropped were the The Rogue Lark, The Idle King, Moon in Flight, and The Music Divine.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 9. While attempting to steal the color Faunet's Green from the Verinder Laboratories, Domigo burns his eye and is scarred, turning his left eye green. He wears an eyepatch onwards as a result.
    • Chapter 10, where the gang learns that not only do the gilts already have color, but know how to process synthetic color and have a broad-reaching plan to market it to the public for massive gains.