REVIEW: 'Alice in Leatherland' #1 by Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli

Alice, a young writer of children's storybooks, is hurtled out of her fairytale-like life when she discovers her girlfriend has been cheating on her!

Charmingly defiant, she leaves her small forest town and leaps into a new adventure to seek love (and find herself) in the fast life of San Francisco. There, her concept of pure, magical love will be completely overturned. Her biggest challenge won't be reckoning with other people's sexual drive, it'll be getting a grip on her own!

From your new favorite writer and artist team of Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli, Alice In Leatherland is a comedy about sex and so, inevitably, about every other aspect of life, too.

As Iolanda and Elisa describe the book: "Sex is recounted as a way to investigate our relationship with ourselves and others, with our bodies and our place in the world; sexual pleasure as self-affirmation and growth. There is room for Love, too, and bravery. And for many good laughs, that never hurts."

ALICE IN LEATHERLAND #1

Written by Iolanda Zanfardino 

Illustrated by Elisa Romboli 

Published by Black Mask Entertainment, Inc.

Release Date: April 21, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

Score:

★★★★★ (5/5)

One of the great things about comics is that there's more to comics than just superheroes. You can find tons of genres to fit your mood. 'Alice in Leatherland' offers a charming romantic comedy about a young woman on the verge of a sexual awakening in San Francisco. It's lovingly created by real-life couple Iolanda Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli.

Alice is a bubbly positive children's book writer who is devastated by her girlfriend's cheating. It's a soul-crushing event as you can imagine and that motivates her to join her very successful friend in San Francisco. She finds an affordable place to live in a quirky building where BDSM seems to be very popular. A lot happens in the first issue and Alice's journey is just beginning but the comic is so beautifully crafted it's worth reading more than once and lingering on every page for the art alone. 

There are so many absolutely exquisitely constructed scenes that the story hits the right notes every time. For example, Alice is heartbroken and takes the long car ride to San Francisco with her friend. Romboli captures the inside of the vehicle, slowly revealing that Alice is lying in the back of the car crying. Her friend Robin is obviously concerned and almost says something but thinks better of it. In the last panel, a wide shot of Robin driving with Alice curled up in the backseat as the musical notes from the radio float in the air. It's such an emotional sequence without a single word uttered. It's only two pages but it packs a wallop. 

There's also excerpts of Alice's children's book in progress that look like a legitimate endeavor. Her work in progress gets cleverly included in later panels where the text is scratched out because she's unsatisfied with it. Everything from the varied character designs with their unique body types and backgrounds to the inventive use of technology to convey information really makes this one of the best illustrated books this year. 

'Alice in Leatherland' #1 is a bittersweet comedy that is completely irresistible. The charming story with delightful art is the perfect combination. This an intoxicating romantic comedy that's inclusive and relatable full of charm and emotion. I can't recommend 'Alice in Leatherland' enough. 

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