All this month I'll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.
Today we look at Nutmeg #1, written and co-created by James F. Wright and drawn and co-created by Jackie Crofts, which is set to be released on March 25th from Action Lab Entertainment.
Nutmeg is a fascinating comic book, as it takes a look at what happens when the "good" kids snap and make poor decisions. It really reminds me a lot about Heavenly Creatures, Peter Jackson's excellent film that introduced us to both Melanie Lynskey (currently killing it on HBO's Togetherness) and Kate Winslet (you know, the huge movie star). That film was about the real life friendship between two girls who became so close to each other that when their respective parents decided to break them up (this being the 1950s, their close friendship skeeved their homophobic parents out) by having one of the girl's mother move her to another country, they just murdered that girl's mother.
I don't know that Nutmeg is going to go THAT dark, but, well, check out the opening two pages...
Things aren't going to be going to be hunky dory here, ya know?
The book stars a new girl in school named Cassie who befriends a girl named Poppy, who is already bears the brunt of being the top target of the school's Queen Bee, Saffron (there is a striking sequence where we see that Saffron can't even be bothered to taunt them herself, she has a lacky do it).
Cassie can't understand the situation, not even when Poppy tries to explain it to her...
The local girl's group that Saffron leads is taking point in the school's fundraiser involving baking and then selling brownies.
Cassie comes up with a plan (that involves nutmeg, don't you know) - how far this plan goes, we'll find out in future issues, but I imagine that it will not end up going well.
Crofts does such an amazing job capturing the expressions on the character's faces - there is so much personality in her work that it is quite astonishing. Wright does an excellent job capturing the social circle of a middle school and in just one issue, I believe that we have a firm grasp on the motivations of the three main characters in the book. Cassie's outsider status is what impressed me the most - how she was just not willing to play "the game." It was a clever set-up for the major conflict of the book between Cassie and Saffron.
So for an off-kilter approach to high school "mean girl" conflict with great artwork, this upcoming book is recommended.
If you get a chance, pick up a copy on March 25th! Here's the order code if you want your local store to order you a copy! JAN150927