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.