- The Wotch
Infobox comic strip
title= The Wotch
caption= Cover art from "Season Two" of "the Wotch"
author= Anne Onymous and Robin Ericson
status= Updating on Tuesdays and Fridays
Fantasy, Comedy, Action, Drama
PG-13cite web|title=PG-13 rating outlined in the Wotch FAQ|url=http://wiki.thewotch.com/FAQ:Beginner|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] for comedic fantasy violence and action and suggestive themes.
"The Wotch" is a cartoon-style
English-language webcomiccreated by "Anne Onymous" and "Robin Ericson" about the magical adventures of two like-named characters. Its plots are clearly influenced by American comic bookscite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/archives/?arc=4|date= December 13 2002|title="The Wotch" comics: The "Comic Relief" story arc pays homage to a number of comic book characters|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] , as well as mangaand anime, notably " Ranma ½"cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2003-06-11|date= June 11 2003|title="The Wotch" comics: Anne casts her first of many gratuitous gender-changing spells|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] and " Naruto"cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-04-25|date= April 25 2005|title="The Wotch" comics: "Naruto" reference|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-10-03|date= October 3 2005|title="The Wotch" comics: Another "Naruto" reference|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] , while the mixture of humour and drama is reminiscent of Joss Whedon's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (which is occasionally referenced explicitlycite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2003-03-07|date= March 7 2003|title="The Wotch" comics: "Buffy" reference|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2004-08-25|date= August 25 2004|title="The Wotch" comics: Another "Buffy" reference|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-11-14|date= November 14 2005|title="The Wotch" comics: Yet another "Buffy" reference|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] ) and Jeff Smith's "Bone". Unlike most webcomics, all off the "the Wotch's" costs are fully supported by donation incomecite web| date= December 13, 2004|title="The Wotch" comics: Anne and Robin ask the community to support them with donations|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2004-12-13|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] cite web| date= December 14, 2004|title="The Wotch" comics: Thanks to strong donations, Anne Onymous quits her job to work full-time on "the Wotch"|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2004-12-14|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] .
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 2002cite web| date= November 21, 2002|title="The Wotch" comics: The first comic|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2002-11-21|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] . 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 2003to April 23 2004, from November 10 2004to January 5 2005, and from December 29 2006to February 28 2007. During these, the comic often maintains regular updates by posting filler comicscite web|title="The Wotch" comics: List of filler comics|url=http://www.thewotch.com/archives/?arc=1|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] 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 and 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.
*Anne Onymous – Anne Onymous was a completely normal high school girl until she found a magical
fluteat Band Camp. As she held it in her hand, she was told that she was the latest in the Wotch line. Still learning, her lack of experience has been the cause of many crazy events in Tandy Gardens. At first, she tried to hide her secret from everyone except her older brother/younger sister, until Jason Grey, initially obsessed with redhead Anne, inadvertently saw her float a pencil to her hand while stalking her. Since then, she's let her secret be known to Jason, Robin Ericson, Angelique the Defective Djinn, Milo Happerbasket, Katie McBride, Samantha Wolf, Ally Taverner, Ally's boyfriend Joe, Mingmei Wu, Irene Lew and James Thompson. She seems to have a crush on the adult version of Link from the "Zelda series". She is usually portrayed wearing a pink t-shirt and a purple skirt.
*Robin Ericson – Robin is close friends with both Anne and Jason. He originally considered Anne to be just a friend; however, he has developed a crush on her (which she seems to neither notice nor return). Robin has no extraordinary abilities whatsoever, and all three times he tried to use magic, the attempts failed miserably. Shamed by the fact that he could neither help nor protect Anne, Robin has recently taken up martial arts. He often serves as the voice of reason when Anne is flustered by her latest magical mishap, or when Jason is simply being himself. Robin has a younger brother named Kirk, who calls himself by the name "Kirkashi". Robin usually wears a black t-shirt with a
Rutgersscarlet knightlogo on it. He has an Invader Zimposter over his bed. When he is a girl he often called "Robyn". Unlike Jason, Robin is not quite comfortable when he is transformed into a girl.
