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Webcomic / White Noise 2011

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White Noise is a 2011 Urban Fantasy webcomic written and drawn by Adrien Lee.

In the early twentieth century, the nation of Aetheri ended its interdimensional isolation and made contact with the Symphony Archipelago, revealing to the humans living there that there was an entire multiverse around them...and then things immediately went downhill. In the 1990s, Aetheri's leadership changed, and a family of three half-siblings in the Archipelago struggled together against the bigotry between humans and non-humans. By 2005, the family has been torn apart.

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Hawk, the middle child and a half-human with wings, is working his way through the Archipelago to reach Aetheri to rescue his sister Liliya, who he believes has been abducted. Liliya, the youngest of the three, believes her two older brothers are dead, and is having trouble unraveling who's a friend and who's an enemy as she adjusts to Aetherian life.

The comic updates on Sundays. You can begin reading here.

Not to be confused with the other webcomic White Noise, or with the Don Delillo novel or the 2004 film starring Michael Keaton.


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This comic provides examples of:

  • Bar Brawl: Hawk gets into one with Dimitri, the buffalo shapeshifter who gets physically violent and starts throwing slurs around when he finds out that his ex Felix has been having sex with a half-breed.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Teige and Parker see Liya in Aetheri in Chapter Eight. Teige starts to approach her, but stops himself. He thinks it would be cruel to tell her that her brother didn't die the day she was taken, and then destroy that hope right away by telling her that on his way to find her, Hawk was abducted and probably killed. Parker starts quietly crying, and says how awful it would be for her to never know how hard Hawk tried to find her.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Aetheri word for transgender is yllur.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Hoo boy. Hawk is bisexual, Teige is transgender, Parker is transgender and a lesbian, Minnie is a lesbian, Yoshi is transgender, Felix is gay, Aram is bisexual, Vlad is gender-nonconforming and intersex...
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  • Coming-Out Story: Yoshi comes out as transgender in Chapter Six. Chapter Eight focuses in part on her seeking medical transition.
  • Dramatic Irony: Hawk believes Liya to have been kidnapped and taken to Enodia, and Liya believes Hawk to be dead, when the truth is that Liya is in Aetheri as an apprentice healer and Hawk is very much alive. The irony only intensifies when Hawk reaches Enodia: When he learns that Liya has no records in Enodia (because she was never there), it confirms his long-brewing doubts that he imagined Liya's surival...while he's living with Vlad, one of Liya's best friends. Meanwhile, his friends Teige and Parker are living in Aetheri, where they run into Liya by chance, but choose not to mention Hawk to her because they believe him to be dead or worse, too.
  • Fantastic Racism: The humans in the Archipelago actively oppress the non-human "demons" and their mixed-species children. For all the more progressive it is with regards to gender and sexual orientation, Aetheri isn't much better towards humans or mixed species.
  • Fantastic Slurs: Don't call mixed-species half-breeds.
  • From Bad to Worse: Hawk is about to get creamed in a drunken brawl with a much larger and much stronger man when suddenly Hawk sees the barn owl perched atop a loudspeaker—which immediately starts blaring a siren, the bar vanishes, and attack dogs start barking...
  • Gender Is No Object: Aetheri doesn't seem to have the same hang-ups over gender that our Earth has—in fact, even the Archipelago seems more progressive than our world, given Liya had health textbooks in the 1990s-2000s that discussed being transgender in a positive, or at least neutral way.
  • No One Could Survive That!: When Hawk is captured by slavers, his friends all assume with good reason that he's likely to have been killed.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Aetheri's ruling council is full of them. Every proposal Numair makes to help refugees or crack down on the slave trade is shot down as quickly as it's introduced, with none of them offering alternatives.
  • Roadside Surgery: When Teige is shot in the riot, Hawk has to fly him out in a hurry, and the two wind up in the back of an RV as Hawk tries to stabilize him.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Spirits can live for several centuries. Vlad and Cynn Numair, for example are both around 320 years old and appear to be in their twenties.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Slavers run rampant through Earth, Ardh, and even Aetheri. And yet, the Aetherian Council is loath to do anything about it, despite the pleas of their constituents and the Cynn himself.
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