|Author(s)||Anne Onymous and Robin Ericson|
|Current status / schedule||Updating on Tuesdays and Fridays|
|Launch date||2002-11-21 |
|Genre(s)||Fantasy, Comedy, Action, Drama|
|Rating(s)||PG-13 for comedic fantasy violence and action and suggestive themes.|
The Wotch is a cartoon-style English-language webcomic created by "Anne Onymous" and "Robin Ericson" about the magical adventures of two like-named characters. Its plots are clearly influenced by American comic books, as well as manga and anime, notably Ranma ½ and Naruto, while the mixture of humour and drama is reminiscent of Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is occasionally referenced explicitly) and Jeff Smith's Bone. Unlike most webcomics, all off the the Wotch's costs are fully supported by donation income.
The comic is divided into issues and seasons, with about 30 comics per issue and nine issues per season. The first daily page appeared on November 21, 2002. The comics have been posted on an update schedule that has varied during the Wotch's history, and it has stopped several times due to outside events. In particular, it had three long hiatuses, from November 1, 2003 to April 23, 2004, from November 10, 2004 to January 5, 2005, and from December 29, 2006 to February 28, 2007. During these, the comic often maintains regular updates by posting filler comics authored and illustrated by guests. As of June 2008, the comic only updates on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Two high school students, Robin Ericson and Jason Grey, are curious about Anne Onymous, the new girl at school. Jason is particularly smitten with her because of his fetish for redheads. What's more, Anne seems to have magic powers. Jason thinks she must be a witch, but when he confronts her she tells them she is actually a Wotch. It all began one day while walking in the woods near band camp, she found a box containing a magic flute and was told by a mysterious voice that the flute had given her the magicks of the Wotch - which she must use wisely.
In any event, her powers have a tendency to go wrong, causing endless chaos for her friends and classmates. Unknown to her, in another dimension the Dark Lord Melleck Xaos (pronounced kay-ahs) and his henchmen are plotting to exploit the powers of the Wotch in order to rule the world. Xaos's efforts usually cause Anne's spells to misfire with even more catastrophic results, resulting in strange transformations (Jason frequently finds himself transformed into a girl, "Sonja," which he doesn't mind so much as long as he/she has red hair), and the appearance of mythical creatures on the school campus.
Meanwhile, the editor of the school newspaper, Ivan Bezdomny (the name of a character from Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita), is determined to find something interesting to put in the paper, which means that Anne and her friends have to try to prevent him from finding any evidence of her powers while at the same time trying to put right the latest disaster.
Anne lives with her older brother. She frequently transforms him into a little girl at his request, because he finds having the simple mind of a small child to be relaxing.
The Wotch contains mild comedic fantasy violence and action, peril, and suggestive themes. It is the equivalent of a PG rated movie.
The comic is also heavily reliant on supernatural gender transformations, often changing male characters into female characters and vice versa. It is used for comedic effect.
Cassie Sinclair- Cassie is seemingly normal high school girl, if one ignores the fact that she is a goth. She has a healthy interest in magic, and is known as the "resident witch" among her friends.Although her powers were quite weak, they have increased drastically, and she is growing into a competent magic user with great potential.Cassie is a very determined girl; someone who sets goals and strives hard to achieve them. Unfortunately, Cassie is also a very jealous girl, and when she sees someone achieving those goals easier than her, she tends to get almost resentful. She sees Anne as a rival due to her innate magical ability, and due to her close friendship with Robin, on whom she has a crush.
Samantha "Wolfie" Wolf-Wolfie is small, but sporty, almost tomboyish, and very athletic.She is a werewolf, cursed to transform into a wolflike form every night of a full moon,and the two nights surrounding it.This form gives her increased strength. She also has a heightened sense of smell which is available to her even in her human form, which she can sometimes use to identify transformed people. Unlike most therianthropes, Wolfie has the ability to retain her human mind while she is in werewolf form. Many of her ancestors were also werewolves. These ancestors used a magical heirloom amulet, to keep their human consciousness even during the three nights a month that they transformed. Somehow, both the lycanthropy curse and the power of the amulet combined in the Wolf bloodline, meaning that Samantha does not need the amulet when she transforms. Because of this, she has given it to her best friend, Katie McBride, so that she can keep her mind as a werecat. Both Wolfie and Katie have discovered Anne's secret and are respectfully keeping it.
Katie McBride-Katie is a young Irish lass with fiery hair and a fiery attitude to match, Katie is rather proud of her Irish heritage, and dresses accordingly. who is Wolfie's best friend in the world.Katie is a werecat, cursed to transform into a catlike form every night of a full moon, and the two nights surrounding it. In this form, she has increased strength, speed, reflexes, jumping ability, and larger breasts. She also has a heightened sense of smell which is available to her even in her human form, which she can sometimes use to identify transformed people. She needs to wear a magical amulet given to her by Wolfie to retain her human mind while in werecat form; if she transforms without it, she becomes a mindless, feral animal.She also seems to have a bit of a problem with Jason, mainly because of his redhead obsession. However, it could be more than that, as they have revealed that the two have some sort of history from last time they were alone together. They have sworn not to speak of it and nobody (including the readers) knows what it is.
