Our Charmed Circle #2

Comic panel showing a headshot of Fenix in their late teens, scowling, with long dark hair and blunt cut bangs. Narration by Fenix: Our little circle has always been tight-knit. Maybe it was the unique brand of isolation that was late 2020, or maybe it was the gravitational pull of the queer yearning. Either way, best to start from the beginning, yeah? This is Angelica Liu, a gangly Filipina/Chinese teen with bad grades and no friends. Her mom thinks it's the bad attitude and lack if work ethic, but it was probably just the ADHD and other factors kicking in on the very inconvenient cusp of young adulthood. Comic panel of Fenix looking into a mirror, hair cut raggedly and shaving the side of their head. There is a cross on the wall and their mother is upset in the doorway. Narration by Fenix: Well, ok, that’s actually me. She Just doesn’t know it yet. She figures it out eventually though, around the time she stops going by “she” and develops an obsession with aliens. Comic panel of Fenix, now in their current look, sitting slouched and pensive across from their therapist, a woman in a hijab. Narration by Fenix: We were all going through stuff then, honestly. Comic panel split down the middle. One the left, a back view of Zoe hunched over, rubbing her eyes with her right arm, a phone in her left. A chair is propped up against the door. On the right side is a close shot of Amrita, looking concerned and talking into her own phone. Narration by Fenix: Amrita has always been the glue that holds us together, our rock. She was on the tail-end of her asexual epiphany and mid-battle with her family for every inch of independence, but still always finds the time to look after us. Sometimes we forget she’s not invincible. Comic panel showing a sideview of Zoe perched on her chair at their computer desk with terrible posture A dialogue box comic from the screen says: " You better be sitting right!" The dialogue bubble from Zoe, answering, says: "Yep." Narration by Fenix: It took a long time for Zoe to settle on her name though we all knew long before that. We worry about her. She’s wicked smart, but she’s also the only one us south of the border she says it's fine, she never leaves the house anyway. That just makes Amrita worry even more. Comic panel showing the back of Mary-Jo's head, she is looking at an unfinished painting on an easel of a black woman with a rose petal hair afro. MJ is holding a brush with paint. Narration by Fenix: My youngest friend is MJ. The time zone makes meet-ups tricky sometimes, but she never sleeps anyways. Or talks, really. Amrita calls her “Owlette”. We get it, though. She’s had a rough go, with her mom and her art and the injuries and all that. It’d be good to visit her in Truro someday. Comic panel split in 3. In the corner is a close up of Fenix's face, frustrated. The middle panel is the largest, showing two dinosaurs fighting, the top one lunging. The third panel is in the lower right corner, showing MJ, concentrating and gleeful. Narration by Fenix: We met playing a Mesozoic roleplaying game, as you do. We all happened to like dinosaurs and it grew naturally from there. I had made the mistake of attacking what I assumed to be easy prey. I demanded a rematch and the rest Is history. Comic panel showing Amrita peeking around a corner, looking down at her brother who is agitated and hiding the game he's playing. 4 dialogue bubbles, 2 from Amrita and 2 from her brother Deepinder. From Amrita: "What are you playing?" and "Let me see." From Deepinder: "Go away!" and "NO!" Narration by Fenix: Amrita ended up meeting us after her youngest brother, Deepinder, playing in our lobby. (Though she did also confiscate his phone after catching him swearing in chat.) Comic panel showing 4 sets of hands held in a circle. Narration by Fenix: However we meet, wherever we are, whoever we choose to be, the bonds we make are real.

Every great squad has an origin story.

Our Charmed Circle shares the story of four friends connected across the continent by a shared enthusiasm for gaming and bound by a sense of solidarity. Follow the story of Fenix, Amrita, Mary-Jo, and Zoe as they navigate the realities of online relationships and daily life. With this comic, CHASI and artist Sharon Strauss aim to explore the issues we face, the world we live in, and how we find the strength to forge an identity in an ever-changing political landscape. Watch for a new comic every second week, and in print in The Cascade.

CHASI’s Our Charmed Circle page includes character bios and links to every comic.