“Phoebe and Her Unicorn” began as a web comic by Dana Simpson in 2012 and then a few years later became a syndicated comic strip in newspapers, that is still in active publication. The first five books in the series are compilations of those comics. Phoebe and Her Unicorn in The Magic Storm is the first standalone graphic novel.
Phoebe is an average girl who befriends a unicorn, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Together they tackle the mundane, school, to adventure, like when they solve mysteries as the Phoebegold Detective Agency. Their bond and escapades have many people comparing the duo to Calvin and Hobbes, and I agree.
The Magic Storm begins with freezing rain and Marigold’s realization that magic has gone missing. She can no longer summon her Shield of Boringness and the humans around her, who normally do not detect a unicorn in their midst, are stunned by her magnificence. When the power cuts out in the town, Marigold suspects that there is a correlation between the loss of magic and the outage. In the beginning stages of investigation, they encounter Dakota, once friend and now tormentor of Phoebe, carried on a sedan chair by part of her goblin retinue. The loss of magic is affecting them as well. As Phoebe and Dakota bicker, Marigold and the goblins discuss a goblin legend where a dragon named Voltina swallowed lighting. To enable her lightning habit, Voltina learned magic to summon storms. However, summoning storms requires large quantities of magic and as such uses up much of the ambient magic. This lead has Phoebe and Dakota wondering if Voltina has come to their town and is causing the power outage.
To investigate properly, they enlist the help of Max, Phoebe’s friend, for his interest in electricity. Along the way Max remarks several times about how lucky Phoebe and Dakota are to have their magical companions. Max often feels like an adjacent friend. While Phoebe thinks it is cool that Max is into things like electrical grids, it is not an interest she shares, and this is the story of Max’s relationships, but all that changes by the end of the story. Friendship is a strong theme throughout “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” stories and The Magic Storm is no exception. The mystery of missing magic and electricity is solved through the power of friendship.
Our whole family enjoys these fun comics and I would recommend them for all ages. If you like stories of friendship, hijinks and magical creatures (shout out to Todd the candy dragon!), start at the beginning and give these comics a try.