Novae by Kaiju
Release Date: October 7, 2016
Pages (Currently Ongoing): 336
Cover/Comic illustration: Jen and Kate (Kaiju)
Summary: It is 17th century France, the age of discovery and scientific revolution. Sulvain, a mysterious traveler, is absorbed in the Parisian academic scene. Through his friendship with the renowned Christiaan Huygens, Sulvain has the chance to study the latest discoveries of the distant cosmos. Deep in the library of Academy of Sciences, however, our traveler will meet Huygen’s apprentice–Raziol Quamar–who will truly spark new lights in Sulvain’s universe.
My Rating: ★★★★★
My Thoughts: Novae is an outstanding webcomic set during 1600’s France, following the gentle romance between a necromancer and astronomy apprentice! KaiJu has crafted an atmospheric, charming tale, steeped in mystery, magic, alongside a tender, heartwarming romance! This utterly captivating webcomic is a must read!
I’m incredibly grateful to have discovered this gem via KaiJu’s weekly page updates on twitter and was intrigued to see what this comic was all about. Now 3 years later, I’ve finally caught up with Novae in less than one day and am here to convey as articulately as I can how this FANTASTIC webcomic has taken over my life, from its story, to how its delicate and superb artwork are literal masterpieces??
This comforting tale begins in Paris, 1672 where a world of magic is concealed and yet even in the ordinary, one can’t escape the wonder intertwined within every page.
Raziol is a dedicated astronomer and Sulvain is a mysterious world traveler, who we quickly realize is a necromancer. The two get caught into each other’s orbits and what starts as a simple introduction on the eve of Raziol’s big presentation, slowly envelops them in a passionate, quiet relationship. There’s such a lovely chemistry and charm between them that you fall in love with these two in an instant!
As we easily familiarize ourselves with our soft, sweet protagonists such as Raziol, who lives and breathes astronomy at the Academy Of Sciences alongside enigmatic Sulvain, we quickly get swept up in their own personal journeys and history, that slowly builds throughout the series thus far.
Raziol and Sulvain’s relationship develops through intimate glances, subtle touches, and the art brilliantly details the expressions that convey so much as to who they are on the inside. But first and foremost, there’s an unmistakable sense of vulnerability that leaves you instantly swept away in their budding romance. The art beautifully evokes the emotions interlaced within each and every page that they’re unable to hide, which also speaks so much to the feelings they have for each other as their relationship quickly blossoms.
An example would be within the first chapter on pg. 15, when they first meet and have a lingering handshake in the astronomy study or pg. 30 where Sulvain says how eager he is to learn more about Raziol’s discoveries!! It feels like moments where time seems to stop (as every moment of them together feels like that <3).
From intimate conversations over tea, speculating the cosmos during late night observatory visits, to simply occupying the same space, they are unable to evade their deep feelings.
Sulvain is mute and speaks through not only sign language, but also by writing his speech down in a special notebook. This leads to very tender moments of contact between them and it magnificently illustrates the warmth and affection that develops.
As for the plot, its difficult to explain because it very much is a slow-moving, quiet, introspective story that’s really about learning all their is to know about the soft, hidden edges of our absolutely adorable necromancer and astronomer duo, that are just so precious!
However, that is without a doubt its strength as well!
Learning about these two is such an honor, they are so sweet and have I mentioned how this wholesome story has taken over my life now? There’s so much to discover about these characters, that even to what the average person seems like a “mundane” moment, reveals so much about them internally.
However what I can say without spoiling too much, is that the plot hints at all there is to know about our main cast little by little. Flashbacks of Raizol and Sulvain’s past layers in mystery and understanding that at their core, makes them some of the best fully fleshed out protagonists I’ve read in a while. There’s a variety of characters we’re just getting to know, making this to be an interesting ensemble cast as future pages get released. (Once you get further along there’s a character by the name of Viverette who is wonderful!)
The plot itself combines mystery, romance, even the paranormal that works so seamlessly together. The setting of France takes on a whole new meaning with the unique blend of genres and world building that’s being developed throughout the story. The architecture, imagery, clothing, and magic, immerses you in this vibrant world. Its so cleverly developed and I utterly adore learning more about the world and magic system through the smallest details.
The writing itself is poetic, spellbinding, and just beautiful.
“Stars I have seen, but perhaps not the way you see them…” (Novae, 46).
Also remember when I mentioned necromancy? So Sulvain has many secrets and while his ability as a necromancer has been kept a secret from Raziol so far, I love how he’s using his powers to solve a recent string of murders that he gets tangled up in. His powers play a big part into the privacy as to who he really is and it adds a really interesting layer to him as a character, especially with how hesitant he is to accept his feelings at times. It also makes for beautiful artwork imagery, aesthetics, even perhaps references of Greek myth with an alternate plane surrounded by wheat, golden threads, and other mysterious figures connected to his past. It overall makes such an interesting magic system well worth exploring.
The artwork is what ties all these fantastic elements together! With the use of celestial and earthy color palettes, the story takes on a very calm, comforting, cozy atmosphere. The art is wonderfully detailed and focuses on the character expressions (Raziol and Sulvain) that makes them feel so REAL. Every page and panel tells its own story and evokes a timeless fairy tale quality. Because its updating weekly page by page, every single one feels meaningful and tells you so much about what’s next in the story, leaving you wanting to know more.
As far as representation just so readers are aware, both mc’s are Queer. Sulvain and Raziol (Pakistani-Muslim) identify as bisexual and pansexual. Sulvain is also demi.
This comic succeeds in developing realistic and heartwarming protagonists that completely win you over! There’s so many positive things I have to say about this story, that if you take anything away from my lengthy review, its to read this webcomic ASAP!
Novae crafts a lovely tale of romance, mystery, and the paranormal propelled by magnificent characters you’ll be eager to learn more about! Everything about this comic from the world, artwork, pacing, and phenomenal storytelling will enchant! Every page of Novae will leave the reader awe, wondering what happens next in this Queer historical-fantasy comic!