Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name

Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name

Tessa Stone


Updates AC

I was directed to Hanna (or HINBN if you prefer unpronounceable acronyms) by various “arty” sites. Alas, it got filed under “To Be Read” along with various other sites that I’ve collected via the same method and refused to read due to a crushing fear of enjoyment and success.

Now I know what a fool I was to wait this long. Let’s break it down.

Hanna follows the misadventures of, well, Hanna. More specifically, Hanna Cross, the amateur paranormal investigator. He picks up a zombie for a partner that acts as the narrator of the story; said zombie cannot remember his name, so he ends up getting called whatever Hanna thinks is cool at the time. We’ll call him {…}, as many do. The two of them proceed to fight against all sorts of magical creatures of the night, including (but not limited to) vampires and ghosts.

Exactly why {…} formed such a deep bond with Hannah right off the bat isn’t exactly clear, but that may resolve itself later.

Yes, the overall plot has been done before. But that’s not what makes Hanna special.

First and foremost comes the art style. Hanna is done up in an… enthusiastic? Hyperbolic? Camp? A very intense style. The sets, characters, and text tend to warp into the story, rising and falling with events. “Organic”, there’s my word. The pieces aren’t incredibly detailed, but it’s not because of a lack of effort or skill on Madame Stone’s part. It’s just how the style flows.

I adore it. It’s kind of the same train of thought that has tracks through KinokoFry, where the artist gives up realism to create a more organic feeling, one that draws the entire form of the world into the feel of the moment. Not every second is an emotional peak, however, so it’s nice to see Stone playing around with the formula when it comes to all the scenes. Again, “organic”.

Now, the characters. One of the worst things that you can do as a writer is make your characters utterly interchangeable. While this seems obvious, look at your webcomics. Now ask yourself: are the characters really that different? It’s likely that there are a few wild cards being supported by comic foils. And while the nuts might be different, aren’t the foils pretty much the same? You might have the male foil, girl foil, ethnic foil, slightly-kooky-foil, and so on, but they all boil down to a similar personality.

Hanna, however, has a cast varied enough to notice. Stone notes in her “About” page that she loves creating characters, and it shows. Everyone has a very different personality, from enthusiastically inquisitive (Hanna) to pensive and calm ({…}) to angry and whiny (Conrad). It’s hard to see which person acts as a foil; every character is odd enough to be disqualified for the job.

So, it’s a comic with interesting art and characters housed in a decent plot. It’s a good, trust me.

As a note, it might interest you in noticing how the comic changed over time. It was originally a simple exercise for Stone, and it has evolved ever since. Side characters have become prominent, small details have evolved into plot points. So, it might be fun to note the evolution if you’re into “that”.

One thought on “Hanna Is Not A Boy's Name

  1. Pingback: Hanna Is Not A Boy’s Name | Archive Crawl

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