*Jason Grey – Jason's entire life revolves around three things: reading
comic books, making sarcastic remarks, and redheads. Jason is the third member of the trio, and maintains a high level of stoicism, commenting only once in a while, usually still while reading his comics. He remains perfectly calm in even the most dire of situations, such as being the only one to notice that one of their friends had just transformed into a bloodthirsty werecat. In fact, it seems as though the only times when he "isn't" completely taciturn and laconic is when A): a new comic/movie has just come out, or B): his redhead sense starts tingling. Jason is "obsessed" with redheads, completely ignoring the existence of girls of any other hair color. In fact, the only non-redhead he has ever been attracted to was, quite ironically, the love of his life, a Djinn named Angelique, who is currently in the Djinn dimension. Anne has a habit of transforming Jason into a redheaded girl. He was originally incredibly annoyed by this, but is no longer bothered by this (unless he is not transformed into a redhead). He has named his alternate form Sonja. (S)he recently went out on a date with a boy named Larry in order to get him to stop constantly calling him after seeing 'her', and being smitten. The date ended with Larry kissing 'her', leaving Jason in a state of shock. He seemed to be doing better afterward, but whenever he sees Larry, he screams and runs off in a panic. Jason's usual attire is a grey t-shirt with the letters "CMX" (short for comics) in a yellow blurb.
*The Cheer! Squad – Alexandra King, Samantha Smith, Cher Lita Harper, and Joanna Star are seemingly the only four cheerleaders in all of TG High. They were originally four Football Jocks/Bullies named Aaron King, Gene Smith, Sunny Leo Harper, and Colin Star, who were transformed into Cheerleaders by Anne's Personified Feminine Pride when they were picking on Wolfie. Joanna is the only one who remembers their past lives, though it is revealed early on in the "Consequences" story arc that Alex has had a dream about her life as Aaron. The four star in their own Comic: "Cheer!"
* Other important characters include Cassie Sinclair, Samantha Wolf, Katie McBride, Evan Onymous, Mingmei Wu/Professor Sorgaz, and Miranda West
Cameos and Crossovers
"The Wotch" takes place in the same universe as some other webcomics (known by most fans as "The Wotchiverse"), and has had several in-
canoncrossovers and cameos of characters of other webcomics. The most notable crossovers and cameos include:
* "The Accidental Centaurs:": The canon "Wotch" story arc "Accidental Wotch" is a full-length joint story with "Accidental Centaurs", written by Thomas Revor, with pages drawn alternately by Anne Onymous and "AC's" John Lotshaw. The same storyline was titled "Wotch This" in "AC".cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/archives/?arc=16|title=The Wotch Comics: "The Accidental Wotch" storyline|date=
March 20 2005|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] Revor, Lotshaw, and artist Ian "Tran4of3" Samson also collaborated to produce a pair of canon "Sunday Special" story arcs centering on "AC's" Lenny and "the Wotch's" Angelique the Djinn.cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/archives/?arc=27|title=The Wotch Comics: "Sunday Special" #1 featuring "the Wotch's" Angelique and "the Accidental Centaurs' " Lenny|date= March 12 2006|accessmonthday=June 20|accessyear=2008] cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/archives/?arc=27|title=The Wotch Comics: "Sunday Special" #2 featuring "the Wotch's" Angelique and "the Accidental Centaurs' " Lenny|date= March 12 2006|accessmonthday=June 20|accessyear=2008]
* "The Wotch: Cheer!": "Cheer!" is a spinoff webcomic by another author, centering on four minor characters who appeared in an early "Wotch" storyline. ("see section on "Cheer!" below")
Zebra Girl": Sandra and Crystal have had cameos in "The Wotch", and Anne appeared in a cameo in "Zebra Girl" on the Magi-Net, noted in "the Wotch" by Miranda Westcite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-12-02|title=Miranda West confirms the Magi-Net to be part of the "Wotch" canon|date= December 2 2005|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] .
* " [http://www.comixpedia.org/index.php?title=Triquetra_Cats Triquetra Cats] ": "Triquetra Cats" takes place in the future of "the Wotch" canon and has mentioned Wotch characters several times; and its SERVICE organization was created at the end of "the Wotch's" "D.O.L.L.Y." story arc.cite web|title=The Wotch: Agent Glock proposes the creation of SERVICE|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2006-10-16|date=
October 16 2006|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] cite web|title=The Wotch: Agents Glock and Tiel, now from the organization SERVICE|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2007-06-20|date= June 20 2007|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008]
* " [http://www.comixpedia.org/index.php?title=Abstract_Gender Abstract Gender] ": Two characters and from "AG" appeared in a cameo in "the Wotch"cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-06-03|date=
June 3 2005|title=The Wotch Comics: AG's Brian and Ryan make cameo appearances|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] , and the "AG" school has played TGHS in sports.
