As described on the About page of the comic, Paranatural is best described as "X-Men meets Ghostbusters except everyone's twelve." Paranatural is the first webcomic written and created by Zack Morrison, promoted as "a comedy/action comic about a group of middle school kids with ghostly superpowers fighting evil spirits and investigating paranormal activity in their hometown." It started in the summer of 2010 on its own Smack Jeeves site, and has over 150 pages in its archives so far, updating with a new page every Monday and Friday on its official website, created at the start of Chapter 2.
Chapter 1 - The Activity Club and the New Kid (70 pages; started 11/20/2010, ended 10/15/2011)
Chapter 2 - Max and the Midnight Visitor (30 pages; started 10/17/2011, ended 5/8/2012)
Chapter 3 - Max, Isaac, and the Secret Shortcut (53 pages; started 5/20/2012, ended 4/29/2013)
Chapter 4 - The Activity Club and the Ghost Train (?? pages; started 4/22/2013, current chapter)
First Day in MayviewEdit
After moving into Mayview's Corner Store with his dad and little sister, 12-year old Max Puckett begins seeing haunting visions of purple beings appearing and disappearing all around him. Brushing them off as imaginary, though, he starts his first day at Mayview Middle School by prompting local bully Johnny and his chaotic gang into chasing him, getting a tour/interviewing by hardcore school journalist Suzy, and meeting a whole cast of wacky students and their equally strange teachers.
During his investigations about the things he is seeing, Max learns about the Activity Club, a group of mysterious kids who, it is soon explained, are actually spectrals and can see the world of the dead, fighting malevolent spirits with their various tools and subsequent powers. One such battle occurs at the end of the day, where Ed, Isabel, and Isaac are fighting a bat spirit that's eating anything it comes across. Max, who was locked in a closet for his own safety, breaks out using a baseball bat and encounters the grudge, which he hits and defeats in one swing after it is revealed he is a spectral. The world of spirits is explained to Max, and is invited to join by Mr. Spender, but declines when he learns he doesn't need to do so for his powers to develop and heads home with full ghost-sight and his new bat tool.
P.J., Lefty, and the ReflectionsEdit
In the same night as his hectic, life-altering day, Max meets the ghosts living in the Corner Shop, nervous P.J. and disembodied hand Lefty, just as the spirit Hissin' Pete warns them of a dangerous threat downstairs. The three venture into the store and find a spirit with the power to bring reflections to life (which it does to itself multiple times and then consumes entirely). Max calls Isabel and Ed for backup before the spirit discovers and tries to kill the spectral using its power. Max tries his best to avoid getting hit and even freezes time for a short while before he is eventually saved by Ed. The spirit, becoming a grudge, battles the group and is eventually sliced through by Ed's makeshift scythe, where its "ghost" ends up possessing a toilet plunger and making it a tool. Ed and Isabel ride off, and Max and P.J., who had a crisis of faith in his hero earlier, awkwardly fail at an apologetic fist bump.
On the Way to SchoolEdit
The morning after the midnight fight, Max discovers his spectral power right before running into Isaac downstairs. They both express disdain with the Activity Club and its methods, coming up with the idea to trade off Max's joining for answers from Mr. Spender when they get to school using Isaac's "secret shortcut". Along the way, they run into Johnny and Ollie (who chase and fight them), the Sphinx of Games (who chases and tries to eat them), and Suzy on the school bus (who helps Max jump through the emergency windows to get his magnet-powered bat from Johnny). When they finally get to the bottom of the hill, Max meets the Doorman, who teleports the spectrals to the Activity Club room.
Once there, they temporarily eavesdrop on Mr. Spender's phone call with Mr. Walker, then question the teacher on where spectral information can be found and who he works for, both of which have disappointing answers. Max does learn that he communed with his spirit and it can harm him when doing so, and decides to join the club to both protect himself and learn more about the supernatural world (such as where a ghost would be haunting) before leaving for his first period.
Since its days on Smack Jeeves, each page of Paranatural has contained alt text that provides an extra joke for the reader if they hover their mouse over the picture. This is important to the comedy genre of the comic if the update was more serious than usual, and many references and ongoing jokes among fans (dubbed "Paranaturalists") include material from the alt text. However, due to the transition from Smack Jeeves to the Paranatural website, most of the alt text from Chapter 1 has been lost, and only pages 24-47 contain something other than the respective chapter and page number.
On the Paranatural website EXTRAS, Zack maintains a series of one-joke comic pages titled Supernormal (a play on the combination of "Paranormal" and "Supernatural" like Paranatural) that "[showcases] the side of Mayview that isn’t supernatural", featuring characters and places from the original story in funny situations.