Julie Thompson reviews Sugar Town (issues 1-4) by Hazel Newlevant

Sugar and spice and everything nice is what adorable graphic novels featuring queer women are made of. Sugar Town is a sweet story about two women who meet in a bar in Portland, Oregon and fall in love. It’s polyamory and open relationships and queer sexuality. There’s no angst, no heart-stricken-dark-night-of-the-soul about loving more than one person simultaneously. This isn’t to say that the characters lack depth or haven’t wrangled with difficult personal histories, but that’s background to what happens in this volume. Overall, it’s fun fluff that pairs nicely with a lazy night on the couch and a glass of wine.

Author and illustrator Hazel Newlevant blends story and art in a delectable combination. Hazel’s relationships with Gregor, her comic artist boyfriend, in New York City and her burgeoning romance with Argent (“Hazel Hawthorne”), a Portland-based dominatrix, gives me the warm fuzzies. The illustrations are chock full of details that draw out how the characters feel and the overall mood of a scene. Take for instance that magic moment within the first few pages in which the dancers part and Hazel’s heart-shaped pupils lock onto Argent for the first time. It’s a magical moment worthy of the epic swells of Heart’s Alone. Every time I read Sugar Town, I discover new flourishes. And really, isn’t that part of what makes the world go ‘round?