Evan Onymous-Evan Onymous is a 21-year-old computer technician and Anne's older brother. He is more commonly known as "E" by his friends and family, as emphasized by the large letter "E" on his shirt. He was the first person Anne revealed her magic to, and has kept her secret well. Evan runs his own computer repair service, and is Anne's temporary guardian while their parents tour the world. E is a responsible, smart, and calm guy...when he's not a little girl (literally). E's favorite thing about Anne's Wotchism is the amulet she found that returns a person to a younger age. E often asks Anne to make him younger so that he can relax after a hard day of work. The spell has an odd side effect of transforming him into a girl in the process, an effect which, as E said, he can live with. He has two magical alter-ego's. Lilly ("Li'l E") is Evan's 4-year old alter ego. Spunky and energetic, Lilly is E's favorite way to relax after work, leaving adulthood behind and just embracing youth! Lilly is always a handful, but loves her big sister very much.Although they share the same body and are fully aware of the other person within them, they are distinctly different people.And Missy ("Miss E") is the grown-up version of Lilly. She's the same age and is as mature as E.
Professor Sorgaz/Mingmei Wu-Mingmei Wu ("Ming" to her friends) is a Japanese foreign exchange student at Tandy Gardens High, as far as most students know. In reality, she was once Professor Sorgaz, the school's economics teacher.Anne created a clone of herself manifested from her anger to take one of Prof. Sorgaz's tests in her place. However, Anger lost her temper while doing so and, realizing she could now act freely without Anne's other personality traits keeping her in check, transformed Sorgaz into a stereotypical Japanese schoolgirl. Horrified by the change, Sorgaz then ran into another one of Anne's manifested personality traits, Joy, and begged for her help. Misunderstanding the problem, Joy then cast a spell meant to make a person's mind appropriate for their body, causing Sorgaz to believe that he really is a Japanese schoolgirl named Mingmei Wu. When Mingmei's original memories of her life as Sorgaz finally resurfaced, it lead her into a massive identity crisis. When she told Anne, Robin, Jason, Katie, and Wolfie what had happened, Anne was more than willing to change her back into Sorgaz; however, after hearing her friends telling her how much they'd miss her, she gave the matter further consideration and realized that Mingmei has a happier life than Sorgaz ever did. She decided instead to remain as Mingmei and combine her two personalities into an amalgamation with the best qualities of both. Ming got to live on, and Prof. Sorgaz got to recapture the youth that he squandered. Afterwards, Mingmei fabricated an alibi for Sorgaz's mysterious disappearance and started wearing more American clothing.
Miranda West-Miranda West was the previous Wotch. Currently, she is Anne Onymous's mentor. Her residence is in a forest near Tandy, where she lives with her phoenix, Arizona. Little is known about her past, except the rare mention of her friends when she was younger. Miranda West retains a serious, no-nonsense attitude. She disapproves of Jason and Robin consistently being with Anne and knowing that Anne is the Wotch. Miranda has warned Anne that this behavior is dangerous for Jason and Robin, but she has never taken that advice, much to Miranda's disappointment. It is possible that Miranda discourages this idea because her own friends have died because of her position as the Wotch.
The Wotch takes place in the same universe as some other webcomics (known by most fans as "The Wotchiverse"), and has had several in-canon crossovers and cameos of characters of other webcomics. The most notable crossovers and cameos include:
Fans of El Goonish Shive and the Wotch have often suggested that the two comics are related, but despite those comparisons, as well as a few references to and appearances of their respective characters in fillers, their authors have stated unequivocally that the two comics are unrelated.
Within the broader transgender/transformation communities, the Wotch has been well-received: As of September 2008, an average of 8,000 people read it daily. The forum for discussing the Wotch grew from nothing in 2003 to nearly 2,400 members in the first half of 2008, and many webcomic artists now cite the Wotch among their inspirations. It has had numerous cameos and crossovers (see Cameos and Crossovers above), and has a complete spin-off webcomic (The Wotch: Cheer!) drawn and written by another author, Tselsebar. Its art forum helped burgeoning webcomic authors to practice their drawing and writing in a nurturing environment, which in turn spawned 910CMX, a community forum dedicated to the nearly two-dozen webcomics that started the art forum.
The Wotch has had its share of criticism as well. It has received vitriol from readers of Something Awful and Portal of Evil. Other complaints surrounding the Wotch center on its perceived reinforcement of gender stereotypes and that much of the material could be interpreted as sexually fetishistic despite the creators' claim that the comic is not supposed to be sexual[29 ]. The Wotch has also been criticized for what some see as Mary Sue-ism; that Anne Onymous is a self-insert character in her own webcomic. These Mary Sue-ism assertions have been rejected by Anne, and rejected by an independent reviewer as well.
The Wotch: Cheer!, or just Cheer!, is an
official spin-off comic started in August 2005 by one named
Tselsebar, and updated in four-panel greyscale thrice a week. It
follows the slightly absurd life and times of four cheerleaders of
Tandy Gardens High, who ubenknownst to themselves started out as
football jocks/bullies until they ran afoul of the Wotch's
personified feminist side. The group has decided that it's their
mission to get everyone to actually come to the school's sporting
events and raise school spirit. The comic is mostly within Wotch canon, but what
is and isn't is ultimately decided by Anne Onymous.
The Wotch: My Sister, Myself is an upcoming canonical Nintendo DS (formerly for the Game Boy Advance) game being developed by multiple members of the comic's forums, in particular those known as Phantom Inker, Thom Khatt, and Lilly Onymous. Recently Rebecca Heineman has signed on to help the development of the game and speed up its production. Its gameplay is planned to be similar to Secret of Mana and the 2D Legend of Zelda games. All that's known for sure about the plot is that Anne Onymous' sister is kidnapped and her friends vanish as well, so off she goes to rescue them all. The game's engine uses LISP for event scripting and BSP trees for collision detection and pathfinding.
The developers changed platforms citing several factors: GBA development is ramping down as the DS is replacing it, the DS has more RAM and better audio quality, greater storage capacity on the DS game cards and more effects.
The Wotch is a fantasy webcomic by Anne Onymous and Robin Ericson (pseudonyms). It takes place in the fictional town of Tandy.