When the students of Hogwarts and Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters aren't fighting for survival, they're battling ennui, insecurity, and their own hormones. Jillian Tamaki's SuperMutant Magic Academy captures all of the teen angst you'll find at a school for magical mutants — or any school at all.

Jillian Tamaki illustrated the moodiness of an all-girls' school in Skim, the graphic novel written by her cousin Mariko Tamaki. In her cheekily titled webcomic, Jillian Tamaki takes the reigns, sketching out her own characters with their own high school woes. Although the students of SMMA may take spells and potions classes, and some of them sport scales and fur over their skin, their concerns are largely mundane. Marsha is secretly in love with her best friend, Wendy the feminist Kitsune. Lizard-girl Trixie is boy-crazy. Trevor vents his ample frustrations through his laser-shooting eyeballs. Hypercephalic Gemma wants to be valued for her intellectual prowess, and gets frustrated when other folks don't live up to her academic expectations.


But Tamaki doesn't forget the mystical nature of her superpowered prep school. There are surprising parodies of supernatural high school conventions (like Harry Potter recast as an ordinary housecat), and a lot of moments that prove that magic isn't always all it's cracked up to be. But the most important thing about the individual SMMA comics is that they're relatable, even when they're magical. We're not asked to wonder how all that melancholy will turn these high schoolers into heroes; we're just asked to accept that all teenagers have these small moments of strangely amusing tragedy.

Perhaps the character whose powers are most at the forefront is Everlasting Boy, the teen who cannot die. He seems to have the worst of SMMA lot. After all, he might be the one teenager who can never leave high school.

[SuperMutant Magic Academy]