One of the strengths of ComiXology’s Originals platform is that has the courage to release genuinely interesting books, not just the usual genre classics and Crema – a story of supernatural baristas from South American – is a perfect example of this.
Publisher: ComiXology Originals
Writer: Johnnie Christmas
Artist: Dante Luiz, Ryan Ferrier
Price: £3.19 from the Kindle Store or Free on Prime Reading
Esme is your archetypal, down on her luck barista, in a trendy coffee shop in New York. But she has a secret. From an early age her java habit has allowed her to see ghosts! When her coffee shop is sold to a larger chain, this brings her into the sphere of the cafe owner’s grand daughter Zara (an exotic Brazilian lifestyle model) and when the cafe burns down they find themselves heading to Brazil to rescue the family coffee farm as well as resolve some ghostly goings on.
Crema is one of those glorious comics which feels very much part of the ‘small press’ genre despite its high profile publisher. In other words, it is a beautifully visualised but also wonderfully told story, that also happen to be painfully cool at the same time! Brilliantly monikered writer, Johnnie Christmas, has crafted this sublime ‘Generation Z’ romance, fused with exotic coffee, creepy ghosts and wonderful locations. While Christmas gives the story its outline, it feels like artists Dante Luiz is the one who really breathes life into the book. His sublime artwork gives Crema it’s wonderful sense of personality and style, taking the strong plot and taking things to the next level.
In particular it has this muted colour scheme which echoes the organic feel of the subject matter and is filled with creams and browns. The characters have this glorious Hispanic feel to them, and it has that same Latin charm as Encanto or Coco, but with a more adult under current that goes perfectly with that aforementioned ‘small press vibe’. It also has this very old fashioned feel evoking the tone of colonial southern America in the buildings and landscapes. And there is also a hint of Studio Ghibli with the nebulous ephemeral nature of the supernatural forces.
The artwork has this lovely scratchy quality to it as well, reminding us of Zoe Thorogood’s The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott and the whole thing is beautifully designed with gorgeous title pages that you could see hanging in your local independent coffee shop, courtesy of ‘Relish New Brand Experience’.
All in all, this is a really wonderful and beautiful read, which is made even more interesting thanks to it being released by such an unconventional publisher. We hope it gets a wider audience as a result as this is every bit a superb of example of how wonderful indie comics can be.