|Author(s)||Brandon J. Santiago|
|Current status/schedule||Ongoing, published online daily / weekly|
|Launch date||May 28, 2014 (first published) January 3, 2016 (Tapas)|
|Publisher(s)||Print: Outcast Studios|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Ghost, Humor, School Life, Horror, Readable|
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Erma is a comedy-horror webcomic by the American comics writer and artist Brandon J. Santiago. Santiago started Erma while a student at an Illinois university. The webcomic was first published on May 28, 2014, with an ongoing series beginning on Tapas on January 3, 2016. Erma has been published in the form of two anthologies and a prequel graphic novel by Outcast Studios in 2017, who also produced an animated short film adaptation in October 2017. It is available in two languages, English and Spanish.
The series originated from a short parody one-shot of The Ring franchise which Santiago had written in college. Following the one-shot's positive reception on Deviantart, Santiago decided to develop a series based on the original Erma one-shot. The series has received universal acclaim for its originality, creativity, and humour.
Erma follows the adventures and misadventures of Erma Williams. Like any other normal child in the suburbs, she goes to school, hangs out with friends, and even spends time with the family. It just so happens that she, as the daughter of human Sam Williams and ghostly spirit Emiko Williams (née Yūreimoto), tends to use her haunting abilities for everyday antics, whether for better or for worse. Each page is a new type of antic that Erma gets into and the insanity that ensues in the meanwhile. Santiago also focuses on Erma's supernatural life and friendships with her best friends, Amy, Terry and Connor, as well as her babysitter Felicia and fellow Warrior Unicorn Princess fan Sidney.
For Halloween 2017, Santiago developed and released an animated short film based on the comic in conjunction with his company, Outcast Studios.
Santiago stated regarding the decision to exclusively release the strip on Tapas:
Erma should at least be on one main website where it would be easy for anyone, fan or newcomer, to
come together, and be able to read all of the comics in chronological order, with a more organized list.
|Main||Indicates character had a main role in the arc|
|Supporting||Indicates character had a supporting role in the arc|
|Cameo||Indicates character had a minor or cameo appearance in the arc|
|Flashback||Indicates character had a flashback apperance in the arc|
|Mentioned||Indicates character was mentioned in the arc|
|Erma||Babysitter||Pet||The Water’s Fine||Halloween
The Rats in the School Walls
|Principal Wes Phibes||Cameo||Main|
- Erma Williams: The webcomic's main character. Erma is in fourth grade and 9 years old. Like a lot of kids around her age, she is innocent, weird, and full of wonder. She is the hybrid daughter of human Sam Williams and supernatural being Emiko Williams (née Yūreimoto), inheriting many of her mother's powers including prehensile hair and telekinesis. Erma spends much of her time using her ghostly abilities, playing with her friends Amy, Terry and Connor and babysitter Felicia, going to school, or watching her favourite television show, Warrior Unicorn Princess, a show also liked by her friend Sidney. She owns an undead dog, Siris. She also has mild korrhaphiophobia, hating not being to scare someone and loves being able to, as well as severe santaphobia. Erma can be summoned against her will if her name is chanted into a mirror three times. She was born on a Friday the 13th in October. Also, his least favourite subject is social studies. Erma makes several types of different expressions on her face often but is interrupted before she has a chance to speak often.
- Sam Williams: Erma's father, a tall, spectacled, independent author who bases the characters of his novels of his experiences with his wife and daughter. Like his wife, he is a fan of horror movies and American football, as well as fishing, which he often tries to convince Erma to enjoy. He finds much beauty in his wife Emiko both in and out. He is voiced by Derek Kolecki in the Erma animated short film. His name was first stated on 8/21/17. He first appeared 1/24/15.
- Emiko Williams: Erma's mother. Her maiden name is Yūreimoto. Following her marriage to Sam, her father faked her death and kidnapped her, leaving her in the underworld. She eventually escaped with the help of her long-necked sister and reunited with Sam. Shortly afterwards, Emiko became pregnant with Erma. She cuts her prehensile hair with interdimensional scissors. Like her husband, she is a fan of American football. Her name was first stated in Spirit's Bloom. The character is often misidentified in media outlets as being the same character as Ring characters Samara Morgan and/or Sadako Yamamura, due to the character's design, as with that of Erma's, being based off of that of both characters. She first appeared 5/28/14.
- Michael Williams: Erma's uncle. He is married with one daughter, who, despite being human, is described as a "little monster" due to her hyperactivity. He first appeared 11/25/15.
- Emily Williams: Erma's younger cousin through her uncle Michael and his wife Regan, an excitable little ball of energy who is completely unfazed by Erma. Erma, on the other hand, is unnerved and exasperated by her cousin and her boundless energy.
- Regan Williams: Erma's aunt. She first appeared 11/25/15.
- Pamela Williams: Erma's grandmother. She first appeared 11/25/15.
Friends and Students
- Felicia: Erma's current babysitter and sister of Erma's friend Sylvia. A fan of horror movies, Felicia is mostly desensitized to horror, not being particularly scared by Erma.