Many other webcomics have depicted characters or elements from the Wotch, such as "Exiern"cite web|url=http://www.exiern.com/index.php?strip_id=2|title="Exiern" comic depicting a unicorn instead of the Uricarn Demon] and "Misfile"cite web|url=http://www.misfile.com/?page=149|title="Misfile" comic depicting Anne Onymous] , and "the Wotch" has depicted characters from other webcomics as well, such as " [http://www.comixpedia.org/index.php?title=Krakow Krakow] "cite web|url=http://www.thewotch.com/?epDate=2005-06-03|date=
June 3 2005|title=The Wotch Comics: Krakow's Kia makes a cameo appearance|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008] .
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.cite web|url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:The_Wotch#The_Wotch_and_EGS|title=Anne Onymous and Dan Shive deny any relationship between their respective comics.|accessmonthday=June 17|accessyear=2008]
Reception and Criticism
Within the broader
transgender/transformation communities, "the Wotch" has been well-received: As of September 2008, an average of 8,000 people read it dailycite web|url=http://community.thewotch.com/index.php?showtopic=3804&st=20&gopid=163134&#entry163134|title=Unique IPs visiting "the Wotch", September 2-9, 2008.|accessmonthday=September 10|accessyear=2008] . The forum for discussing "the Wotch" grew from nothing in 2003 to nearly 2,400 members in the first half of 2008cite web|url=http://community.thewotch.com/index.php?act=Members|title="The Wotch" community memberlist, with about 2,400 members in it|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008] , and many webcomic artists now cite "the Wotch" among their inspirationsFact|date=June 2008. It has had numerous cameosand crossovers("see Cameos and Crossovers above"), and has a complete spin-offwebcomic ("") 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.Fact|date=June 2008
"The Wotch" has had its share of criticism as well. It has received vitriol from readers of
Something Awfulcite web|url=http://www.somethingawful.com/d/awful-links/awful-link-2674.php|title="Something Awful" reviews "the Wotch"|date= February 14 2005|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008] and Portal of Evilcite web|url=http://friends.portalofevil.com/sp.php?pi=1000663214|title="Portal of Evil" discusses "the Wotch"|date= January 20 2006|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008] , and been cited by webcomic critics John Solomon and Zachary Cross as "offensive in every conceivable category."cite web|url=http://badwebcomics.blogspot.com/2007/08/wotch.html|title=John Solomon describes "the Wotch" as "a PG-13 wank comic for transgender- and transformation-fetishists"|date= August 19 2007|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008] However, many of the attacks on "the Wotch" are based on its frequent inclusion of transgendered themes, and may be a form of transphobiacite web|url=http://badwebcomics.blogspot.com/2007/08/wotch.html] . Other complaints surrounding "the Wotch" center on the notion of 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,cite web|url=http://dramapatrol.blogspot.com/2007/08/interview-anne-onymous.html|title=Anne is interviewed for the blog "Me and You and Mary Sue", and denies "the Wotch" is afflicted with Mary Sue-ism.|date= August 7 2007|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008] and rejected by independent reviewers as well.cite web|url=http://psychedelictreehouse.synthasite.com/Essay5.php|title=Webcomic reviewer "Robert Howard" discusses the requirements for Mary Sue-ism, and concludes "the Wotch" does not qualify.|accessmonthday=June 19|accessyear=2008]
"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
"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 Heinemanhas signed on to help the devleopment of the game and speed up its production. Its gameplayis 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 LISPfor event scriptingand BSP trees for collision detectionand 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.cite web |url=http://community.thewotch.com/index.php?showtopic=6468 |title=Nintendo DS, A change of plans |accessdate=2006-10-18 |author=Phantom Inker |authorlink=Phantom Inker |coauthors= |date=
2006-09-05|year= |month= |format= |work= |publisher= |pages= |language= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=We will be developing it for the Nintendo DS, and "not" for the Nintendo GameBoy Advance.]
* [http://www.thewotch.com/ "The Wotch"]
* [http://cheer.thewotch.com/ "The Wotch: Cheer!"] , an official spin-off comic
* [http://wiki.thewotch.com Wotchipedia] , the official wiki for the Wotch
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