Nutmeg is a story about two girls in high school who bake some brownies. The End.
This comic series is much more complex than you can imagine. At the same time, it’s also such a simple and straightforward plot that will leave you amazed at how smartly it conveys a compelling story. Creators Jackie Crofts and James F. Wright outdid themselves with this comic, and if you enjoy films such as Mean Girls or shows like Veronica Mars, then this might be up your alley.
The story of Nutmeg begins with a precocious yet confident girl named Cassia attending her first day at a new school. Right away, she demonstrates that she’s not someone to be messed with by shutting up the class snob with her quick wit. This attracts the attention of loner Poppy, who quickly befriends Cassia and teaches her the ropes of this new school.
The opening scene of the comic reminded me of a cross between Mean Girls and Peter Jackson‘s Heavenly Creatures (a fact that the creators acknowledge in the afterword). We have the shy new girl entering a different environment, quickly befriending a kindred spirit and also becoming enemies with the Queen Bee of the school. I wouldn’t call it a cliche; it’s more of a tribute to the classic films we’ve watched in our teenage years that showed us the intensity of high school social hierarchy and how cliques can affect our development.
A major conflict in the story involves the Lady Rangers, a group of rich girls led by Saffron (the same girl Cassia shut down on her first day), who take it upon themselves to bully our protagonists. The Lady Rangers compete with Poppy and Cassia to sell the most brownies for the annual sale known as the Brownie Brawl.
If the plot stopped there, I would’ve pawned this story off as something you’d find in an episode of The Brady Bunch. Thankfully, things heat up and we find out that it’s not all sugar and spice. Cassia and Poppy hatch a plan to sabotage the Lady Rangers’ brownie sales by causing their customers to have food poisoning when they sample their treats.
Drastic turn, huh? This caught me completely off-guard. We’ve left The Brady Bunch territory and we’re strolling into full on rated-R type of material. Food poisoning isn’t something you can brush off with one trip to the toilet. Cassia and Poppy aren’t playing around. They’re not even content with just giving food poisoning to one person either; they actually want to give it to enough people to destroy any chance of the Lady Rangers succeeding.
You know what else this reminds me of? Breaking Bad. I thought I was crazy until I saw that the creators acknowledge this reference as well. It’s amazing how the creators were able to combine all of these elements together into a clever and captivating story. For some people, I can understand how this could seem derivative; but if you’re like me and you enjoy catching Easter Eggs and tributes to your favorite works, then you’ll be thrilled at what you’ll find in the pages of Nutmeg.
I thought the artwork was great, especially with the characters. Everyone has their defining characteristics, and no two people are the same. My only issue involves a mechanic named Bobby, who is hinted at being a potential love interest in future issues. I actually thought he was a woman at first! In later panels, it’s much easier to distinguish his gender, but that initial moment made me do a double-take.
I also had a slight issue with the character of Saffron. Remember how I told you that this comic was like Mean Girls? Saffron is essentially a carbon copy of Regina George. The two characters are virtually indistinguishable from each other (they even look slightly similar). I mentioned earlier how it was cool that Nutmeg paid an homage to these earlier films. However, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that I was reading a Regina George spin-off whenever I saw Saffron. I’m hoping that we get more development of her character in future issues so that she can establish her own, stronger identity.
Croft and Wright are going the extra mile when creating these comics. At the end of the second volume, you can find a recipe for your own tasty desert submitted by a comic fan. The creators actually encourage people to submit their own recipes, as well as anything related to the comic so that they can publish it in future issues. That’s true fan appreciation right there.
To be quite honest, I didn’t think I’d like Nutmeg when I first picked it up, but that’s only because I prefer superheroes, dragons, and other supernatural or fantasy themes in my comics. But I’ll have to admit that Nutmeg was a fun time. The intriguing plot and familiar settings had me hooked and looking forward to what happened next every time I turned the page. If you’re like me and you prefer the more traditional comics involving the X-Men or the Justice League, then try something new and pick up a copy of Nutmeg instead. You might just be surprised.
Have you had a chance to read Nutmeg? Tell us what you thought about it in our comment section or on Twitter!