The Peanutbutter Sisters and Other American Stories

Rumi Hara. Drawn & Quarterly, $24.95 (180p) ISBN 978-1-77046-495-7

Hari (Nori) captures the zeitgeist in this sprightly genre-bending collection. In the title story, three energetic and entrepreneurial sisters—Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi—experience the wider world through their yearly excursions off their island via hurricane winds. When the naive but tough trio alight in N.Y.C., they show off their knack for getting in and out of trouble. Other stories focus on human (or otherwise) connection, such as “Walking with Tammy Tabata,” wherein two teens wander Brooklyn—its vistas, stark streets, and polluted shoreline lovingly detailed in black-and-white, fine-line art—seeking inspiration to write a contemporary version of a classical Japanese dance-drama; and “Living Things,” as sentient beings from around the galaxy converge in 2099 for a race in Death Valley. “Verti-Go-Go” addressees the Covid-19 pandemic, as regular guy Brian has explicit visions of hedonistic orgies. Contrasted with his daily routine of sanitizer, masks, and social distancing, the bacchanalia’s full-body contact, unconstrained bodily fluids, and exuberant joy captures a desire for human touch beyond the sexual. And more abstractly, in “Bombadonna,” female figures with bombs for heads use destruction to create renewal. Through stories alternating realistic and fantastical, Hara creates worlds where anything seems possible—yet her big feat is capturing everyday experience. (May)