cover image Crema


Johnnie Christmas and Dante Luiz. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-5067-2603-8

Christmas (the Tartarus series) and newcomer Brazilian artist Luiz brew up a coffee-themed supernatural drama with a winning blend of steamy queer romance and intergenerational intrigue. Esme, a Brooklyn barista who can see ghosts when she’s sufficiently caffeinated, falls for Yara, the alluring owner of Cherry Mountain Cafe. A corporate coffee chain buys the café, triggering events that send Esme and Yara to Brazil to deal with a sketchy executive, a ghost on a rampage, a century-old feud, and the fate of Yara’s family’s coffee bean farm. There’s enough going on to power a telenovela even without witty details like Esme’s friendship with the ghost of a frustrated TV actor, but the volume incorporates all the disparate elements into a tale of timeless romance and hauntings both literal and symbolic. The muted café colors render the streets of Brazil inviting, with passionate glow lended to the love scenes between the likeable leads. It’s as satisfying as a just-made café con leche. (Jan.)