It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for Crossroads Comics!
In order to kick off the spookiest time of the year, we’re going to take a look at Ask October Fox! This is an ask blog that’s currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, making it one of the longest running ask blogs that I know about in the community. It’s a fun little original blog that follows October the Fox, a Spirit Fox that manifests once a year during the month for which they are named. During this time, they explore the forest in which they live, answer questions from the blog’s many fans, and interact with a whole host of characters. As a disclaimer though, readers that do not like gore may not enjoy this blog, as it deals with darker things such as death and features character designs with body horror. Please proceed with caution if these make you uncomfortable.
Part of the reason I wanted to spotlight this blog is that it’s very different from the content I usually cover for two main reasons: 1) It’s a seasonal blog and 2) it’s wholly original, with no relation to any fandom whatsoever. The fact that Ask October Fox is only active during the month of October is a large contributor to its popularity. Similar to a limited time sale, you only get the chance to engage with the characters from this blog for 31 days out of the year. It encourages people to interact with the blog while also preserving its longevity. People look forward to see October the Fox return each year, to the point that I was seeing buzz about this blog even back in August, as other members of the Pokémon Ask Blog community were excitedly waiting for the fox spirit’s return.
Additionally, the fact that this blog is only active for the month of October is likely part of why it’s able to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. Unlike some of the other long running blogs out there, the artist behind Ask October Fox isn’t having to constantly bump out content for this blog year round. They have time to prepare for this event each year which likely allows for better story flow, character development, and more. This isn’t to say that the artist has it easy, as notably there were some years where the celebrations had to be cut short early or the blog experienced delays. The artist still has to answer asks as they receive them just like any other ask blogger, which takes time. But I do believe the fact that this is confined to a single month rather than being a year round thing is part of why the blog has been able to continue for as long as it has, and I’m hoping for its continued success in years to come.
Another aspect of this blog’s appeal is that it’s pretty much wholly original. Normally the content I cover here is Pokémon related, since this is a Pokémon fansite after all, but this hasn’t stopped me from covering other comics in the past. However, typically those comics relate to another fandom of some kind, such as The Legend of Zelda or Undertale, with the last wholly original comic that I can recall covering being Mahiwaga, over a year ago. So it’s very exciting for me personally to cover Ask October Fox just due to how unique it is from the stuff I usually talk about here. But enough talking about how excited I am to cover the blog itself, let’s get into the actual content!
As previously mentioned, Ask October Fox is a blog that follows a spirit fox named October. Her official title is “Spirit of the Harvest” and she acts as the embodiment of All Hallows Eve as well as the spirits that tend to travel along with it. She acts as a guardian to the all the spirits that live within her forest, helping them pass on when they’re ready and finding peace if they’re not. As the spirit of All Hallows Eve, October is only around for the duration of the month for which she is named, appearing at midnight on October 1st and departing with the sunrise on November 1st each year. During this time, she not only engages with her duties as a spirit fox, but also celebrates her own birthday, which is on October 18.
All in all that character concept alone is just very cool. Halloween spirits are nothing new, as many different fae and other creatures from throughout history are not only associated with but also said to only appear during this time of year due to the weakened barrier between the lands of the living and the death. October as a character takes this idea and blends it with aspects of the myths of the kitsune as well as the grim reaper to make a very delightful character. It’s very creative and definitely makes her an excellent embodiment of Halloween if I’ve ever seen one.
October isn’t the only member of this cast with an interesting and well thought out design! Every character’s design and backstory are fascinating and grim tales that relate to the Halloween season. While I won’t go into detail about each one, since October explains the stories of each character herself on the blog, it’s very interesting to see the relationships and dynamics of each character. From Death itself to pumpkin carving rodents, this blog has a very diverse cast of characters with origin stories that range from heartwarming to heartbreaking. They all celebrate aspects of All Hallows Eve in some way though, which is something I really like. The more tragic characters represent the ugly side of dying, where the outcome isn’t always peaceful, while others show off the happier side of Halloween and the traditions it celebrates. They are all embodiments of the season in this way, which is really cool!
While the author of Ask October Fox has stated that not every character that has appeared in the blog is their own, with several actually belonging to their friends, the way the cast is integrated together is very clever and well written. Relationships like the one between October and Death don’t just come from nowhere, and diving into the blog’s story, you can definitely see why it is the way it is. I recognize I’m being fairly vague about this despite this being the “spoiler” section of the review, but this is partially because I feel like the story of this blog is one that’s best experienced reading it for yourself. The dynamics formulated between characters like Notch, October, Spooky, and the others have developed and changed greatly over the years, making it hard to put into words exactly why they make for such an interesting read. However, what I can say is, while the blog’s length can be a bit intimidating, it’s well worth reading it just to see the story behind all the characters and watch their relationships evolve as time goes on.
