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Webcomic / The Back o' Beyond

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Worse things happen at sea.

The Back o' Beyond is a fantasy/romance comic by Jon Walker, known online as JammyTheBirb. It began in June 2016, and centres around Nathaniel Jones and Sebastian Worthington, two unfortunate young men who find themselves press-ganged and taken hostage by a pirate crew, respectively.

The pirates are looking for a powerful spring which can grant eternal life to the holder of a certain amulet. Nate and Sebastian must keep this requirement a secret for the time being, to ensure Seb's safety.

The comic updates on Thursdays, and can be read on ComicFury here, and on Tapas here. In 2020, the comic was accepted into the Spiderforest webcomics collective.

The comic now has a trailer on youtube.


The Back o' Beyond provides Examples of:

  • Ambiguously Human: Nate; he has a liking for eating raw, not exactly fresh fish au naturel (which he recalls his father did, too, along with some other odd things about him) and recovers very quickly from severe physical injuries. Then there's his capricious relationship with the ocean, varying from irrational fear to a moment of being outright hypnotized by getting into contact with sea water to it simply seeming to make him stronger.
  • Art Shift: The first interlude is drawn in a sketchy, more painterly style with a limited palette. The second interlude also uses a limited palette, and pencil textures.
  • Bookworm: Seb has been seen reading quite a bit.
  • Butt-Monkey: If something can go wrong for Nate it probably will, ranging from tripping over in the street, to being abducted by pirates.
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  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Nate points out to the Captain that Sebastian has valuable information about the spring they are hunting, thus convincing him to spare his life.
  • Closet Key: Nate for Sebastian. It's official.
  • Constructed World: Fashion and environment call early 18th century Europe to mind, but the author has decided to place the story in a world of its own to have more freedom in writing, especially with the fantasy aspects.
  • Dem Bones: One of the pirates, Baines, is a lich.
  • Disappeared Dad: Nate's father, Davy, drowned before the comic begins, contributing to Nate's fear of the ocean.
  • Dressed to Plunder: The pirates all have some elements of this. Sebastian, initially dressed very proper, has to adapt after becoming a part of the crew.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Nate. Bumbling and awkward he may be, but his almost childlike glee about simple things, the effort he puts into being friendly to his new pirate colleagues, and his fierce protectiveness of Sebastian make him very lovable. Sebastian tells him to "never change".
  • Extreme Omnivore: Not only does Nate have no qualms about eating weevil-ridden biscuits, he also enjoys eating raw, whole fish.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Sairith is one for England or Britain in general.
  • Funny Foreigner: Sawbones has a somewhat goofy demeanour, and once referred to Baines as 'dearly department'.
  • Hard Head: Nate is knocked out in this way at the end of chapter 1, and is up and running about shortly after. Later he turns out to really have a Healing Factor, thus justifying the trope.
  • Hereditary Curse: Nate is assumed to have this; because his grandfather and father both have died on the sea, each being on board of a ship that sank, no fisher wants to give Nate work aboard their ships.
  • Innocently Insensitive: As he's unused to liches and has a poor verbal filter, Nate has made a number of insulting jokes about Baines. Some of the other pirates are just as insensitive, but less innocent about it.
  • Lethal Chef: Murphy, sort of. It's clear that his cooking is pretty disgusting, but he's limited to what's availiable on the ship, and is used to putting quantity over quality.
  • Love at First Sight: Nate seems to have experienced this for Sebastian, as the first time they have a proper conversation is when they're at sea. However, it's not mutual and Nate soon realises they don't know each other at all.
  • The Medic: Sawbones, though he admits he's not a real doctor and completely self-taught. Keeping that in mind however, he's fairly competent.
  • My Beloved Smother: Nate's mam Annie shows some signs of this, though she also gets him a job so he can learn to stand on his own feet.
  • Odd Friendship: It's not revealed yet how Annie, a fishmonger, came to be friends with mermaid Stanza.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sawbones is only ever referred to by his job title.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: Stanza is very non-humanoid, and resembles a tropical fish. She has a tail like an eel's.
  • Outnumbered Sibling: Seb has two little sisters at home to whom he used to read stories.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Nate likes knitting, though, as he points out, it's also a useful craft.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Nate is more rash and emotional, whilst Sebastian is The Stoic.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Sebastian, who's likely the most educated and level-headed person on the ship.
  • Smug Snake: Blue Finlay, the resident bully.
  • The Stoic: Sebastian, though he has some Not So Stoic moments in chapter 3, after the death of his father and his crew.
    • Over time, he also thaws a bit around Nate, surprising him with a consoling hug after they both got beaten up by the other pirates.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: One of the pirates is actually Blue Finlay's childhood friend, Twigs. Also, as turns out, Sawbones, whose actual name is Cat.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Strangely, only Nate and his mam seem to speak this way. None of the pirates have this accent.
  • Token Good Teammate: Sawbones is by far the nicest pirate, and the only one to be genuinely friendly to Nate right from the start.
    • Meanwhile also Murphy, the cook, who after a grim first impression turns out to be really a nice guy and sincerely grateful for Nate's help.


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