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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
The first collection (Dean, Bunny & Fairer Than)

Charm School

Ongoing comics series, Slave Labor Graphics, 2000-.
A collection of the first three issues has also been published in 2001,
ISBN: 0-943151-60-0.
order from
or from Amazon.

Category: fantasy, lesbian.

Author(s): Elizabeth Watasin.
Issue #4
Dean & Bunny

Charm School is a wonderful tale of teenage love and lust set in Little Salem, a magical land where all kinds of traditional monsters live and enjoy each other's company.
In the first story arc, titled "Magical Witch Girl Bunny" and already collected in trade paperback, we meet the three main characters: Bunny, a teenage girl studying to be a witch, Dean, her butch vampire girlfriend, and Fairer Than, an enigmatic faerie who plays with mortal hearts as kids with flies. Fairer Than becomes interested in Bunny the first time she sees her... and she'll stop at nothing to get her, despite the obvious love between Bunny and Dean.

The settings of this story are as unusual as its premise. All those fantasy characters leave in a modern town, complete with high school, cars (Dean is an obsessive mechanic), phones (witches use mirrors to communicate... but vampires like phones) and other various technology not usually associated with fantasy stories. Another example of the realistic side of the story is the way the queer characters interact with the other ones: we see Bunny and Dean going to a queer youth group, and Bunny's coming-out to the old aunts she's living with (a funny take on the "three old witches" traditional characters) is handled in a subtle sequence. This dual atmosphere is also reflected in the characters themselves, who are far more complex than one might think at first.
Bunny finds herself strangely attracted to Fairer Than -but whether this is caused by the nature of her new suitor or by something else is left for the reader to decide; Dean, while deeply in love with Bunny, sometimes shows a very short temper which might endanger their relationship; and Fairer Than, the long-time seductress, soon discovers that Bunny's warmth might make even her cold heart melt.
The art in this series is another reason to enjoy it: Elizabeth Watasin is obviously equally at ease with "realistic" characters' faces and body language as with more cartoony secondary characters like little flying fairies or background monsters, and the funny scenes are as well paced as the romantic passages.

A second storyline, "Vampire Dragster Dean", is now underway. Dean and Fairer Than are clashing, while Dean is preparing for a car race with a taunting werewolf. Usual teenage monster stuff, I guess.
Maybe we should all enroll at the Charm School of Elizabeth Watasin, and find ourselves courted by legendary creatures, bent on having fun amidst the quiet everyday life of a definitely weird small town.

Fairer Than & Dean
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