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There is no escape from Pinewood, this is the one thing Amanda knows. At least she thought she knew, until Trixie, the new girl came to town. As the rules she once believed fall apart, Amanda soon faces the truth of her town. She isn’t the only one that wants out.
Amanda is left with a decision, to fight the town’s monster or join it and finally be free.
The Magpie will be released in monthly chapters that will be featured in our e-zine, The Running Bunny.
The Running Bunny is a monthly collection of art, short stories, and comics with a focus on LGBT+ content. These are stories about characters that exist beyond their gender and sexuality. Stories not about being LGBT+, but stories about LGBT+ characters whose struggles span all genres.
I could honestly write a whole other comic about Ira. Since I don’t think I’ll ever do that, (bonus comics aside) I thought I’d make a post that goes in depth about him. This is all stuff that won’t be included in Pretty Mouth’s main story, but it is spoiler filled for all who haven’t reached page 216. So without further ado, let me tell you about my favourite scumbag, Ira.
Ira is twenty-four at the time of Pretty Mouth, and works at the local health food store. He lives down on 19 Pine Street (which is very close to Silver’s school) and lived there his entire life. He’s the oldest of two children, with a sister two years younger.
Long before Ira was born, his family involved themselves with Hal. Ira’s mother preceded him as Hal’s witch, and her father before her. She wanted a child to follow in her footsteps, but became overwhelmed by the fear she would be usurped. Nightmares of being murdered by her child filled her nights.
In desperation she turned to Hal. She begged for him to end her suffering, and offered him tribute. The day after, her fears went away and sleep became easier. It was almost like she couldn’t feel anything at all. With the new found relief she gave birth to Ira the following year. His mother felt that he was perfect in every way and attributed it to Hal’s blessing.
And so, with her fears gone she groomed Ira to be Hal’s next witch. During his early life he was kept upstairs, far away from Hal. For while she loved and respected her god, she knew he didn’t grant mercy and wouldn’t spare Ira if he wandered off. In the safety of Ira’s room she told him stories of he and Hal’s greatness, how “they’d never have to fear death”, “they were better than humanity”, and “he would have anything he desired”.
Two years after him, his sister was born. Unlike Ira, his little sister gained no favour with their mother. Her conception was a mistake and she was born in the dark basement. In there she remained her entire life, kept in an old kennel with thin bars. The only light she saw was the blur of incandescent light when the basement door opened.
Her mother gifted her to Hal, not allowing her to die, only suffer. They starved and mistreated her, never teaching her to speak or walk. Ira ignored her for the most part. His mother told him never to mention her, or he’d end up in a cage too, and that no one would miss him, because Hal has the power to go unnoticed. When Ira got older he joined in on the torment of his sister. Sometimes he meant to be kind to her but feared what his mother would do.
One day, his mother took his sister upstairs in a fit of anger and strangled her on the living room table. Ira watched, until his father came to shield his eyes. The next day for dinner, Ira watched his mother cut meat from his sister’s arms and boil them into stew. He ate dinner without question, but threw up through the night. This is the biggest factor in his veganism.
With his sister finally gone, Ira hoped that things would become normal in his family. Instead, the fights between his parents got louder and violent. Ira found himself on the wrong side of his mother’s rage for the first time in his life. He tried his best to keep on top of his schoolwork but his teachers noticed his grades slipping.
In a moment of desperation he told his teacher about his abuse. The teacher promised that she’d get him safe. But when their house was inspected, nothing was found wrong. Under the sway of Hal, the social service workers told Ira that he “shouldn’t make up lies, they only help kids with real problems.” His mom said nothing on the matter, but the message was clear.
Ira distanced himself from his home life, joining in school clubs, all the while keeping quiet about the abuse. Ira felt distant from the other kids, never fully able to express and connect. He believed he was no longer human, as his mother told him many times before.
Things continued for the worse until he was old enough to overpower his mother. While she struggled to stay in control, occasionally with her husband’s help, the tables eventually turned in Ira’s favour. Ira scared her off, helped in part by the return of her nightmares. While Ira never intended to hurt his mother, she didn’t trust him.
