THE PROPERTY OF HATE BY SARAH JOLLEY
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Sarah Jolley's webcomic, THE PROPERTY OF HATE, invites readers to be immersed in young Hero's and RGB's quest to save the world. With its illustrious artwork and designs, as well as a compelling and often heart-wrenching narrative, the webcomic keeps readers engrossed every update.
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Ever seen an object head as the main character of a story? Or an object head that wants to save his world by asking a kid to become a hero? No? Then get ready because the webcomic, THE PROPERTY OF HATE, by Sarah Jolley (also goes by Modmad) has you covered! The comic, originally posted in 2012, remains an ongoing series. It transforms into a colorful wonderland that unravels so much thought, creativity, and imagination in its chapters.

The plot centers on a monster, who goes by RGB, who waltzes into the room of a young child and proposes an idea to be a hero to her. She accepts without fully grasping her own agreement. Together they enter a dying world teeming with dangerous creatures, such as the physical manifestations of Doubts and Fears. Of course, that means he needs to keep Hero safe after several other heroes failed to save his world.

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Jolley clarifies to fans some fun facts about the series. She states Hero is half-Indian, which is a big thumbs up to have the main protagonist as a person of color. It comes as a surprise to new readers to find out Hero is also female considering her androgynous hairstyle, as well as not conventionally feminine either. While it’s not too apparent in the beginning and romance is not one of the genres  that THE PROPERTY OF HATE focuses on, Jolley also states that RGB is a pansexual character. The webcomic has a little bit of everything for everyone, after all!

The Fate of the World Resting in Tiny Hands

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

To this point, not much of RGB’s motivations or backstory is available. There is still a lot of gray area of his former life and his failures to acquire a hero who can save his world. Many of RGB’s efforts, while ambitious, had others suffer grim outcomes. Yet he is willing to try where others have accepted the world’s demise. The one expending the most effort to ensure the world will not end is, interestingly enough, the one who self-proclaims himself as the “Worst Monster.” RGB reveals he is the worst there is to Hero, but much of his known motivations do not correlate with what an actual monster is capable of.

Normally heroes aren’t supposed to be lumped with monsters. They exist on two different planes of what is understood as good/just (heroes) and evil/malicious (monsters). Jolley allows co-existence of these two spectrums coming together in the form of a child who becomes the hero and a monster who wants nothing more to see his hero succeed. It even goes so far as to have heroism and monstrosity work together in a quest for the common goal of world saving. Despite the partnership of monster and hero, the question does come around eventually:

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

It is something so long embedded into tales, something that was always the end game to stories of monsters and heroes. Monsters are incapable of a high moral compass whereas the hero is. Monsters have to die by the hero’s hand, otherwise they should have been labeled a hero, too. THE PROPERTY OF HATE places events in heart-crushing perspective. Because, after all, heroism and being a hero is great until the weight of a grave circumstance rests on the shoulders of a child.

The Hero and Her Monster

It’s not every day that someone with a tv for a head wakes you up while you’re sleeping. Or asks if you want to be a hero to a strange and unusual world. Now reimagine the scenario with a sleepy six-year-old kid who just happens to agree. A kid like that is bound to get homesick and needs physical and emotional reassurance. Enter Hero, rising “hero,” and RGB, a monster who possesses the emotional understanding of a molded breadcrumb.

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

Their beginnings are on the disheartening side. I don’t blame RGB for withdrawing his hand away from Hero, as cold as it is. However, the bond between these two is the most wholesome and sweetest thing to ever evolve from the webcomic. Trust does not come easily for either party, but it turns out RGB is more willing to take the first step as the chapters progress. I feel touched whenever Hero manages to stump him or throw him for a loop. This child, whose simple childhood is drawn away from her through this grand idea of “heroism,” offers RGB unconditional kindness. And even so much as trust him purely on the basis that if others trust him, so will she. Hand-in-hand (or cane) these two individuals are willing to tackle the unknown together.

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

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THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

Thankfully, RGB doesn’t remain emotionally inept. He constantly oversteps his former boundaries by comforting Hero. He may not be perfect at what he does, but he does a great job having an “Awkward First-Time Dad” view of things. Nobody is perfect at childcare, but he stops being dismissive. RGB tries to keep Hero happy and laughing with his horrible puns, which, without fail, warms my heart every time.

“Can You Paint with All the Colors of the Wind?”

Like many other webcomics, the beginning chapters are often the less defined. Webcomics evidently begin simpler in their illustrations before progressing further to more elaborate ideas. The 2012 beginnings of THE PROPERTY OF HATE showcase a lot of gradients. Structures and colors are more subdued than its current, ongoing stylization. 2012 was truly a simpler time for illustrators, but — like for all great artists — improvement is always necessary. Jolley’s style took off rather quickly and what a gift it has been to see a very significant difference between 2012’s chapters and 2018’s pages.

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

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THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

The less distinguishable detailed structures become a thing of the past. Now, it embraces detail with an absolute precision. Every time I see an update, I hear the voice of Tom Haverford when he said, “It’s beautiful. I looked at this for five hours now.” The landscapes mesmerize you for a brief moment because you get to appreciate how far an artist has really come. Even Hero, who maintains a simple design, has loss their previous heavy shadows on their body and clothes. Now Hero has flat colors, which is more appropriate for the current style.

THE PROPERTY OF HATE
Image courtesy of Sarah Jolley.

A unique feature of the comic is the text bubbles of the characters. Each is set apart from the rest, which gives the cast a life of their own. The vocal tenor of the text bubbles in comics is left to interpretation. You infer a character is angry by their face. The text becomes large, bold; it’s “raising your voice,” essentially. But with THE PROPERTY OF HATE, you can see and “hear” someone frazzled. Like with RGB, whose text bubbles tails will loop elegantly or become erratic and pointed.

Final Thoughts on THE PROPERTY OF HATE

You know how heart-eyed Guillermo del Toro gets over monsters? Talk about relatable because I feel the same way. While these aren’t your usual monsters, that you’d expect to see in a horror or supernatural setting, they’re monsters nonetheless. Some are certainly not scary, but others? Absolute chills and disturbing to the core. THE PROPERTY OF HATE offers such a wide variety of narrative devices and imagery, and enthralls you through its rich storytelling. It’s one of those rare webcomics that has it all without putting too much or too little on the table. It envelops a sense of adventure, suspense, humor, tragedy, horror, and so much more to date. Also, it’s been two years since I started following THE PROPERTY OF HATE and Jolley continues to go above and beyond my expectations. But I’ll admit, some updates haven’t been good for my poor heart.

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Besides monsters, my heart sings amazing grace for adopted guardianship tropes. Granted, RGB asks Hero to help him, so it goes without saying he’d ensure Hero remains safe for the most part. However, it was a responsibility through circumstance. Many others warn RGB not to get attached. Hero and RGB sometimes bicker, and often RGB is unsure how to handle the stubborn attitude of a six-year-old. Yet, he grows fond of Hero. Instead of checking how she is fairing physically initially, more recent updates show him checking how she is fairing emotionally. The plot is always important to any story, but it’s nothing without well-developed characters. This webcomic nails the dynamics of the character’s traits and motives that keep me eagerly waiting for its updates. Get a chance to be a part of an exciting journey with THE PROPERTY OF HATE!

Catch THE PROPERTY OF HATE here, which updates every Sunday!

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