Creator and Lead Artist – Annie Erskine
Script Writer – Clint Waters
Thumbnails – Joe Davis
Flats – Casandra Grullon
Letters – Micah Myers
LGBTQ comics are very few and very rare to come across. However it is worth noting that each and every LGBTQ comic have been a refreshing read, touching on important subjects that centres around the LGBTQ community whilst always keeping the reader wanting more – Variants: Stripes is no exception!
Variants: Stripes centres around Sam – our heroine and a top secret military whose kept out of the superhero game for 10 years. She is more prone to the quiet life. However, she is thrust out of retirement, no choice of her own when a mysterious adversary begins wreaking havoc, only to vanish without a trace.
The comic (which is updated every Friday) is created independently by Ionic Comics. Ionic Comics is a new, independently produced and published comic book company based out of beautiful central Kentucky. It was founded in 2011 by Annie Erskine, an artist who wanted to freely create characters and stories of her own design. Of course new members have joined the team over the years which include Joy Hurt-Erskine who is the assistant artist on Ionic Comics and Annie’s wife and best friend (Awwh!). Their newest member is Clint Waters who is the Lead Writer on Ionic Comics.
Ionic comics currently have two comics on the go. Pants Comics centres around our creators life and it’s really cute!! While their recent comic is of course Variants: Stripes which hopes to bring the underrepresented people such as women and those in the LGBTQIA+ community to the spotlight.
Nothing beats a strong female lead in a comic book and Stripes has surpassed many for me as a strong female character, no literally she is a BEAST!! For me, who is sometimes viewed as a female with a masculine physique it’s refreshing to find a character I can relate to. It’s also refreshing to find a character who can hold her own, she doesn’t need anyone to help her, she’s a lone wolf, or a lone tiger in this case and it is a well known fact that tigers are loners in the wild. A personality trait that suits her character to a tee!!
What makes this comic stand out to me from all the other LGBTQ media – this would include television shows, films any type of media – is how they approach the relationship between our main protagonist and her partner. For example with most media the plot will either include someone discovering their sexuality and coming to terms with it or how the attitude of others effects them or someone is is repressing who they are. With Variants we see a happy relationship between two amazing female characters and it’s great. It’s nice to have characters who are comfortable, who just love each other and it makes a change for us as the readers and viewers to have two female characters who just love eachother and that’s it.
The mixture of action and comedy moments work well in the comic. The comedic moments always occur between Stripes and her partner Noelle so not only are they funny but their cute. The action starts right at the beginning however everything is revealed nice and slowly. We have cutaway panels in between each action sequences and they always leave on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader wanting more!! The artwork is vibrant and bold with the colouring suiting the panels mood perfectly! For example at General Hilltop’s funeral the mood is set thanks to the colouring, dark greys and dark greens, setting the tone perfectly!!
Verdict: Read read read read. It has action, it has comedy and it has a she-tiger whose tanking!! What more could you ask for? Oh plot line that has you gripped and has you begging for more? Yep, they have that as well!! The fact that this is called Variants: Stripes means there will be more characters on the way and I honestly cannot wait to see what their going to be like!! I cannot wait!!