Ira finished high school and didn’t pursue further education. He became lost on what he wanted in life, knowing he was destined to be a witch and nothing more. One day, he returned home to find his mother had hung herself and killed his father. The fear of being usurped had taken over her and she saw death as the only escape from Hal. All of this happened around his time dating Ramona.
And that’s where we finally get to his relationship with Evan. The one thing I want to clear up about Ira is that he did love Evan. While Ira’s original intentions with Evan were to please his god, Ira did end up feeling things towards Evan that he did not with Ramona. In moments of clarity he and Evan talked about their mommy issues. Ira never discussed the whole elder god thing, but he still opened up more than he did with anyone else. However all the while he was shaken by his parents gruesome fate. His entire faith in Hal was shaken.
Falling in love with Evan, Ira got closer to the truths he didn’t want to face. He knew there was no way to be free of Hal. He knew he’d end up like his mother. He either had to be strong, inhumane, and emotionless, or die and escape Hal forever. He spent most of time caught in his thoughts about fate. Ira finally snapped, coming up with the plan to banish Hal. There wasn’t much thought in his plan, he just wanted to live a life free of Hal, even if it meant clearing the slate entirely.
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This was originally posted February 17th, 2015
After getting a slew of “I’m confused” comments, I decided I should do a bit of a refresher for things people may have missed or forgotten. So let’s dig in!
First, let’s start with Ira (the freckled stud muffin on Page 199).
Ira is first referenced on Page 110. Ramona explains that he’s her ex-boyfriend, and while she doesn’t know what a witch is he might just fit the bill. She also reveals that he is the one that cursed both her and Evan.
We meet Ira for his first on screen appearance starting on Page 122. Ira is found in a trance like state, chanting Hal’s language. In his house. Rizo finds Ramona’s body discarded in the corner, and Hal’s still alive in the basement. Ira attempts to help Hal drag Rizo into the basement. Ira falters for one moment, returning to a more human state, when Rizo goes all scary mouth on him (Page 131). Rizo escapes but it isn’t long before we learn another key detail about Ira.
Evan and Ally talk in the following scene. After getting fed up with Evan’s vaugness Ally tells Evan he needs to stop dating bad boys. On Page 140 Ally reveals that Evan also dated Ira, and that he’s a dickwad. Evan completely over reacts to this, but Evan is so far in the closet he’s basically in Narnia(He lies to Ally about his date with Rizo[Page 31] and fakes having a girlfriend [Page 82]).
Our final information on Ira comes during a dream squence when Evan is in the hospital. On Page 187 Ira approaches Evan offering him a place to stay. The current flashback appears to be during the time they were living together.
Other interesting but not really important things about Ira can be found in the bonus comics (Here and Here). It’s implied that Ira’s sister was kept in the basement with Hal and tortured, as well his mother may have made sister soup and fed it to young Ira. Now why would someone torture their children like that….?
About Hal and the Witch…
Now, I think the most actually confusing thing in Pretty Mouth is Hal and The Faceless Witch. But it’s not impossible to piece together, so don’t fear! First I’ll citePage 177 and Page 178, where we learn two very important things. One, Hal is a trickster god. And two he exchanges torture for his power. With that in mind let’s go through Hal’s appearences in Pretty Mouth.
Hal first show’s up on Page 12 growling for food and embarasing Evan. Even after he’s fed he continues to growl. Since you’re taking the time to read this I’ll offer this, maybe Hal wasn’t growling because he was hungry.
The witch makes her first appearance soon after on Page 31. She follows Silver into the grocery store. At this point she isn’t noticed by anyone but Silver.
Silver and Evan go together to talk to Monster Dad about fixing their curses but Silver is lead away by the witch (Page 63). Silver is confused as to why she ever thought it was a good idea. Almost like someone’s tricking her….Hmmmm.