- Amy: Erma's classmate and best friend who is always energetic and is up for anything as long as she can have a good time with her buddy. A spunky young girl who often plays the straight man to Terry's impulsive nature.
- Terry: Another of Erma's classmates and friend of hers. Frequently tries to pull pranks on Erma, only for them to backfire on him. He tends to react impulsively when situations get sticky. He is always excited whenever he gets to hang out with Erma since he knows he is going to see something supernatural.
- Connor: Another of Erma's classmates and friend. He has an enormous crush on Erma, regardless of the unusual things that she does, which appears to be reciprocated by her.
- Sidney: The hall monitor of the school who eventually becomes Erma's best friend, both girls being fans of the television show Warrior Unicorn Princess. Her father is the leader of an underground civilization of rat people, while her mother was human. Capable of shifting between a human form and a humanoid rat form.
Blairwood Elementary school staff
- Principal Wes Phibes: The blind principal of Blairwood Elementary, Erma's school. In the first Erma comic strip, some of her teachers, scared by Erma's appearance and quirks, wonder why Phibes would have let her into the school. He makes it clear to Erma's mother that kids of all races are accepted. On his initial appearance, this was presented as a gag due to his blindness, but the storyline The Rats in the School Walls reveals that Erma is not the only supernatural child he has allowed into the school, the other being Sidney. Phibes was designed to physically resemble Morgan Freeman, and was named after Wes Craven and the title character of The Abominable Dr. Phibes.
- Ms. Bierly: Erma's teacher, who is completely petrified of her, to such an extent that she gives her an A grade on every test she receives for fear of Erma's wrath. She is voiced by Cecelia Negron in the Erma animated short film, detailing how she met Erma.
- PE Coach: A married man, Erma's PE coach enjoys the violence that ensues when he sets Erma (and Amy) against the other kids of their class in a dodgeball game.
- Siris: Erma's pet undead dog with a skin of a stretching quality, whom she adopted from a woman dressed in stereotypical "gypsy" garb and living in an equally stereotypical "gypsy" wagon. Siris' name comes from those of Sirius, also known as the "Dog Star", and Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Dead. When the Williams family acquired Siris, they were unaware that he was undead, until they saw him survive three gunshot wounds and being run over by a car, his lost flesh regenerating over time.
- Wittle Wallace: A living, near-indestructible ventriloquist puppet in Erma's possession, one that appears to have a malevolent spirit residing within it. Wallace's physical design was based on that of Slappy the Dummy from the Goosebumps franchise and his characteristics were based on those of Charles Lee "Chucky" Ray from the Child's Play franchise.
- Unnamed: Erma's former babysitter, who was scared by Erma so badly that she was driven insane and put into a mental institution. She eventually was released, now has an obsession with destroying Erma. She is the older sister of Connor, the boy who has a crush on Erma.
- Unnamed: Erma's grandfather.
- Unnamed: An invisible man wearing a cloak and top hat, who was present shortly after Erma's birth. Capable of ridding people of the capability of speech, and transfiguring people into insects, as well as inducing spontaneous combustion.
- Miko: Erma's friend and classmate.
- Sylvia: Erma's friend and Felicia's sister.
Warrior Unicorn Princess
Warrior Unicorn Princess is an animated television series featured in Erma. It features the titular character as she battles the forces of evil with the power of friendship and love, using her sword to protect her kingdom and friends.
Cameos from Other Comics and Fiction
Some strips would show Erma encountering figures from popular culture and other forms of media. A few of these characters have reappeared in more recent strips. They include -
- Freddy's Animatronics
- Jason Voorhees
- Freddy Krueger
- Mr. Babadook
- Casper the Friendly Ghost
- Jack Skellington
- The Addams Family
- Charlie Brown
- Huey Freeman
- Alice Otterloop
- The Ghostbusters
- Huey Freeman
- Frankenstein's Monster
- The Sanderson Sisters
- Ash Williams
- Pyramid Head
- Mabel Pines
- Dipper Pines
- Lucy van Pelt
- Coraline Jones
- Norman Babcock
- The Hanzo Oragami
- The Martians
- Courage the Cowardly Dog
- Jason X
- Count Chocula
- Franken Berry
- Boo Berry
- The Tall Man[disambiguation needed]
- Robot Monster
- Norman Bates
- Rosemary and her Baby
- Billy the Puppet
- Dr. Caligari
2 print collections and a graphic novel have been published. Erma #1 covered various strips from 2014-2015 alongside original strips, while Erma #2 featured solely original strips. Spirit’s Bloom, a graphic novel set before the events of Erma, detailing how Erma's parents met as well as expanding the series’ mythology, was released in 2017. A third collection, Erma #3, has been reported to be in development.
|Erma #1||October 23, 2017 (eBook edition)||TBA (new eBook edition)||Outcast Comics, BJS Incorporated|
- Spirit’s Bloom - October 6, 2017
From October 24 to 28, 2016, Brandon Santiago began selling a limited range of white and grey t-shirts with designs based off the Erma series: The Chest Burster and The Friends, from his website, having previously sold the clothing, alongside original artwork, posters and lapel pins, at Wizard World Comic-Con in August 2016. From December 8 to 16, 2017, Santiago began offering a limited range of All-New Erma Ugly Christmas T-Shirts. In both cases, every shirt made available was sold before the deadline set by Santiago. Santiago later began offering a Erma Glitch T-Shirt and an Erma TV Pin.
