Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania has long been known as the home of Punxsutawney Phil – the groundhog who is said to predict the weather with his shadow. However, Punxsutawney is home to another well-known shadow… Shadowbinders, that is. It’s a popular young adult comic series by Kambrea and Thomas Pratt.
Shadowbinders quietly appeared online in 2010 and since become one of the most popular fantasy comics on the internet. The story centers on an ordinary teenaged girl named Mia White, and a magic ring she inherits from her recently deceased grandfather. The ring transports Mia to another world, where she meets airship captain Crimson Rhen — a roguish mage –and his motley crew.
In addition to the fantasy elements, the comic features an aesthetic known as “steampunk.” That is, it features themes and design elements one would expect to see in the Victorian era — the “age of steam.
Last year the couple turned to Kickstarter to self-publish an omnibus graphic novel collection of Shadowbinders through their own company, Clownfish Studios LLC.
The Pratts say they work very closely together on the comic, and at times pull their children into the creative process by running story ideas past them and even taking them to comic conventions.
The success of Shadowbinders has led the couple to create a spinoff project: a middle grade graphic novel called Crimson Rhen of the True North. The Pratts say that story is intended for younger readers and also serves as a prequel to the Shadowbinders series.
While a preview of Crimson Rhen has recently appeared online on the Shadowbinders website, the Pratts say that they haven’t settled on a publishing plan yet.
The graphic novel collection Shadowbinders: Book One is available through many retailers including Amazon, as well as comic shops nationwide. The book features the first six chapters of the webcomic, as well as previously unreleased bonus material.