True fact: I drew this installment of Magical Thorn years ago.
Before I drew Acts 2 and 3. Before the font change (the whole thing had to be re-lettered afterward). Before I finished Landslide Bring Me Down.
I was all set to publish it, when…it dawned on me…that y’all did not know who Kale was.
With so many magical-girl series we poke fun at how obvious their secret identities are. We invent excuses, like magical disguise powers, to explain why people in-universe don’t notice what is so clear to the audience.
I didn’t expect it to be a secret, I didn’t hide it, just drew Kale with a flowy outfit and a colorful fringe — and it did not get clocked! At all!
So I shifted gears, and started consciously holding back anything that would spoil The Reveal.
(One NSFW art meme from October 2016 was posted before I shifted gears. If I’d thought of his identity as a secret at that point, I, uh, would not have posted a drawing of “Kale casting magical fire and holding Thorn with the ribbons straight off of Kudzu’s costume.” Fortunately, it was out-of-the-way enough that most readers either didn’t notice, or didn’t think it was canon-relevant enough to bring up.)
There were still plenty of clues. After a couple of years, readers finally started putting them together — shoutout to this evidence roundup from audible-smiles that hits basically all of them. But this whole Magical Thorn story arc, which openly makes the connection, had to be hoarded away.
(And this got talky enough that I’m counting it for the December talking meme.)
Teacher: Class, we have a new student. Please make him feel welcome!
Kale: Hello, my name is Kale. I’ve been out of school for a while, because of reasons. I’m back now.
Kale (thinking): Moment of truth, here . . .
Thorn: Hi, Kale! My name’s Thorn. Nice to meet you!
Kale: So you don’t, ah . . . recognize me from anywhere?
Kale (thinking): I can see through most disguise magic. But can you see through mine?
Thorn: Oh, sorry! Have we met and I forgot?
Kale: Nope! Never. I guess you just have one of those faces.
Thorn: Must be.
Say, I’m going out with some friends for karaoke later. You want to come with?
Kudzu: Hey, you! We’ve gotta dump the karaoke plot.
Stalker: But that was my best one!!