Art by Jackie Crofts
Words by James F. Wright
Review by Joey Braccino
“Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?”
And my answer was always the same: Of course I would. After all…
She was my best friend.
Mean Girls meets Heathers wrapped up in a deceptively adorable and quirky package with Action Lab’s latest series, Nutmeg. Co-creators Jackie Crofts and James F. Wright expertly complicate their teenage-girl coming-of-age narrative (new girl vs. the cool clique) with a potentially unsettling, sinister undercurrent. At least I think.
The action of the debut issue is fairly straightforward: new student Cassia moves to Vista Vale and meets Poppy. Cassia and Poppy come into conflict with Saffron and the Lady Rangers (of whom Poppy was once a member!), and we get all the background on how Saffron and her mother essentially took over the town with their wealth and social standing. There’s a baking contest in town and Cassia comes up with a clever plan to get back at Saffron. No spoilers here, but one of the variant covers for the issue is a pun on Breaking Bad: Baking Bad! Hilarious, but also indicative of the kind of undertones Crofts and Wright want to hit. This ain’t no kid’s book, despite the bright colors and cheerful aesthetic.
It’s appropriate that Jackie Crofts as artist is listed first in the credits; the artwork here is spectacular. There is a simplicity to Crofts’ cartoon-esque illustrations that furthers the deceptive tenor of the whole series. Furthermore, there is a delightful vintage air to the entire visual experience, calling back to our bright-colored perception of ‘50s or ‘60s small towns a la The Stepford Wives and the like. Cool stuff that warrants top billing for Crofts. Not to be outdone, James F. Wright imbues his script with plenty of wit and one-liners to make for a humorous and, again, deceptive given the final scene of the piece.
Just one last note: today’s “debut” is the floppie version of the book, which is still a big deal for these kickstarted, creator-owned comics. You can actually get the first few issues digitally on comixology!!!
BUY!!! Nutmeg #1 is a stellar first issue for what promises to be an engaging, complex, and, most importantly, fun new series from Action Lab. Creators Jackie Crofts and James F. Wright are combining humor and satire expertly as they explore the coming-of-age experience of teenage girls with a score to settle.