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El Goonish Shive

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El Goonish Shive
Author(s)Dan Shive
Current status/scheduleOngoing
Launch dateJanuary 21, 2002[1]
  • Keenspot (2003–2009)
  • 910CMX (2009–2013)
  • Hiveworks (2013–present)
Genre(s)Science fantasy, Comedy, Dark humor, Action, Horror, Superhero, Gender, Drama

Amazon.com Logo.png Search El Goonish Shive on Amazon.

El Goonish Shive (sometimes abbreviated as EGS[2]) is an ongoing epic fantasy superhero adventure webcomic written and illustrated by Dan Shive, published online since 2002.[3][4] The plot originally centered on Elliot Dunkel, a teenage martial artist; his androgynous mad scientist best friend Tedd Verres; shapeshifting squirrel-girl hybrid Grace Sciuridae; and their neighbour Sarah Brown. However, over time a supporting cast of characters has grown to include members of the shadow government, magic-users, classmates, and clones. EGS's storytelling style combines romantic melodrama, situational comedy, and sexual humor, while considering questions of relationships, sexuality, dealing with emotional trauma, self-identity and gender.


El Goonish Shive describes itself as "a strange comic about a group of teenagers and the bizarre, often supernatural, situations that they face, including a continuing storyline with non-linear joke comics on the side, while often ignoring the laws of physics." Split into three publications: the main storyline follows a series of tightly connected storylines involving Elliot Dunkel, his female clone Ellen, and genderfluid best friend Tedd Verre as magic and science begin to merge, in conjunction with the arrival of shapeshifting fugitive Grace Sciuridae, with whom Tedd falls in love, while the secondary storylines, "NP" and "Sketchbook", respectively follow self-contained storylines and topical one-offs using the same characters with observations from beyond the fourth wall.[2]


The comic was collected in a two-volume book independently published by Shive in March 2005, titled Read, or the Owl Will Eat You, followed by a second greyscale volume, The Piece That Does Not Fit, published by Keenspot in January 2006. The first volume contains strips from the comic's launch up until the end of the fifth part of the Sister arc, with the second volume containing strips from the sixth part of Sister up until Q&A #2.[5]

  • El Goonish Shive – Read Or The Owl Will Eat You (March 2005) Keenspot Entertainment Publishing Platform. 190 p. ISBN 1-93277-510-2 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  • El Goonish Shive – The Piece That Does Not Fit (January 2006) Keenspot Entertainment Publishing Platform. 204 p. ISBN 1-93277-540-4 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.


Annie Blitzen of Women Write About Comics complimented El Goonish Shive for "featuring strong, positive trans themes since well before the creator really understood what that meant" and as being "a great source of comfort and satisfaction" for transgender readers, providing further praise towards the "different ways to interact with the world of EGS [and how] webcomics creators can select different forms to best meet the needs of the story they want to tell."[6] Sam Barber of The Avocado praised the comic's characters as "impressively well-rounded, likeable, and compelling", particularly focusing on Grace Sciuridae and her "Kimmy Schmidt-like sunny outlook [about] finding where she fits into the world".[7]

Suzannah Weiss of Bustle praised the comic for a strip addressing "breaking the double-standard for toplessness — which the #freethenipple movement has recently brought attention to — [a]s really, really complicated. On the one hand, this double-standard is culturally specific and stems from the sexualization of women's bodies. It can be empowering to do something that's normally sexualized, like go topless, and have it mean nothing other than what it means to you."[8] Aaron Greenbaum of Geek Reply praised El Goonish Shive as "a modern classic, thanks to fantastic character arcs, well-written dialogue, excellent comedy, and an occasional helping of creepy/disturbing events", describing the series as "a slightly mature and extremely clever comic [with] the occasional exposition dump or random physical transformation."[9]


  1. Shive, Dan (January 21, 2002). "El Goonish Shive Story for Monday, January 21, 2002". EGS Comics (1).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Shive, Dan [@elgoonishshive]. "We're Back, an EGS Story – egscomics.com/comic/party-194 #elgoonishshive" (Tweet) – via Twitter. Missing or empty |date= (help)
  3. Shive, Dan (June 9, 2021). "New Readers Guide: El Goonish Shive by Dan Shive". EGS Comics.
  4. "Crosbys Buy Out Other Half Of Keenspot". Comics Reporter. February 28, 2008. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008.
  5. Colfer, Markus (10 March 2007). "Keenspot Articles". KeenSwag.com. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  6. Lauer, Emily (26 October 2018). "Webcomics Roundup: Some Spooky, Some Heartfelt, Some Both!". Women Write About Comics. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  7. Barber, Sam (2 January 2019). "Day Thread of El Goonish Shive". The Avocado. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  8. Weiss, Suzannah (11 January 2016). "5 Choices Every Woman Should Have". Bustle. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  9. Greenbaum, Aaron (26 July 2017). "Five Ongoing Webcomics You Probably Should Read". Geek Reply. Retrieved July 26, 2017.

External links[edit]

Category:2000s webcomics Category:2010s webcomics Category:2020s webcomics Category:American webcomics Category:Fantasy webcomics Category:Superhero webcomics Category:Keenspot Category:Kickstarter-funded publications Category:2002 webcomic debuts Category:Feminist webcomics de:El Goonish Shive fr:El Goonish Shive

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