Welcome to the Magic Hedge. In Chicago, the Magic Hedge is a part of the Montrose Beach bird sanctuary. In comics, the Magic Hedge is Marian Runk’s personal anthology, and it holds as many wonderment as its namesake. This issue introduces us to the Hedge and the near-year-round birding she does there. Inspired by her father’s obsession with birds, Marian documents warblers and sandpipers.
While the first half of this issue focuses on the ecosystem of birds on the north side of Chicago, the second half of the book focuses on the ecosystem of the queer community of which Marian is a part. In a humorous vignette, Marian investigates the similar histories of her girlfriend and another friend’s upbringing in all-girls catholic schools.
In the emotional and moving final story, Marian recalls her reaction to Mondo Guerra’s coming out as HIV+ on Project Runway. Through personal loss, and continued observations of how AIDS is viewed within her queer community, the news had a profound effect on her. She brings the Hedge back into the narrative, and through that, makes her story immediate and alive.
Marian’s soft pencils and strategic use of color gives the entire comic an organic and real feel that will surely move you.