15th Jun2017

Needle in a [Comic] Haystack #4: ‘As the Crow Flies’

by Tara Marie


Hi and welcome back to Needle in a [Comic] Haystack, where I tell you about the best and brightest comics shining out there in the dark. We’re closing out our first month here, so let’s shake it up a bit. So far we’ve been doing comic books and comic series you know nothing about. Now we’re going to do a webcomic you’ve probably never heard of.

The comic we’re discussing today is As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman, and since it’s a webcomic, you can open it up in your browser right now by clicking here.

The first thing you’ll notice about the comic is that it’s absolutely gorgeous. About half of the scenes are quiet, thoughtful pieces — pages devoted to the calm quiet of nature, a welcome break to webcomics that feel the need to have a new joke or punchline in every update. As the Crow Flies reads like an actual comic, albeit one that’s on the web.

It tells the tale of a girl (or, possibly, a boy, or someone who is non-binary; it’s unclear, and since the main character uses female pronouns, we’re sticking with that for now) named Charlie who is enrolling in a Christian camp for the Summer. Charlie is a mixed race PoC, and every single other girl at the Christian camp is white. The camp counselors seem smart but also racist in that empty-headed liberal way, where your default perception is of yourself as good, and all of your opinions as good. Charlie finds herself out of place, out of touch, and wondering why God sent her here.

Then she makes a friend — well, two friends. One of them is older, a helper to the counselor, a girl that Charlie seems to be crushing on. The other one is just a year younger than Charlie but seems much smaller and, like Charlie, seems fed up with the vapid and blase attitude of everyone at camp. The two become quick friends and this girl, Sydney, begins to openly share with her.

Oh and the two begin to plot to take the camp down from the inside. You know, like kids do.


If you ever felt out of place, if you ever felt left out of God’s light, if you ever were young and queer and afraid, this comic is for you. If you love beautiful comics, if you want to see the world through another’s eyes, if you want to read about religion, check it out. If you have no interest in any of that, but you read all of this way, go ahead and check it out anyway. You won’t be disappointed.

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman is available online, updated roughly once a week. There is a kickstarter for the series in its last day of funding that you can support here. Thanks for reading and see you again next time.


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