On its face, Natalie Riess’ webcomic Snarlbear sounds like a candy-coated fantasy: a young girl is transported to the Rainbow Dimension, where she ends up fighting monsters and trying to help a cursed unicorn prince reclaim his throne. But the world Riess creates is actually much more sinister.

Snarlbear has a somewhat familiar opening: an ordinary girl from our world, Daisy, is mystically transported to a strange Wonderland filled with nefarious creatures. But when Daisy encounters a giant, toothy monster, she quickly kills it, earning the monster’s name, Snarlbear, for herself. Soon she’s got an agent (the monochromatic Flint Galena), an occupation (monster puncher), and the Snarlbear’s technicolor coat of ever-shifting colors.


At first, Snarlbear seemly like an atmospheric journey, a meandering from this village to that, with lots of monster punching in between. But gradually, it becomes apparent that something odd is going on. Other creatures — scary creatures — react oddly around Daisy Snarlbear. There’s a definite prejudice against the gray-skinned Flint and people like him. And then they run into the unicorn prince, a Rainbow ruler cursed with human-like form — and the prince needs Snarlbear’s help to recover his throne from his mad unicorn sister. It turns out that, even in a world of rainbows and unicorns, both Snarlbear and Flint have plenty of horrors ahead.