This week’s installment of Webcomics Wednesday checks off a lot of the webcomics hits: magic, talking cats, fashion, and a diverse gang of plucky kids.
Taylor Robin’s Never Satisfied, set in a kingdom watched over by a pair of looming, enigmatic statues, concerns neophyte magicians who compete in a series of weekly contests to become their city’s next magical representative. During the week, they train with their masters, and on Saturdays, they try to avoid being eliminated from the competition. Robin follows the ensemble of kid wizards as they navigate not only the contests but their fraught friendships, the burden of adult expectations, and the realities of the position they’re vying for.
Robin focuses largely on Lucy, a nonbinary teen who’s perpetually tardy, stunningly stylish, and perhaps the most determined of all the them. The tactics Lucy uses to win are a bit unconventional—maybe even unfair—but they show their softer side among the street kids at the market, who crowd around to benefit from their magnanimous generosity.
But for all their blustery self-confidence, Lucy lacks something the other aspiring magicians have—grown-ups who care about them. Their master is chilly and distant, and insists on calling them “Lucien.” With such a cold home life, is it any wonder they’re trying to hard to prove their magic prowess and cultivate a loyal gang of followers however they can?
Robin handles Lucy’s emotional landscape quite delicately, hinting at it with careful visual cues, deliberate pacing, and plot turns. But it’s not just the Lucy show: interspersed with Lucy’s story are narratives about the other magicians and humorous accounts of magical contests. And don’t forget the familiars: Each magician has a magical pet full of personality, particularly Lucy’s irrepressible cat, Ivy, whose fashion sense rivals her companion’s.
Robin’s cartoonish artwork is full of expressive detail, with thick outlines, bold colors, dense backgrounds, and graceful movement. Meanwhile, her characters have a pleasantly exaggerated appearance, which echoes their personalities. Sly Lucy slithers around in a lanky, lean body, while awkward, sweet Philomena (whose familiar is an armadillo with allergies named Tully) is all stout, rounded corners—perfect for hugging. Robin’s currently four chapters in, and with a gradually unspooling plot and deliberate pacing, there’s still plenty more to be revealed about the city and its magic. Never Satisfied updates on Mondays and Fridays.