In Witchy, you can tell a person's magical ability by looking at their hair. Long-haired witches tend to be powerful — though if you're too powerful, you'll be burned by the state. That's why this comic's protagonist pretends her hair is short, although she also has the subpar magical ability to match.

Ariel Ries' webcomic opens on young Nyneve, who, as a child, saw witch burners come for her long-haired father. Nyneve has similarly lengthy locks, and she's terrified of being conscripted into the Witch Knights, where she would serve the same kingdom that burned her father. So she never leaves the house without a hair-shortening glamour.

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But life with short hair isn't easy, either. At school, Nyneve excels at academic theory, but her practice of magic doesn't live up to her real hair's expectations. Plus, she's bullied by her long-haired classmates. But Nyneve figures that's a small price to pay to avoid conscription.

Ries' world isn't all black and white, however. She makes it clear that the kingdom is a mishmash of various clans and cultures, and at Nyneve's school, they all brush up against one another. While Nyneve has her reasons for avoiding conscription, her peers have their own problems and ambitions, and some of them see conscription as the best way forward. They certain show off their long hair.

Conscription could mean disaster for Nyneve, though. Hiding her hair in school is one thing, but among the Witch Knights, her secret could be very hard to keep. On the other hand, it would prove that Nyneve is skilled in magic — something she so desperately wants to be. It's internal tugs like that that make Witchy so engaging.

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Discovered via Mental Floss.

[Witchy, also available on Tapastic]