In Ectopiary, a girl finds a house full of mysteries and a dog from the moon

In the webcomic Ectopiary, a young girl has been ripped from her bohemian life to live with disapproving relatives. But her new home is full of strange mysteries, including her mother's unknown ailment and a talking dog from the moon.

Ectopiary, the latest project from Chloe and The Squirrel Machine cartoonist Hans Rickheit, starts with a familiar idea: a young girl taken from her home to live with less than child-friendly relatives. In this case, the girl is Dale, who has been living in the care of her parent's friend, a beatnik writer, in their absence. Suddenly, though, she finds herself shuttled to the home of her aunt and her physician uncle, who has been treating Dale's ailing mother.

In Ectopiary, a girl finds a house full of mysteries and a dog from the moon

But beyond her pinched-face aunt and her kind but distant uncle, there is something amiss in the house. There is a hellish painting hanging in the anteroom; no one, including Dale's uncle, knows the source of her mother's seizures; no one will explain exactly what happened to Dale's father; and a giant white dog keeps visiting Dale for reasons she does not yet understand.

In Ectopiary, a girl finds a house full of mysteries and a dog from the moon

The mysteries of Ectopiary are unfolding very slowly (sadly, it updates only once a week, although Rickheit hopes to eventually start posting two pages a week), but there's a remarkable beauty in watching even the smallest, quietest moments. Rickheit captures the strange coldness of Dale's new home, and he wisely makes the less fantastical elements – her uncle's treatments, an oddball neighbor – as menacing and grotesque as the supernatural.

In Ectopiary, a girl finds a house full of mysteries and a dog from the moon

It makes no less compelling the questions: What is going on in this home? What is wrong with Dale's mother and what did happen to her father? And why does the moon dog keep coming to Dale?

[Ectopiary]