cover image Sugar and Other Stories

Sugar and Other Stories

Joy San. Silver Sprocket, $21.99 hardcover (160p) ISBN 979-8-88620-011-9

San’s disarmingly charming debut features seven short stories that juxtapose cute drawings and macabre narratives. In “Sugar,” a young woman with a headache gets a cure from a demonic entity that comes at a high price, while in “Dental Plan” a woman performs a strange ritual to achieve a beautiful smile (which includes intoning the invitation: “There is room for you here!”)—receiving far more than she bargained. Both “I Like to Squeeze into Tight Spaces” and “At the End” accomplish an eerie minimalist and existentialist horror vibe in black-and-white drawings, while in the downbeat “Be Like Blood,” a heroine who thinks of herself as virtuous learns that virtue offers her no protection against sinister, primal forces. “Too Much on Your Plate” paints in watercolors a psychological wind-up scenario as a woman’s increasing irritation with her neglectful husband edges to murderous rage. San is a versatile stylist, veering from cuddly to vicious. Her whimsical humor and flair for the horrific make this a treat for genre fans. (Feb.)