On Page 71 we get our first look at Hal’s mouth. He’s pretty delighted about Evan suffering and himself having a face. At the end of the same scene on Page 73monster dad reveals that he knows about the witch and mentions her banishment. Basically Monster Dad knows she’s up to shit.
The witch later approaches Silver to show her a vision starting on Page 95. The witch implies that she and other girls were falsely accused of being witches. She shows herself being dragged against her will and then being fed to Monster Dad. On Page 100 and 101 she implies that if Silver feeds her staff to Rizo she will in return Silver to normal.
On Page 107 Ramona reiterates things Monster Dad later confirms, that he’s a torturous tirckster.
I’ve already dicussed this scene in the Ira section, but Page 122 we see what Hal has done to Ira. This is the first time we see Hal speak used, but it’s not the last time. It seems to have Ira in a trance as well, on Page 130 it is used in an atempt to subdue Rizo.
Now, everyone’s least favourite part happens. Witch’s plan unfolds exactly like she wants it to. Silver is able to get Evan to feed Rizo the stone (after some pressure from Hal on Page 142). After weakening both Monster Dad and Rizo, the witch is able to touch people, be seen, and is free to do her worst. By Page 163 she has decapitated Silver, taking her eyes back (yes the eyes that allowed Silver to see everything are the witch’s this is never mentioned, it’s just a bonus fact for those that are interested). She attacks Evan, presumably taking Hal’s mouth and Ramona’s (based on Evan missing them on Page ??).
At last we reach the scene that explains it all, starting at Page 173. Rizo wakes up, to find that he and his dad have been weakened. Monster Dad explains that he did in fact curse the witch. He banished her, took her face and left her unable to be seen, touched, or effect the world. He goes onto explain a story similar to the witch’s original story with some key differences.
Monster Dad doesn’t leave out the reasons why the witch was sent to him for punishment. He shows the full extent of what she was doing. The witch tricks her entire vilage with Hal’s magic. She totures the villagers, stealing people and deforming their faces. When the people return from the witch’s torture, they are veiwed as monsters/witches and the villagers execute them. This goes on until the witch is caught and is thrown into Monster Dad for her punishment. We also get the second use of Hal speak, this time used to put people in a trance and lead them into the witch’s clutches.
Our final most recent Hal scene starts on Page 189 with Evan waking up in the hospital. His mom is by his bedside when he wakes up, she is relieved to see that he’s alive. She expresses that she feels sorry for kicking him out, wishing she’d have gotten him help. She bothers him for his girlfriend’s number. As Evan struggles with the whole his girl friend is totally fake thing, something happens with his mom. One Page 192 her approach makes a 180. She’s no longer concerned about him, she becomes angry then distant, cold, and callous. She’s overtaken by Hal’s laughter and for a moment regains herself. Elora regrets saying what she did, not even knowing why she said it. Something, Hal or the witch then kills her.
And that’s what’s happened in Pretty Mouth that you may have missed or forgotten.
Basically, remember, Hal’s goal is not to out right kill people. He tortures them mentally and physically as long as he can. He isn’t just some laughing monster with no plan either, while his witches do all his work for him he is not above laughing at the worst possible time and pushing Evan into the right direction.
Pretty Mouth Volume Two is near completion.
If you have any questions directed at Ursula, Bones, or any of the Pretty Mouth characters, please leave a comment below.
We will pick our favourites and answer them in the volume.
“PRETTY MOUTH: VOLUME ONE” is now available for purchase! Order your copy right now!
Evan is not a monster, he just has a few extra mouths. After what was supposed to be a one night stand with Rizo, a real monster, Evan finds things difficult to break off. Rizo just might be able to undo Evan’s curse.
With a monster in the woods, witches in the shadows, and a laughing mouth without a body, Evan needs to decide if it’s even worth putting aside prejudice.
“PRETTY MOUTH: VOLUME ONE” contains:
- 104 pages of Pretty Mouth!
- Q&A and other bonus content!
- Exclusive comic “The Witch’s House,” a story about what it means to be a monster.