illustration by Shelly Freund of Siren's Lament
This tale is easy to fall in love with, but will prove difficult to say goodbye to. (Illustration by Shelly Freund, Elon University)

‘Siren’s Lament’ Is a Webtoon Series Worth a Deep Dive

This digital comic blends manga influences with Disney-inspired artwork to create a compelling tale of romance by the sea.

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illustration by Shelly Freund of Siren's Lament

This digital comic blends manga influences with Disney-inspired artwork to create a compelling tale of romance by the sea.

Sometimes a good spin on a classic favorite is exactly what readers need when times prove to be tough and turbulent. Escape into fantasy isn’t a new coping mechanism, but it is one that can be improved upon. For Webtoon readers who have already zipped their way through “Lore Olympus,” there is more on the platform worth reading. Namely “Siren’s Lament” by user instantmiso, real name Kaitlyn Narvaza, who provides a wonderful story of romance to get lost in.

What “Siren’s Lament” is All About

A young woman named Lyra, who runs her grandmother’s flower shop, lives in an idyllic seaside town. Lyra is joined by Shon, a childhood crush and close friend who unfortunately has a girlfriend. Eventually, the longtime friends reveal their true feelings for one another.

One night Lyra goes out to the sea, where she meets a suave siren named Ian who attempts to pass along Poseidon’s Curse to Lyra. The pair kiss, but instead of Lyra turning into a full-blown mermaid with no memory, the curse is split between the two. Together they must figure out the origins of the curse in order to lift it completely.

A great aspect of “Siren’s Lament” is its myriad themes besides unrequited love and heartbreak. Over the 173 episodes published so far, readers are met with a small cast of central characters who explore themes such as friendship, loneliness and loss. The story has a little something for everyone.

How the Story Stands Out

When asked how she came up with “Siren’s Lament,” author Narvaza revealed, “I’ve always lived close to the ocean, so I thought it would be fun to make a story with a similar setting that reminded me of home. My sisters and I have also always been fascinated by fairy tales and the classic story of ‘The Little Mermaid,’ so I was inspired to write fantasy with a twist.”

“Siren’s Lament” is unlike other series on Webtoon, partially due to its use of music throughout its chapters. The pieces are crafted specifically for the series by KennyComics, a music composer who Narvaza met while making her debut and highly-rated webtoon “Where Tangents Meet.” Apparently the two met when KennyComics let Narvaza “listen to some of the songs he composed. He surprised [her] one day by presenting [her] with a song for a specific episode of WTM and [she] was absolutely thrilled!”

The Artistic Style

“Siren’s Lament” has a distinct and unique style. Narvaza’s inspiration for this style is a product of her childhood; as she explains, “My strongest influences in graphic art have always been Eastern-styled comics (Japanese manga) and Disney animation. I was fortunate enough to have grown up being exposed to both equally, so I really feel that they are two of my greatest inspirations.”

Narvaza creates a mesmerizing atmosphere in “Siren’s Lament,” highlighting what can be achieved in the graphic novel form. The soft tone palate creates a somewhat indescribable feeling for the reader that sets the art apart from other forms of media. There is evidence of Narvaza’s manga and Disney animation inspirations, but she still makes something distinctively her own.

Is It Any Good?

“Siren’s Lament” does not have to do much to pull a reader in, but it does struggle to keep their attention afloat through the two seasons. A great deal of the plot focuses on the love triangle, and the most attentive readers are those interested in reading about characters pining for one another. But, by knowingly reading a work in the “romance” genre, the reader should be prepared for meandering, romantic plots.

Readers may also enjoy the central mystery of “Siren’s Lament,” which follows Lyra in her quest to learn more about the mysterious creator of all the sirens, known simply as “the Poseidon.” As the answers begin to unfold, the reader will find themselves sliding quickly through the comic while different pieces of foreshadowing begin to line up.

The Importance of “Siren’s Lament” and Other Online Works

In a genre historically dominated by men, only recently have more female readers explored graphic novels and comics. The upturn could be the result of an increase in female creators and new access to graphic novels. Longtime female readers are no strangers to the culture of a local comic book shop, which marginalizes many in between its rows of wire shelves and action sequence covers.

Regardless of your gender, the real shock is experienced in realizing just how much is out there. For some, it is a surprise to even learn that there is anything beyond Marvel and D.C. Comics.

Platforms like Webtoon make it easier for a more diverse set of artists to have a place to explore experimental stylings and stories not available in the average comic shop. Webtoon is also extremely accessible to an audience who may find it hard to locate, or even comfortably enter, a comic book store.

Although the graphic novels are published online for free, creators still have a chance to make money from their work. Some creators who started on Webtoon went on to print and sell physical copies of their works in typical comic book stores. For example, both “Woman World” by Aminder Dhaliwal and “On a Sunbeam” by Tillie Walden were originally published online but have found further success in traditional printed formats.

As for Narvaza, “Siren’s Lament” is sticking to the small screen for the conceivable future: “I think it would be a cool bonus to make hardcopies of ‘Siren’s Lament,’ but as of right now, I’m content with publishing the series digitally.”

The Long-Awaited Return

Narvaza announced on the “Siren’s Lament” official Instagram page that the web series would be returning for its next installment on Oct. 17. Although the installment will lead directly to the finale, fans should be happy to know Narvaza has another series in the works.

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