Our Charmed Circle #5

Comic panel: Fenix is seated at the kitchen counter, slouched and resting their head on one arm, listening with frustration to the buzz of the TV behind them as they scroll on their phone. Fenix’s mother is watching the TV in the next room. Several dialogue boxes hover around their head, news about the protests and world events. Dialogue Boxes: 1: Bombing along the- 2: Protests across the country- 3: President Biden- 4: Rallies against SOGI- 5: Israel-Hamas War-

Comic panel: Panel #1: Side view of Fenix’s face scratching their brow with their right hand, concentrating and troubled. Panel #2: View from behind, Fenix has risen from the kitchen island and is putting the stool in place as they sigh. FENIX: “Headed up, ‘night inay.” *inay = mom in tagalog Panel 3: Fenix side profile, a flash of alarm as offscreen their mother mentions the event they had planned for tomorrow. MOM: “Alright, have fun with your friends.”

Comic panel: Fenix, frantic and scrambling, grabbing materials haphazardly from the drawers as their mom scolds them offscreen. MOM: “Ay nako anak! Did you forget?” *Ay nako = expression of frustration/disbelief *anak = daughter

Comic panel: Panel #1: A close up of MJ from the side, smiling. Panel #2: A close shot of MJ’s eye looking down. Panel #3: back view of MJ in her room surrounded by sewing materials and textiles as she listens to music. There is an old sewing machine, a Danish cookie tine full of sewing materials, and two posters on the wall of The Last Unicorn and a xenomorph. There is a yellow cat-shaped bag haning from the closet. *(song is “Alright” by Mother Mother)

Comic panel: Panel #1: Zoe peeking around her slightly open front door, looking down at a slightly smooshed package. The house is worn and in need of repair. Panel #2: A mad dash to her room past her oblivious grandparents.

Comic panel: a close side shot of Amrita wearing purple welding goggles, sparks flying.

Comic panel: Panel#1: A corner panel of a hand wearing oven mitts grabbing the top of a chair. Panel #2: Fenix, wearing their cobbled together outfit of taped napkins, red tape, and oven mitts, slams into their chair at their desk. Dialogue is heard from the headset resting on a monitor. Dialogue: “Well, well, well...”

Comic panel: A full page the gang, Fenix seated with their hands up in surrender, bashful. MJ in the bottom left corner, make-up half done, eyes aglow as she looks at her phone. Sparkles. Zoe in the bottom right corner, struggling to put on a glove. In the top right corner is Amrita’s instagram, her full costume posted. A mess of dialogue from the whole gang. Dialogue: “Are those oven mitts?” (extra large) “You goober” “OOOoo” Fenix: “In my defence... I forgot.” “U all look AMAZING!!!” “:’]” “tbh me too lol”

Comic panel: A roughly patched together collage of all 4 friends in their costumes. Happy Halloween is written in the corner on a background of orange pumpkins. All four are dressed as She-Ra characters. MJ is dressed as Hordak. (homemade) Zoe is dressed as Entrapta. (ordered online) Fenix is dressed as Scorpia. (hastily made with what they had on hand) Amrita is dressed as She-Ra. (professional quality)

Authors notes:

  • Someone online told Amrita she should dress up as Mara instead, because it would “suit her complexion better.” She spent 50+ hours on the She-Ra costume out of spite.
  • Zoe forgot to order her wig for the character.
  • Fenix was reminded multiple times ahead of Halloween.
  • MJ is glad the gloves hide how many times she pricked her finger on the sewing needles.

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 this space for more, and see them in print in The Cascade.

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