I came by K. Lynn Smith’s webcomic Plume by random chance. Sometimes, all I want is an interesting webcomic that hasn’t been going on for too long. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able delve into a backlog of posted comics all at once, but it can be more than a little daunting to try and tackle a multi-year, thousand-chapter epic that just keeps getting longer (I’m looking at you, Girl Genius and Shadoweyes). A few months ago, I was in that bind; the webcomics I liked had either wrapped up or were going nowhere. I tried to check some old favorites I hadn’t read in a while, but I couldn’t find the energy to remember the ten million ongoing storylines and recurring characters.
And then someone on my dash reblogged something about how they really wanted two of the characters on Plume to bang, I clicked the link, and boom, I had a new webcomic to follow.
Plume is set more or less in the Old West — or rather, it’s set in a fantasy universe that’s more or less similar to the American idea of the Old West. (The author/artist, K. Lynn Smith, describes it as circa 1900, although that seems a little late for the era.) To complete the picture, there are stuffy Northerners, daring adventurers, outlaws, brothels, stagecoaches, and a whole lot of corsets. There just also happen to be a variety of strange artifacts, most of which have as-yet-unknown powers.
Plume follows the teenaged Vesper Grey, who as the story begins is doing a not-so-great job trying to be a Northern lady at her aunt’s house while her father is traveling and gathering those artifacts. Happily for her, she quickly meets Corrick, a sardonic supernatural guardian. After Corrick arrives and her father returns, Vesper abandons her life in the North to head out West — which, of course, is where the trouble begins.
So far Plume is only a little over 100 pages, which is the perfect length to start getting into it. The artwork is gorgeous — the facial expressions alone make it worth reading, and it might seem silly to say that I’m in love with Smith’s background textures, but it’s true. The story is only just starting to move from set-up into the action promised by the flash-forward within the first few pages, but I’m excited to see it unfold. Plus, I really like Vesper’s exuberance and Corrick’s snarky eyebrows. I found this comic because someone was talking about how Vesper and Corrick should hook up, but right now I’m honestly more curious about why Corrick can’t actually touch people.
…And if, you know, they’ll fix that so Vesper and Corrick can hook up. Not that I wouldn’t be perfectly happy for them to have a platonic relationship (especially if that will help keep them from falling into the Meg Cabot trap of the “feisty” lead female character and the gruff, sometimes-condescending love interest who perpetually has to save her skin)! This early in the story, though, it’s hard to tell what Smith’s endgame is.
That’s one of the great things about starting almost from the ground floor — there are so many different possible directions to go.
For the life of me I can’t figure out whether Plume has a consistent posting schedule, but you can start from the beginning here. You can also find extra pictures and information on Tumblr and Facebook.