There was once a time when the entirety of my online presence was checking email and reading sprite comics. The basic art style of spriting meant that those comics had to be funny and original to succeed. Yeah, I’d bounce around links reading some hand-drawn web series intermittently, but most assumed the art would maintain readership and none really held onto me.

And then I stumbled across Exiern.

I’ll never try and pretend that a scantily clad woman won’t get my attention. Plenty of things have gotten me in many doors thanks to the all-powerful M Appeal. But without wit and substance no amount of lady skin will keep me interested for long. So Drowemos, Exiern’s writer, should be quite proud that his tale of a chauvinist barbarian who rescues a princess and gets turned into a woman himself has had me checking in for updates almost every day for, well, years.

First let’s talk about that art. Expertly drawn through the years by Drowemos, Studio Boom, and currently Shi Pe Li, Exiern has had one thing in common across all its artists; full color, high quality, sexy art. Each page, posted about twice a week, features dynamic characters in a fascinating medieval world. Moving back and forth between great action sequences and slower character building scenes there’s always something pleasing on the eye to enjoy.

In fact, while the comics generally available on Exiern.com retain a PG-13 level of nudity one can sign up for membership in Exiern’s ESCarchive to see uncensored versions that don’t obscure any feminine details.

Copyright Exiern

Now let’s talk about that all-important Characterization and Story. These aren’t some dull blonde-and-busty trollops stumbling around the world of Exiern. The barbarian Tiffany (née Typhan-Knee) is a strong and violent individual; she has a sword so every problem looks like it needs to be cleaved. The transition from man-to-woman has made her personality and physical inclinations complex. Keeping Tiffany under control is Princess Peonie, whose independent spirit and will to live her own life makes her a welcomed change from the snooty helpless princesses found in many medieval fictions. The back and forth repertoire that quickly develops between the two women is funny and sincere and scenes when they are allowed to bicker about their contrasting views on women and the world are always entertaining.

Stirred into the mix is an evil wizard, a clumsy and mysterious librarian, a doom-espousing expositionist, magic-wielding children, bumbling guards, a pompous king, water spirits, dragons, and other beasties to make life more difficult. Throw in the ultimate question about whether Tiffany is better off as a man or a woman and life starts to get complicated. Fortunately Drowemos keeps things focused and is always moving the story. While many comics have fallen to the fate of sending their characters on quests that never see resolution, Tiffany and Peonie are always making progress and finding satisfying answers to old issues as new ones arise.

Copyright Exiern

Those who want even more Exiern fun, and would like to support the comic, can subscribe to the ESCarchive, a site dedicated to extra content unavailable on the public page. There one will find the aforementioned uncensored versions the comic pages, as well as wallpapers and original stories/comics all for a low fee. Membership directly supports Exiern. The available material looks great and is definitely worth the fee, and I am a big fan of some of the comics Drowemos has written there, especially Dungeons of Distraction.

Fan’s of my own writings may also want to keep an eye on the ESCarchive as I have submitted a story for illustration and posting, one which I’m quite proud of. Once Drowemos has posted it I will be sure to announce it.

Given the length of time Exiern has been running for I can’t really do it justice in a brief article. There has been so much story that I could never begin to boil it down. I highly recommend reading it from the start, or picking up the nifty TPB – use the link below to benefit everyone!

Tiffany may not be fond of book reading, but I doubt you’ll regret it.