Back when I first started posting about comics I did a review of Supernormal Step. It wasn’t exactly what I’d call a decent review if anything it was a paragraph that just said: “Hey, go read this it’s neat.” and that was it. I hadn’t figured out what to write about or even had a set up of what to discuss throughout the review. In honor of one of the earliest comics I started reading coming to an end I figured I’d revisit Fiona Dae and give a proper review of one of my old favorites.
Supernormal Step is a supernatural fantasy style webcomic about a young woman named Fiona Dae who is estranged from her family, travels around on her own in an RV, and does her best to simply get by even if it means picking a few pockets. One day she finds herself yanked through a portal into a strange world mirrored to our own where people are about as alien as you can get and magic is pretty much usable by anyone who takes the time to learn it and believe in it completely. We watch her struggle to learn to control magic, fight and survive many grueling encounters, go through several costume and design changes, save the day more than once, and all the while looking for a way to get home.
Calling Supernormal Step improvised is probably an understatement. Michael Lunsford, the creator, has said multiple times that when he wrote this first chapter he had no idea where this comic was supposed to end up. That sort of format isn’t bad but it definitely doesn’t give anything to the story either. There are times throughout the story where you can tell things where rushed or retconned a bit to fit a little better with the narrative, there are portions and characters you could probably remove completely and still be able to follow along. It’s definitely not the best, but it’s far from being the worst story out there.
The art, as mentioned before, changes a lot throughout its near decade life. Starting from this sort of cartoony whimsical looking and ending in a more realistic style. Sometimes, like in the beginning, all that’s changed is that Michael started shading the comic thus added a sort of depth that made everything jump to life a lot more than before, other times (after giving the comic a few read-throughs) I sort of raise my eyebrow at some of the design choices. By the end, I think the style is exactly what it needed to be though, I especially love Fiona’s style of magic. Lots of inspiration from classic rock and roll and music of all sorts, not just in her magic but through the comic as well.
When I heard that this comic was ending I was kind of sad. While I wasn’t reading it in 2009, hell I didn’t even know webcomics were a thing in 2009, I was reading Supernormal Step for a good chunk of my junior high and high school life. I actually started tearing up when I read the goodbye post to go along with the last few pages. Even with all its flaws and all its wacky storytelling, I personally wouldn’t change a single moment in this comic for anything. It wouldn’t be the comic it is today without it all. Everything is a learning process, and Michael has definitely learned a lot from doing this comic, which has me excited for his next big project called Speak of the Devil.
So while not a perfect comic, it still is one of my favorites. I’m glad I have a couple of physical copies to call my own. It’s flawed and messy, but it still has that passion in it that shows a lot of heart and good old fashion work went into making this every single day. The ending isn’t a perfect little happy ending, but I do like the allusions that are left behind, even if they aren’t intentional ones. It’s time to close one story off and get ready for the next now. So long Fiona Dae, you brick house. I’m gonna miss you.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.
If you wanna support Michael in his future projects be sure to check out his Patreon page. Eager to keep up with news on Speak of the Devil? Well, head on over to @speakdevil . Mostly just concept art for now, but it all looks so amazing! Also be sure to follow him on Twitter over @MikeLLunsford. for any other news on projects that he might be working on. If you like my reviews, please consider checking out my patreon as well. Thanks so much for reading.