On August 11, 2016, Santiago designed and released a videogame based off of the Erma as a series of levels through Super Mario Maker, a game creation system developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS. The game, titled Erma’s Well of Horror, contains several images of Erma composed of darkness and clouds, and has a completion rate of 4.94%. Promotional art for the game features Mario encountering Erma as he's about to enter a Warp Pipe, shocked by her appearance. Santiago has stated that the game was specifically designed for readers of the Erma webcomic, as compensation for a temporary delay in the release of the following strip that existed at the time.
On November 27, 2015, Brandon Santiago confirmed that an animation based on Erma was in development for after the release of Erma #2 via his Tumblr page. On October 2, 2017, Santiago revealed that he had a "secret" project in development in addition to Erma #3, which he cited as the reason "there [wouldn’t] be as many Halloween strips this month as last year". On October 30, 2017, Erma - Animated Short Film was uploaded to YouTube by Santiago, with a notification on Tapas describing the film as "a surprise for all of you", referring to fans of the Erma series. The film was produced by Outcast Studios, and has received a positive reception. The film is set prior to the first Erma strip, detailing how Erma's teacher Ms. Bierly met Erma. It was co-written by Gaiter, with backgrounds from Kirsten Celander, and music and sound effects from David Kolecki. Kolecki and Cecelia Negron repectively voice Sam Williams and Ms. Bierly, credited as “Erma’s Dad” and “The Teacher”. The short partially adapts "Coming Soon", a stand-alone comic released to Santiago's Deviantart and Tumblr pages to announce the development of an ongoing Erma series prior to the series' launch.
Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting has described the quality of the series as being on par with, if not superior to, Calvin and Hobbes, stating that not since the series "have I been this excited about an ongoing series". Miska also cited Santiago as having been "working diligently" with Erma; Miska additionally mistook the character of Emiko Williams for Samara Morgan in his review, the character from whom the design for Erma was gotten. In a follow-up review to that of Miska's, Jonathan Barkan of Bloody Disgusting described Erma as "adorable" and "innocent", expressing fondness the series' "squeal-inducing" moments and citing "Movie Night" as his favourite strip.
Harry Situation of The Prose described Erma as an "[a]bsolutely fun read", calling the series "by far one of the best comic strips I’ve ever read", citing his love for Santiago's method of characterisation of the main characters, finding "the rest of the characters [to be] just as likeable too", describing the characters of Sam and Emiko Williams as "the most lovable couple ever". Regarding the series' artwork, Situation described it as "incredible", saying "[t]here's so much attention to detail that it’s mind-blowing. I love the expressions people give in the comic whenever Erma does something freaky. Their drawn faces and reactions are just priceless. Even Erma’s expressions are entertaining. While she doesn't talk throughout the series, Brandon found a way to let her mood and thoughts let the readers know what she's saying, and this method is brilliant. Also, it's nice to spot some cameos and easter eggs of classic horror movies in each comic strip." Situation additionally cited Erma as the inspiration for his short story collection Sins of the Father.
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- Portrayal of women in comics
- The Ring franchise, the original inspiration for Erma
- Outcast Comics - Tapas.io
- "9gag: 'Erma', an Animated Short Film MTC". 9GAG. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
- "Subcultura: Erma en español". Subcultura. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
- "Meet Erma, the Daughter of 'The Ring's' Samara, In This Ongoing Comic!". Brad Miska : Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Studios, Outcast (October 30, 2017). "Outcast Studios: Erma - Animated Short Film". YouTube. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
This is the story of a little girl named Erma, who is enjoying life in the suburbs going to school, hanging out with friends, and even spending time with the family. What is the catch? She is a ghost.
- The Outcast, Brandon (October 2, 2017). "SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! Hey everyone! Sorry". Tumblr.
- Spirit’s Bloom - Best 90-Minute Comic & Graphic Novel Short Reads - Ranked #2, Top13Products.com, 2017, retrieved November 29, 2017
- "B.J.S. Incorporated - MERCHANDISE". Outcast Studios. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
- "Super Mario Maker BOOKMARK - Expert : Erma's Well of Horror". Nintendo. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- "BJS Incorporated - Expert : Erma's Well of Horror". Deviantart. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
- The Outcast, Brandon (November 27, 2015). "OUTCAST: #preview #erma". Tumblr.
- Comics, OUTCAST (October 30, 2017). "A SPECIAL HALLOWEEN SURPRISE". Tapas.
- "Erma #1 - "Movie Night"". Tapastic. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- "The Story of Erma, the Daughter of 'The Ring's' Samara, Continues". Jonathan Barkan : Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- "Prose. Harry Situation Reviews... Erma". The Prose. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
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