The Loneliest Unicorn is a one-bite/16-page webcomic story by Josh Cooley. He’s a story artist at Pixar who, in his meager spare time, does entertainingly subversive art thingies (his now-collectable out-of-print “Li’l Inappropriate Book: Movies R(-Rated) Fun” is the most well-known) and this is no exception. Yes, I can count all the familiar tropes in this twisted tale (including the Big Twist) on my two hands, but it is so well done (and avoids the obvious “Why the long face?” joke).
Of course, this lonely unicorn is far from the ONLY unicorn in webcomics these days…
Unicorns Barf Rainbows is a randomly updated site that provides all kinds of valuable information on ‘the narwahls of the land’ (as nobody calls them), like:
their incredible coffee-related powers,
how to catch a unicorn,
why unicorns have horns,
the different kinds of unicorn tails (you didn’t know there were different kinds, did ya?),
“the Unicorn Paradox”,
maybe the ONLY thing that can make Unicorns better,
and something the Ol’ Lonely should have referred to, a chart comparing Unicorns to Mermaids.
“>But IMO, the best unicorn in webcomics right now is “Heavenly Nostrils” (yes, that is the name of the comic strip AND the unicorn) drawn by Dana Simpson and running on the gocomics.com site.
The story of the comic: “It all started when Phoebe skipped a rock across a pond and accidentally hit a unicorn in the face. Improbably, this led to Phoebe being granted one wish, and she used it to make the unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, her obligational best friend. But can a vain mythical beast and a nine-year-old daydreamer really forge a connection?”
Longtime webcomic followers will know Dana Simpson as the creator of “Ozy & Millie”, a seriously cute comic that ran in one form or another in college newspapers or on the web from 1997 to 2008. The main characters were two fox children, one of whom is the adopted child of a dragon (and surprisingly, he’s the more sensible one). Simpson also drew a fairly popular political comic, non-confusingly titled “I Drew This” for four years during the G.W.Bush administration.
In 2009, she entered Amazon.com’s “Comic Strip Superstar” contest with a new comic idea titled “Girl”, but a young human girl who talks to animals. She won. The prizes were professional contracts with a newspaper syndicate and book publisher, but things got complicated, and she was pushed into changing the original concept. Much to the world’s amazement, the changes worked out wonderfully and “Heavenly Nostrils” (apparently they asked for a new title, and they sure got one!) is a delight, with the ‘nine-year-old daydreamer’ now given the formal name Phoebe and the various forest characters replaced with a stunning-looking diva designed to stand out from the “My Little Pony” model for unicorns. Actually, I think of Marigold Heavenly Nostrils as the America’s Top Model Unicorn, a sleek package of excessive pride and unconscious silliness.
When Marigold (I’m so tempted to call her Nostrils) was a no-show at Phoebe’s planned Show-And-Tell unveiling, it looked like we were going to venture into ‘imaginary friend’ territory, but a bit of fantastical contrivance allows Marigold to remain not invisible, just insignificant. A fascinating twist that opens up interesting ways for the two main characters to interact with the world, including Phoebe’s parents, as they learn what works and what doesn’t work in a relationship with a unicorn… for example, pillow fights don’t work. Yet this unicorn becomes a near-perfect friend for a youngster leaning to deal with reality and unreality.
Enjoy the ride.