The Tea Dragon Society. Oni Press
When I picked my copy up of Katie O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society from the comic store, I could have sworn it smelled good—just like a gentle overseas brew. As were the picnic on its own cover was instantly relaxing. That is is the magic of this book, it is a reprieve. In a fantasy genre rife with destruction and death, The Tea Dragon Society, much enjoy the tea dragons inside, looks supposed to calm.
The setting to The Tea Dragon Society is a world where some dragons are bred and domesticated down to small sizes. These dragons create tea leaves around ears and their horns which can be chosen to generate tea. Even the puppyish, chamomile tea dragons are the easiest to get new owners to look after, although the peppermint tea dragons that are lemuresque can be quite a handful. “Usually companion creatures in fantasy are wise, faithful, a window to the individual’s soul,” O’Neill told Observer through e-mail. “Tea Dragons are none of that, in fact they’re quite needy and hard.” The plants do, but have the capacity to share memories of the owners with others. “I believe the thought of bonding with a monster is so lovely, so I needed them to have the ability to share something unique,” O’Neill clarified.
With proper maintenance, tea dragons can endure for more than a million decades, typically outliving several owners. After the previous one has passed it is more difficult for some breeds than others to accommodate to a new owner. Since are more highly technical, scholarly institutions known as tea tree seeds are formed by tea dragon owners. The four members profiled in this one add a young blacksmith named Greta, the ruminant Minette (who struggles with memory loss) plus a homosexual pair: the swordsman Erik and the magician Hesekiel, who have taken a break from adventuring ever since a conflict abandoned Erik wheelchair bound. O’Neill clarifies the willowy, fox-like Hesekiel as a Sylke, a species known to hospitality and their spellwork, but some of the more humanoid characters like Greta have horns or antlers. “Animal characteristics are an enjoyable way to express elements of a character,” O’Neill said. The definition of humankind of the book looks because the connections. Most of these very human personalities do not read white. Queer, differently abled, and people of colour—with significantly less capable authors these would only look like identity boxes being ticked away, however, O’Neill introduces these components to the plot with ease. It does not feel like she is hoping to out-woke anybody.
The Tea Dragon Society. Oni Press
O’Neill a part of an emerging genre of comic book artists that believe that violence does not have to be in the center of science fiction and fantasy stories. The majority of these comics’ founders named Kate are female and, curiously enough. Kate Leth’s work on Marvel’s Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat! Saw an eye on the feline heroine’s friendships, also returned Patsy to her origins in love comics. Kate Sheridan’s comic follows a Dungeon and Dragons party on a relaxing day off. In the same way, Katie O’Neill’s The Tea Dragon Society is largely about people getting to know each other and harvesting tea from little critters. It’s not the attention, when there are moments of combat in all three of these stories. A lot of this new genre also rely on web platforms like Patreon to find the word out about their work. The Tea Dragon Society was first released for free online. “I enjoy knowing that viewers of all ages and financial situations can delight in the story,” clarified O’Neill. “And as the growing number of successful Kickstarters and publishers picking up webcomics demonstrates, having the story online at no cost is no barrier to earnings.”
When I have one gripe about The Tea Dragon Society, it is that it is too short, but this sounds mostly due to the nature of its format; While I was initially hesitant to suggest that The Tea Dragon Society looks like a children’s book, O’Neill is proud of the label. The book is a kind of hybrid between a novel and that format and is appropriate for all ages. She cites the Golden Books as a consequence, and the here is similar to a children’s title. As fellow comedian scribe Hope Larson writes on the back of the publication, The Tea Dragon Society is “just the ideal length to pair with a cup of tea.”
The Tea Dragon Society can be obtained from Oni Press.