cover image Sugar Town

Sugar Town

Hazel Newlevant. lternative, $10 trade paper (56p) ISBN 978-1-68148-587-4

At a party in Portland, Ore., recently relocated Hazel meets Argent, a friendly dominatrix, and feels an instant connection. Hazel is long distance–dating a guy named Gregor, but they’re in a polyamorous relationship, so falling for Argent is no big deal. Aside from the novelty of the bisexuality, polyamory, and kink elements, this semi-autobiographical romance comic is a simple and straightforward love story, perhaps too much so. Although the women’s courtship has its charmingly honest moments (painstakingly unpacking her feelings over Skype to maintain full relationship transparency, Hazel wonders, “Am I doing this right?”), the dramatic tension is ratcheted so low as to be nearly nonexistent. The characters are cartoon figures with heavy-lidded eyes and blushing cheeks, rendered in wobbly, warmly colored artwork that gradually improves as the book goes on. It’s an extremely gentle romance, unspooling as sweetly and mildly as the oh-so-Portland retro mix tape Hazel makes for her new love. (Nov.)