This blog is a lot of things to many people. For some, it’s a long enduring Halloween tradition on Tumblr that follows an adorable fox on her adventures through the forest she guards. It’s something they can look forward to each year, and as shown through the blog’s interactions during rough years like 2016, it’s provided some much needed respite from the outside world for its fans. For others, it’s a fascinating collection of characters, designs, and stories that are both happy and tragic, representing both the good and bad sides of death, as well as our relationships with it. I can’t speak for the author on what their thoughts on it are, but I imagine to have kept this going for ten years, it is likely an important part of their life that brings them much joy. I think this is most particular evident through the story, Saint, which was a tribute to their own father. Not many have the opportunity to memorialize a loved one in such a manner, but for as long as this blog endures, Saint will act as a permanent dedication and display as to how much the author’s father meant to them, which I find extremely touching.
I realize the blog’s length might be intimidating to some readers. Even though it only updates for one month every year, it’s still been enduring for a decade now, meaning there’s quite a bit of story and content to cover if you want to fully enjoy it. However, I want to assure potential readers of two things. The first one is, you can still enjoy this blog without reading its entire backlog first. While it does give a better understanding into some of the responses October gives or the relationships that characters have, Ask October Fox is also very good at being somewhat self contained. It’s still very much worth reading and participating with what the blog has to offer this year regardless of if you’ve read its backlog first because the stories she tells and answers she give don’t always rely on past knowledge of the characters, which is rather nice. It gives readers a chance to catch up at their own pace, if at all, and it’s also not uncommon for the author to rehash a few things here and there in their quick responses too.
However, the second thing I want to reassure readers about is that it’s well worth reading the backlog if you have the time and patience. The author has put a lot of work into this blog over the years and you can really see that through the progression of Ask October Fox. Not only have their art and animation skills improved just from a technical side of things, but the stories that October tells and the adventures she go on get more and more interesting with each year. From learning the origin stories of her friends to seeing how she interacts with them now, that entire progression just gets better as time goes on. So while it may take a while to get through all of it, I can soundly say that it is very much worth it to experience the blog from the beginning.
If you’d like to engage with this blog, either by reading in its entirety or just by participating in this year’s events, you can find it over on Tumblr. I’d always keep an eye out there for goodies since not only does the blog reblog any fanart it receives, but it also drops merch on occasion, some of which you can find already on Redbubble and TeePublic from previous years. These shops also feature merch beyond things related to Ask October Fox, so be sure to browse them because this is a great way to support the author and help them to continue creating amazing content such as this blog.
And without further ado, let’s check out the rest of this week’s comic lineup!
Eldritchfell You have fallen down.
PMD: Chanterelle Well that went well.
PMD: Explorers of Life Blastoise made it!
Pokémon X Adventures Victory!
Renegade’s Redemption Sometimes there is respite in solitude.
Shinka: The Last Eevee Le gasp! They knew!
Ace Attorney Randomized Seems Paul might be onto something at least.
Chaotic Cosmos Ooh fancy!
Dear Sergio Sergio just gets no say in this.
Finding Balance Aggressively gives you money.
PMD: Fragmented Memories I think Charm is a cute name!
PMD: Midnight Star This is true, it does look cool.
PMD: White Rose He knows.
Pokémon Shine And then…!
Slumber Town Poor Romy is letting it all out.
Deadly Syns Modern problems require modern solutions.
EleMen and Women Chaos! Chaos!
Explorers of Shadows The battle rages on!
Monty and Millie I wonder how accurate that actually is.
Penumbra Sometimes you need a place to retreat to.
PMD: Keepers of Light Busted!
PMD: Turncoats That poor Maractus.
Timetale What a somber moment.
Trick of the Night The victor has been decided!
Ask Capital They do say it’s better to look forward than back.
Ask October Fox It’s that time of year again!
Ask Savel Well this could prove problematic.
Ask Shadow Rider Calyrex What a good horse friend!
Ask Team Spirit The operative word there is yet.
Mewtwo and Me It seems this reunion has quickly gone south.
TC-96 Tears all around!
Team Pursuit Probably not a good idea to sneak up on the person sneaking up on the giant bear.
The Tale of Two Rulers Modesty leaves are a requirement, not a suggestion.